People can’t believe Heathrow Airport has only just started segregating arrivals from ‘red list’ countries
AP

Heathrow Airport has opened a dedicated terminal for passengers arriving from “red list” countries and everyone is baffled at the timing.

Writing on Twitter, numerous people have questioned why the policy – which will ensure that people who have arrived from countries with a higher rate of coronavirus do not mix with other passengers in the airport – was not put in place earlier in the pandemic.

From today, travellers entering the UK from one of the 43 so-called red list countries (the most severe of all the colours), which requires people to pay for and quarantine in a hotel for 10 days after their jolly, will enter through Terminal Three.

Until now, they have been mingling with all other people in the airport which people have seen as a bit bizarre given the... pandemic.

A Heathrow Airport spokeswoman told the BBC: "Red list routes will likely be a feature of UK travel for the foreseeable future as countries vaccinate their populations at different rates.

"We're adapting Heathrow to this longer-term reality by initially opening a dedicated arrivals facility.”

The government’s traffic light system was confirmed on 7 May outlining the fun new administrative barriers to international travel, which was legalised on 17 May. Quarantine hotels have been part of government policy for three and a half months while flights for other reasons such as business trips continued. Meanwhile, there has been growing concern about the spread of the India variant of coronavirus which is accounting for as many as 75 per cent of the UK’s new coronavirus cases. India is on the red list.

The public have also faced restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic including not mixing indoors with other people, on the other hand, for some 15 months. So you can see why large groups of people hanging out in poorly ventilated airports throughout the pandemic has been a bit controversial.

These people certainly think so:

Labour MP Diane Abbott said: “Well over a year after the pandemic began, finally some remedial action. Yet this is from ministers seemingly obsessed by controlling the borders”.

Her colleague Justin Madders added: “106 days after red list countries were announced and 39 days after India was added to it- absolutely hopeless.”

Let’s just hope it slows the spread of the virus.

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