Nearly 200 passengers on a TUI flight to the UK from the Greek island of Zante have been told to self-isolate.
BBC News reported that the call comes amid fears of a coronavirus outbreak on TUI flight 6215, which landed in Cardiff with 193 passengers and crew on 25 August.
Public Health Wales’ incident director for the novel coronavirus outbreak, Dr Christopher Williams, said in a statement that the health authority had identified at least 16 confirmed cases of COVID-19 from three different parties who were on TUI flight 6215.
“Seven out of the sixteen were infectious at the time of flying,” he said. “As a result, we are advising that all passengers on this flight are considered close contacts and must self-isolate.
“Our investigations into a number of cases of coronavirus have indicated that a lack of social distancing, in particular by a minority of the 20- to 30-year age group, has resulted in the spread of the virus to other groups of people.
“I would make a direct appeal to young people to remember that even if they feel that they would not be badly affected by COVID-19 were they to test positive, should they pass it on to older or more vulnerable family members, friends or colleagues it could be extremely serious and even fatal.”
The flight arrived from Zante which, along with the rest of Greece, remains on the United Kingdom government’s list of quarantine-exempt countries. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has since updated its travel advice to reflect local coronavirus restrictions put in place on the island.
Passengers described the flight as a “debacle” and said there “wasn’t much” policing of rules intended to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.
“This flight was a debacle,” Stephanie Witfield from Cardiff, who was on the flight with her partner, told BBC News.
“The chap next to me had his mask around his neck. Not only did the airline not pull him up on it, they gave him a free drink when he said he knew a member of the crew.
“Loads of people were taking their masks off and wandering up and down the aisles to talk to others.
“As soon as the flight landed, a load of people took their masks off immediately. The flight was full of selfish ‘covidiots’ and an inept crew who couldn’t care less.”
Travel Weekly has contacted TUI Group’s international press team for comment. However, in a statement to BBC News, the travel multinational said it was concerned by passenger claims.
TUI Group told the British broadcaster: “Our crew are trained to the highest standards. A full investigation is now under way as these concerns weren’t reported during the flight or before today.”
The United Kingdom requires travellers arriving from overseas to quarantine for two weeks, unless they are coming from one of more than 70 countries and territories considered “low risk” from the coronavirus.
Greece, which opened to tourists on 15 June ahead of its summer vacation season, is on this exemption list.
Featured image source: iStock/VanderWolf-Images