At least 16 passengers on a flight from Zante, Greece to Cardiff, Wales have tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the rest of the passengers and crew to self-isolate and await testing. The official Public Health Wales Twitter account posted an alert asking the 193 passengers and the staff to self-isolate and seek testing immediately. According to a report by CNN, the outbreak began with three groups of infectious passengers.
The new coronavirus cases flared up on the TUI Flight 6215 on Tuesday, Aug. 25. One passenger on the plane, Stephanie Whitfield, told the BBC that the flight was full of high-risk behavior that made her uncomfortable. She described it as a "debacle," with passengers removing their masks and acting like "selfish 'covidiots.'" Public Health Wales officials performed contact tracing to tie the outbreak to three particular passengers.
We advise passengers from TUI Flight 6215 from Zante to Cardiff on 25 August to self isolate as they are now considered close contacts of several confirmed COVID-19 cases that were present on the flight. For more information read our latest statement: https://t.co/u6SKHz0zsG pic.twitter.com/HATi92hLXx— Public Health Wales (@PublicHealthW) August 30, 2020
The seven infectious passengers were broken into three groups traveling together on the plane. So far, at least six more passengers have tested positive, bringing the total up to 16 passengers from the flight who are now infected. Public Health Wales officials issued a public statement asking TUI Flight 6215 passengers to self-isolate but assured the community that they will be contacting the passengers individually as well.
"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 if they were to test positive for it, if they were to pass it on to older or more vulnerable family members, friends or colleagues it could be extremely serious, even fatal," said the organization's Incident Director for the Novel Coronavirus, Dr. Giri Shankar. "It remains the responsibility of everyone to help prevent the spread of this virus – that is, by self-isolating when asked to do so, staying two metres away from others, and by washing hands regularly."
The United Kingdom has some travel restrictions in place to help curb the spread of COVID-19, and citizens are warned that those restrictions could change while they are out of the country. Therefore, travelers run the risk of not being allowed to return home if things change while they are abroad.
The Welsh government espoused the precise results of its contact tracing procedures, which are now being used to find anyone who may have contacted the infected passengers on this flight. They also encourage anyone experiencing symptoms to seek testing, no matter who they have had contact with.