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Crowds At Heathrow Airport Spark Social Distancing Concerns

Crowds At Heathrow Airport Spark Social Distancing Concerns

People have criticised the government over the backlog

Dominic Smithers

Dominic Smithers

Huge crowds of people have been pictured queuing at Heathrow Airport, sparking concerns over social distancing.

Shocking photos have been shared on social media, showing countless numbers of travellers lining up at arrivals.

Former British Ambassador Sir Peter Westmacott criticised the airport for a lack of ventilation and space, which he claimed could cause a 'super spreader' incident.

Posting a picture, he wrote: "T2 Heathrow Friday afternoon. No ventilation. Long delays. Super spreading."

Sharing the same snap, one user said: "The UK: Repeatedly locking down the entire country and banning social gatherings.

"But for almost an entire year, being one of the only countries in the world with no testing, tracing or quarantining at airports. Here's the absolute state of Heathrow Airport yesterday."

Another added: "Heathrow, Terminal 2 yesterday. What a kick in the teeth."

"#Heathrow airport, where are all these people going? We are supposed to be in a lockdown," asked a third.

Sky News anchor Adam Boulton shared a photo from the queue he was stuck in.

He said: "So that's one hour waiting in the LHR T5 Border queue and I'm only halfway there and was early of the plane. People still being held in the corridor. Only 3 officials on.

"Everyone is trying but so much for social distancing and not mixing indoors."

Adding: "Amazing after 1 hour 20 minutes queuing Border force suddenly opens the e gates and we are liberated. What was that about?"

Sharing another photo, journalist Richard Gaisford slammed the Home Office for not taking the necessary actions to prevent such a backlog.

He wrote: "What a welcome home. Good to see @ukhomeoffice has oiled the machine. Wouldn't want people standing around in large numbers @HeathrowAirport, would you?"

Responding to his criticism, a spokesperson for Heathrow Airport said: "Hi Richard, thank you for tweeting us - we have informed the appropriate teams of this and please rest assured that our colleagues are working hard and liaising with Border Force to reduce delays."

Labour's shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said the images were extremely worrying.

He said: "They are incredibly worrying, with no social distancing and clearly risking transmission of yet more strains of this awful virus.

"Ministers need to get a grip to protect our country's health."

It comes as the UK government yesterday (22 January) announced that a further 40,261 people had contracted the disease, with 1,401 people having died.

Featured Image Credit: Sir Peter Westmacott

Topics: covid, Science, Airport, Coronavirus, Politics, Health, Covid-19