Sixteen passengers on a TUI flight from the Greek island of Zante to Cardiff in Wales have tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, all the 193 passengers and crew on last Tuesday’s flight are now being asked to self-isolate for two weeks.
On August 25th, flight TOM6215 from the island of Zante (or Zakynthos as it is also called) in Greece, to Cardiff, Wales, carried an unwelcome stowaway. It turns out coronavirus had decided to tag along with holidaymakers returning from the Greek island to the UK. And it is not the first time it has made that particular journey.
Seven rose to 16
At first, seven people from three different parties on board the flight were confirmed by officials to have tested positive. The number of cases linked to the flight has since been revised to 16.
One of the passengers, Ms Stephanie Whitfield, made claims to the BBC that mask requirement policies were lax onboard the flight and that they were not enforced by cabin crew.
“Loads of people were taking their masks off and wandering up and down the aisles to talk to others. As soon as the flight landed, a load of people took their masks off immediately. The flight was full of selfish ‘covidiots’,” Ms Whitfield said.
In response to these claims, a spokesperson for TUI told Simple Flying that,
“The health and safety of passengers is always our priority and we are concerned to hear of Mrs Whitfield’s claims. Our crew are trained to the highest standards and in line with European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) guidelines.”
TUI contacting all passengers and crew
Furthermore, the airline stated that all passengers are advised prior to travel that they must wear a mask at all times. The TUI spokesperson also said that a full investigation had been launched as no concerns had been raised during or immediately after the flight itself.
All of TUI’s planes are equipped with HEPA filters, deep cleaned between every flight, and thoroughly disinfected at least once every 24 hours.
All passengers from the flight are now being told to self-isolate. Public Health Wales (PHW) has asked TUI to contact all 193 passengers and crew on board the flight.
We advise passengers from TUI Flight 6215 from Zante to Cardiff on 25 August to self isolate as they are now considered close contacts of several confirmed COVID-19 cases that were present on the flight. For more information read our latest statement: https://t.co/u6SKHz0zsG pic.twitter.com/HATi92hLXx
— Public Health Wales (@PublicHealthW) August 30, 2020
According to the Guardian, there have been about 30 new confirmed coronavirus cases in Wales in the past week in people returning from Zante. Many had been staying at different hotels and traveling on separate flights.
Soon added to the list?
Greece is not yet on the UK government’s exemptions list, meaning people traveling from Greece do not need to quarantine. However, although Greece had an early success in keeping the virus out, cases continue to rise. This may mean the rules change in an instant, as we have seen with other holiday destinations favored by Britons. Greece saw a new daily record of 293 cases recorded on August 27th.