The Heathrow International Airport in London now has a separate terminal for passengers coming from countries, such as India, with higher risk of COVID-19 transmission,
The Terminal 3 at Heathrow has been assigned for people coming from “red list” countries. After landing, they will go through Terminal 3 and move directly to a quarantine facility, the expenses for which have to be borne by the passengers.
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The decision follows safety concerns raised by Heathrow airport staff about their safety while coming in close contact with passengers arriving from “red list” countries.
“As we reopen international travel safely, we will maintain 100 per cent health checks at the border and the new dedicated terminal at Heathrow for arrivals from red list countries will enable passengers to be processed as safely and as efficiently as possible, before being transferred to a managed quarantine facility,” a UK government spokesperson said.
A Heathrow airport spokesperson admitted that opening such a facility and maintaining it for a long duration of time “will be logistically very challenging”. “Our hope is that it will enable Border Force to carry out its duties more efficiently as passenger volumes increase in line with the green list. Until then, the current red list system will remain in place,” the spokesperson said.
Currently, 43 countries are on the UK government’s red list for high-risk COVID-19 variants, which includes India, Brazil and South Africa.
The UK is clearly worried about new coronavirus variants transmitting to local populace. The number of positive cases in the UK went past the 3,000 count on Monday (May 31) for a sixth day in a row. Scientists say the highly transmissible B1.617.2 variant, first identified in India and now named ‘Delta’ by the World Health Organisation, is considered to be the reason behind this sudden surge.
The coronavirus has killed 1,28,045 people in the UK, along with 45,03,231 confirmed cases so far, according to Johns Hopkins University.