Aftermath Of Whole Plane’s Quarantine After Passengers Test Positive For COVID

by SharonKurheg

The passengers of an entire plane were told to self-isolate after it was initially discovered that at least 7 on board had tested positive for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

According to the BBC last week, the TUI flight had flown to Wales from the Greek island of Zante, with 193 passengers and crew on board.

Dr Giri Shankar, the incident director for the outbreak response at Public Health Wales, said passengers who were on the flight were all being contacted.

He said their organization “…have identified at least seven confirmed cases of Covid-19 from three different parties who were infectious on TUI flight 6215 from Zante to Cardiff on 25 August. As a result, we are advising that all passengers on this flight are considered close contacts and must self-isolate. These passengers will be contacted shortly but, meanwhile, they must self-isolate at home as they may become infectious even without developing symptoms. Anyone with symptoms should book a test without delay.”

Dr. Shankar suggested that the cause was due to a lack of social distancing, specifically by passengers in the 20-to-30-year-old age group.

I had initially found this story very odd, since TUI has required face masks on their flights for everyone age 6 and over since sometime in July. Here are their rules:

A face mask during the flight

For passengers and crew

Wearing a face mask is obligatory at the airport as soon as boarding starts at the gate. You should bring your own face mask and wear it during the flight. Face masks must be changed every 4 hours, so you should make sure to bring enough face masks.

  • Passengers aged 6 and older must wear a face mask during the entire flight.
  • Face masks must be replaced every four hours. You have to take enough face masks for your outbound and/or return flight.
  • Wearing a face mask on board is obligatory. Passengers who do not wear a face mask or refuse to wear one will be denied access to the aircraft or will be requested to leave the aircraft before the closing of the doors. Should such a situation arise during the flight, TUI fly can decide to remove the passenger concerned from the aircraft (and reroute the flight) if this is necessary to guarantee the safe operation of the flight.

What’s a suitable face mask?

A suitable face mask is a mask the entirely covers the mouth and nose, such as a surgical face mask or a (non-) medical face mask. As for non-surgical face masks, we recommend masks with a replaceable filter. Other types of protection, like a scarf or other article of clothing, are not adequate and cannot be allowed.

With everyone wearing face masks, assuming that planes are as safe as they say, I wondered why would everyone need to quarantine?

As it turned out, whether it’s a “thing” on TUI, or just on that particular flight, the old adage of, “rules were made to be broken” apparently was in play.

The event above happened on August 25 and was reported in a few places a day or two later. On August 31, more reports about the flight came out. Apparently, the wearing of masks was not strictly adhered to or enforced:

  • From BBC: One traveller said the TUI flight was full of “covidiots” and “inept crew who couldn’t care less.” Another claimed there “wasn’t much” policing of rules.
  • From Sky News: …there was “not much social distancing” on the flight and “people didn’t seem to be very well educated in the use of wearing masks.”

Aha…so that’s why.

Since the original report, 16 people on the flight have now been diagnosed with the virus.

TUI’s response is that it was concerned by the claims, and that safety is a priority for them.

“Our crew are trained to the highest standards,” said a spokesperson for the airline. “A full investigation is now under way as these concerns weren’t reported during the flight or before today.”

And now we know the rest of the story.

It just goes to show you that when there’s a rule that’s unpopular for some (and really, who LIKES wearing a mask? You do it because it’s the right thing to do, for the greater good), without enforcement, it won’t be followed. Hopefully, TUI will do the right thing in terms of ensuring passengers wear masks in the future.

Feature Photo: Public Domain

#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands #wearamask

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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