Passengers on new flight from Zante to Cardiff must self-isolate

A second plane-load of passengers from Zante to Cardiff has been told to self-isolate.

The Welsh Government announced the move, relating to a flight due to land from the Greek holiday island on Tuesday night, as they said they are “concerned” about travellers returning to Wales from the area. Health minister Vaughan Gething announced the move as he said there had been “several examples of Covid-19 positive travellers who have not self-isolated on return to Wales”.

It comes after at least 16 people tested positive for coronavirus after a flight from Zante to Cardiff Airport.

Mr Gething said there were currently six clusters of infection amounting to more than 30 cases in the last week from four flights. Two of these flights landed in England.

Mr Gething said: “There are concerns from our public health teams that the current advice and control measures for returning travellers are insufficient.

“Unfortunately our consultants in communicable disease control have several examples of Covid-19 positive travellers who have not self-isolated on return to Wales. That is a real concern for all of us.”

On the day another 51 cases of the virus, as well as one more death, were confirmed in Wales Mr Gething announced:

  • all passengers on the flight from Zante/Zakynthos to Cardiff on Tuesday September 1 will be given a letter before leaving the airport requesting that they self-isolate for 14 days due to the risk of unknowingly spreading Covid-19 to others.
  • all passengers will be offered a Covid-19 antigen test within 48 hours of their return and will be offered a repeat test eight days after returning home.

Travellers from Greece will also be required to self-isolate at home for 14 days on arrival into Scotland as of Thursday morning, the Scottish Government announced on Tuesday.

One passenger on-board an affected flight into Cardiff last week said she was not surprised all travellers have to self-isolate following an initial seven positive coronavirus tests, which subsequently more than doubled.

Stephanie Whitfield, from Cardiff, said it was very apparent from the moment they stepped on the plane that many of the passengers “hadn’t been educated about the wearing of face masks” and claims a large number of people wore them around their chin and were allowed to walk along the aisles without being stopped.

On Tuesday Public Health Wales confirmed there has been no further increases in cases identified on the flight. All passengers on the flight have been emailed with instructions to self-isolate.

Incident director for the novel coronavirus outbreak response at Public Health Wales Dr Christopher Williams said: “Cardiff and Vale Test, Trace and Protect (TTP) and Public Health Wales have identified at least 16 confirmed cases of Covid-19 from three different parties who were on TUI flight 6215 from Zante to Cardiff on August 25.

“Seven out of the 16 were infectious at the time of flying. As a result we are advising that all passengers on this flight are considered close contacts and must self-isolate.

“All passengers are being followed up by their local TTP teams and they must self-isolate at home as they may become infectious, even without developing symptoms. Anyone with symptoms should book a test without delay.”

Some symptomatic passengers took a test two days after landing, Dr Williams added. He said: “We remind the public and business owners that coronavirus is still circulating in the community. We all have a vital role in preventing the spread of coronavirus by sticking to social distancing guidelines – that’s staying two metres away from others and washing hands regularly.”

WalesOnline – Cardiff