By Alex Glenn • 16 December 2021 • 8:20
Doctor slams the Government after a disturbing experience at Manchester airport.
Dr Hans-Eric Usher who has worked for both Emirates and Lufthansa in the past was disappointed when he passed through Manchester Airport in November. He believes that the government needs to do more to enforce coronavirus prevention measures such as mask-wearing, social distancing and ensuring adequate ventilation.
He travelled before the worrying omicron variant began to spread. In November, social distancing rules were more relaxed but he was extremely worried by what he saw. The doctor noticed how different protocols were at airports in the UK compared to other countries.
Manchester airport has been classed as ‘Covid-19 secure’ by the Civil Aviation Authority.
According to The Manchester Evening News Dr Usher commented: “The problem as I saw it was the lack of measures involving Covid protection, other than masks.
“There was no social distancing at any point, no obvious attempts to ventilate and I’m afraid the gate was a complete disaster.
“We were herded into a small area with no ventilation, no possibility of distancing, and no enforcement of the requirement to wear masks. The gate staff had their masks off their noses.”
The doctor ended up being pinged by a COVID app after his flight. He commented that on the shuttle bus an employee was “wearing her mask around her chin.”
He went on to add: “The UK Government always attempts to close the barn door after the horse has bolted.
“I wrote to Manchester Airport Twitter account. Their response was that they do everything possible when they are able to.”
“It’s sad really because if you do follow the mask, distance, ventilation guidelines you really do reduce transmission. There are plenty of studies that show this.”
The sole responsibility for following coronavirus prevention measures does not lie with the airport. Boarding gates are managed by the airlines and handling agent staff.
A spokesperson for Manchester Airport commented: “We recognise the need for swift action in response to the Omicron variant and are following all government guidance to keep our colleagues and customers safe.
“The UK Government requires everyone to wear a face covering inside our terminals unless they are exempt.
“The police has powers of enforcement in relation to this requirement, including the issuing of Fixed Penalty Notices, and we will be supporting officers working across our site.
“Government guidance, which is informed by its medical advisers, is clear that social distancing won’t always be possible in an airport environment, but we ask customers to keep their distance whenever possible.
“The range of measures we have in place, including additional cleaning regimes and asking those not travelling to remain outside the terminal, reflect this situation.
“We are also committed to providing adequate ventilation in our buildings and carry out regular assessments to ensure they comply with Health and Safety Executive guidelines.”
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Originally from the UK, Alex is based in Almeria and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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