Photo Credit: Jason Alden
Lines Span 12 Hours At Heathrow Airport After 180 Staff Members Exposed To COVID-19
As COVID variants continue to prove to be a threat, a crisis erupted at Heathrow Airport just outside of London proper as more than 180 staff were forced to isolate.
The Independent reports that Terminal 5 — one of only two terminals left in the international hub that are still open in the wake of the growing COVID crisis — had passengers standing in line for as long as twelve hours (!!!) as a result of 180 staff members were exposed to the coronavirus.
Naturally, though, the airport tried to downplay the severity of the growing crisis.
“Earlier today we experienced some passenger congestion in Terminal 5 departures, due to colleagues being instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace,” said a Heathrow spokesperson to Reuters. “We have activated additional team members to assist passengers with their journeys and the operation has now returned to normal. We apologize to our passengers for any inconvenience caused.”
But whether the situation at the London hub has been resolved or not, growing concerns arise about the safety of travelling as various COVID variants — including the Delta and the Lambda variants — become an increasing threat to the general welfare of the global population.
As of this writing, flights between Heathrow and the USA still fly out regularly, and the UK doesn’t expect to shut down travel between the two countries anytime soon. However, that isn’t the case with other airports: travelers coming in from South America, Portugal, and Cape Verde have been temporarily banned from entering the UK as the Delta variant of the coronavirus becomes a growing threat.
Will other airports follow suit?
The US government is warning international travelers that “many countries are restricting entry for travelers who have visited a variant virus hotspot, including the UK, Brazil, and South Africa. Travelers from neighboring countries may also be restricted.” While, as of this writing, the United States is only requiring travelers to present a negative COVID test and/or proof of vaccination — and neither are they requiring travelers to self-quarantine upon arrival into the United States — that may change if COVID variants prove to be a growing threat.