Busy scenes at Manchester Airport arrivals as Brits return home


Manchester Airport arrivals was worryingly packed to the rafters this morning as Brits returned home early from holiday. 

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab urged UK citizens to fly “while there are still commercial routes," available this week, stating "the time to come home is now.”

Many Brits are trying to get back to the country as soon as possible, and BBC Look North reporter Ian White shared images of a busy Manchester Airport on Tuesday morning after a flight carrying UK nationals landed from Barbados.

The troubling pictures appeared to show no evidence of any social distancing measures - despite tighter measures being announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson the previous evening.

Posting the images to Twitter, White stated: "The shocking scene at Manchester Airport arrivals this morning - no two metre distancing here."

Manchester Airport has moved all of its flights to a single terminal amid the outbreak of COVID-19, and further congestion is expected in the coming days.

A spokesperson for the airport responded:

“During the Coronavirus pandemic we have seen a dramatic reduction in flights and passenger volumes.

“At present we are running a significantly reduced operation, which from tomorrow will consolidate into Terminal One. We expect to see around 1,000 arriving and departing passengers pass through what is our largest terminal during the course of the entire day.

“This will enable those travelling through Manchester Airport to observe social distancing guidance at all times.

"Where possible, we will put in specific measures to help facilitate this, such as adapting security screening to enable a distance of two metres at all times and providing advice to passengers through announcements and posters in the terminal. Plus throughout the airport we are deploying visual aids on the floors to help passengers see what two metres is.

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The statement continued: “For arriving passengers, we are ensuring aircraft use gates that are not close together and are working with UK Border Force to enable social distancing throughout the immigration process

“In baggage reclaim areas, we will be using carousels that are far apart from each other, using multiple belts for larger flights.

“We know these are unsettling times for everyone and that those arriving back into Manchester are eager to complete their journeys and return to loved ones as soon as possible.

“At the same time, we urge everyone travelling through the airport to do all they can to adhere to government guidance on social distancing.

“The safety and security of our colleagues and customers is always our number one priority and we appreciate their cooperation at this challenging time.”

Social distancing measures - requiring people to stand at least two metres apart from one another - have been cited as one of the most effective ways to combat the spread of the virus.

According to the PM, many of us should stay inside wherever possible.

There are 6,650 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UK as of Tuesday morning (24 March) with 335 deaths.

Further guidance on social distancing is available on the Gov.uk website.

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