Fears airports will turn into ‘super spreader risk’ if passengers allowed to mix

Warnings have been raised airports could become a "super spreading risk” due to passengers mixing from red and green list countries.

Travellers landing at London Heathrow Airport reportedly faced queues of up to three hours after international travel resumed as England's lockdown was eased.

Everyone arriving into the country is heading into the same queues to get through passport control.

But it has led to fears that people arriving from high-risk countries are mingling with other passengers.

Under the new traffic light system for travel, countries are placed on the green, amber or red lists depending on the coronavirus risk.

Yvette Cooper, chairwoman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, warned the country could end up “going backwards again” due to the delays and queues.

She said Border Force had "a long time to prepare" for the reopening of foreign travel on Monday, May 17.

The Labour MP told the BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme: "It's irresponsible, frankly, not to sort this out.

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“Because if you have people waiting for long periods of time in a not brilliantly ventilated arrivals hall, often standing very close to each other.

"Well that's a super spreading risk if you continue to do that and don't have the proper systems in place, especially if you have people arriving from red list countries alongside people arriving from green list countries.

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"So they've got to make sure they have proper systems in place, that they have enough Border Force staff in place, that they have enough electronic systems in place.

“And if they don't have those things in place at a time when we're all desperately trying to keep the progress moving forwards, there's a real risk that we'll end up just going backwards again.”

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Downing Street has warned holidaymakers should not visit "amber list" countries.

It came after Environment Secretary George Eustice sparked confusion by suggesting they could travel to visit family or friends.

He said people could go to those countries if they observed quarantine rules on their return.

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "I think it's very important for people to grasp what an amber list country is: it is not somewhere where you should be going on holiday, let me be very clear about that.”

The Government says there are limited reasons why it might be acceptable to travel to them, such as for work purposes or caring for a family member.

However, thousands of people have reportedly already headed for ‘amber’ destinations such as France, Greece, Spain and the US.

More than 150 flights are said to have departed on Monday.

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