Viral pictures of the coach drivers escorting British people from China who may have been exposed to the coronavirus have caused much confusion.
Images of the drivers transporting people to a quarantined facility in the Wirral, wearing only their usual uniform while others can be seen in full hazmat suits have raised eyebrows.
The pictures of the drivers from Reading-based firm Horseman Coaches, who are taking the quarantined individuals to Arrow Peake hospital, have been met with a mixture of reactions mostly because the majority of drivers appeared to be so laid back despite the importance of the task they have been given.
Ermmm, did they run out of Personal Protective Clothing for the bus drivers taking the people quarantined because o… https://t.co/3268CBjvGV
Reports state that the reason the drivers weren't wearing any protective clothing because it wasn't deemed necessary as according to Public Health England all passengers on board had been screened several times and had shown no signs of the virus previous to being screened.
A statement from the coach company read:
On January 30, 2020, Horseman Coaches was contacted on behalf of the British Government to assist with the repatriation of British citizens from China following the coronavirus outbreak.
83 Britons returned to RAF Brize Norton on 31 January, 2020. Every one of the Britons has been quarantined for the past eight days in China and none of the individuals on the plane presented any signs of the virus.
Horseman Coaches was advised by the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Public Health England that drivers were not required to wear PPE equipment. Every individual from the plane has been fully screened every day for the past eight days and has been deemed fit to return to the UK by medical professionals in China.
All passengers were screened prior to boarding the plane in China and have again been screened when they landed in RAF Brize Norton before being allowed on the coaches.
In addition, they confirmed that every coach will be given a 'military grade' deep clean and that each driver will be given the next 10 working days under quarantine conditions
James Horseman, Company Director, said:
The safety and health of our staff and passengers is our number one priority. The individuals brought back to the UK have been through unimaginable anguish and we are proud to play a small part in their healthy and safe return to the UK.
Please be assured that all necessary precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of our staff and passengers. We will continue to work closely with the British Government departments to safeguard our drivers and uphold the required decontamination standards.