File photo: Chaos and confusion reigned at British airports on Monday as passengers returning from Italy’s coronavirus epicentre said they had no idea they were meant to be self-isolating for two weeks. Picture: Reuters
File photo: Chaos and confusion reigned at British airports on Monday as passengers returning from Italy’s coronavirus epicentre said they had no idea they were meant to be self-isolating for two weeks. Picture: Reuters

We had no idea we had to self-isolate, say returning tourists from Italy

By Sophie Borland and Tom Payne Time of article published Mar 11, 2020

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London - Chaos and confusion reigned at British airports on Tuesday as passengers returning from Italy’s coronavirus epicentre said they had no idea they were meant to be self-isolating for two weeks.

Many said they were planning to return to work immediately - including an Uber driver and a delivery driver – because they "felt fine" and wouldn’t be getting sick pay.

To add to the confusion, the NHS’s coronavirus website was failing to tell the public on Monday they needed to self-isolate for a fortnight if they had just come back from Italy, the worst-hit EU country.

The site was only instructing people to stay at home if they had been in certain regions in the north, even though the government advice was officially extended to all of Italy on Monday night.

Even those travellers who were planning to self-isolate for two weeks were taking trains and coaches to get home from the airport, where they could infect others.

The lack of awareness over the guidelines will raise questions over whether the government is really doing enough to contain the coronavirus outbreak in the UK.

Latest figures show 382 patients in Britain have so far tested positive for the virus, an increase of 63 cases in the last 24 hours. A total of six patients have now died and the latest victim was a man in his early 80s who was being treated at Watford General Hospital in Hertfordshire.

At Stansted Airport in Essex there was little information telling passengers to self-isolate for two weeks. Several travellers told the Mail they had only seen out-of-date posters saying they only needed to stay at home if they had been in the northern regions.

Other countries have imposed far stricter measures and Austria on Monday banned travellers from entering Italy unless they had a medical certificate.

Spain cancelled all inbound flights from Italy and France, the US and Australia are carrying out temperature checks on passengers from Italy at airports.

Daily Mail

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