A Bristol cruise passenger has slammed Gatwick Airport for not providing hand sanitiser for those entering the UK.
Claudette Marrett returned to the country earlier this month with her sisters after a week-long cruise around the Carribbean.
With other cruise ships recently being quarantined due to confirmed cases of coronavirus onboard, Claudette was regularly told during her own trip to use hand sanitiser and wash her hands to help prevent an outbreak.
The St George woman was surprised then when she arrived at Gatwick Airport to find the hygiene measures in place weren’t as stringent as the ones on her cruise.
In particular, she claims there was a lack of hand sanitiser for travellers getting off their flights.
She said: “During our cruise trip, the automatic hand sanitisers were made readily available.
“We used it as we walked through the deck of the ship as and when we needed it, which was on every level.
“It was always a permanent fixture at the entrance and exit to all food areas, whether going for breakfast or dinner.
“They also had them outside the ship as we left and then when we came back.
“Everyone would be drawn towards them to have our hands sprayed, a small line would even be made before entering or exiting the ship.”
(Image: Claudette Marrett)
Passengers onboard the cruise – operated by TUI – were also given leaflets reminding them to constantly practice good hygiene.
One leaflet read: “When you return to the ship we ask that you make use of the sanitiser at the gangway and then wash your hands as soon as possible when you come onboard.
“It’s also very important that you continue to wash your hands regularly throughout the day, especially after using the toilet and before you eat.”
When Claudette returned to the UK however, she was surprised by the lack of hand sanitiser at Gatwick Airport, the second busiest airport in the UK.
“On returning to the UK, we got off the plane in the early hours of the morning and many were coughing, including myself,” she said.
“I found it strange that there was not one sanitiser in sight at the airport and no checks made. There was nothing.
“We all noticed and made a comment to each other at the lack of preparation being made in our airports, where so many people travel in and out from.”
A spokesperson for Gatwick Airport said: “Gatwick is following the advice of Public Health England in full and – like other UK airports – has an advanced monitoring process in place for direct flights from affected areas, including Italy.
“The latest advice from Public Health England for passengers is also displayed throughout the terminals and enhanced cleaning is taking place in public areas across the airport.
“The airport remains in regular contact with the relevant authorities to ensure that all the appropriate processes are in place and we will continue to follow their advice on this matter in full.”
In other coronavirus news, a student at the University of Bristol has tested positively for COVID-19 while the Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland confirmed today (March 12) that all schools and colleges in the country would close.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
Symptoms include fever and cough that can progress to severe pneumonia. This can cause shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
The virus causes more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
How can I prevent it?
In most cases, Covid-19 is mild but everyone should carry on with good washing of hands and related personal hygiene measures, which include:
- Giving your hands a good wash with soap and water is the most effective action you can take (but hand gels can be a good substitute).
- Maintaining personal hygiene when coughing or sneezing is also important – use a tissue rather your hands and then throw it away.
- It is good general practice to use cleaning wipes to give your keyboard, desk, phone etc. the once over on a regular basis.
If someone is feeling unwell and has the symptoms set out on the public health website they should not go to their doctors or a hospital. They should ring 111 to get further advice.