Britain's airport FARCE summed up in one photo

Britain’s airport FARCE summed up in one photo: Heathrow worker is ONLY person not in a mask as he pushes disabled woman into lift – while just ‘half of BA staff cover face’ because they view it as ‘optional’

  • The woman in the wheelchair was wearing a mask and likely vulnerable to virus 
  • Both Heathrow and BA have provided PPE to staff but not enforced their wearing
  • Photo suggests staff are out of step with public, which is leaning towards masks 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Airports have come under fresh fire for adopting a lackluster response to the coronavirus crisis after a striking picture showed a Heathrow employee as the only person not wearing a mask.

The worker was photographed pushing a woman in a wheelchair, who is likely vulnerable to the disease. 

The person who took the picture, who has asked to remain anonymous, also claimed that only half of the staff on their BA flight wore a mask and was told by a steward they were ‘optional’.

Both Heathrow and BA insist they are following government guidance, which does not mandate mask-wearing.

However, both have provided personal protective equipment to their staff and just not gone as far as making it obligatory. 

The photo suggests the staff are out of step with the public mood, which is increasingly leaning towards wearing masks.  

The worker was photographed pushing a woman in a wheelchair, who is likely vulnerable to the disease

The concourse at Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport, London,  is empty during the normally busy Easter getaway, as the UK continues in lockdown

It is the latest piece of ammunition accusing the UK’s airports of adopting a laid-back approach to the health emergency.

Passengers arriving at Britain’s flagship airport face zero health checks or screening, markedly out of step with other nations imposing rigorous testing.

Multi-country analysis reveals only the UK and Jordan have not enforced any kind of checks at their borders.

Officials believe about 15,000 passengers are arriving unchecked into the UK every day, including 10,000 at Heathrow.

People are even flying in from coronavirus-battered countries such as China, Italy and Iran are not being checked. 

Experts said entry screening would detect only a small number of cases and the decision not to test was made by the Department of Health and Social Care.

Instead, under a system of ‘enhanced monitoring’ passengers are handed information leaflets and told to self-isolate for 14 days after landing, although unlike other governments can not enforce this.

‘Do not use this seat’ signs are places on seats at Heathrow Airport as the coronavirus lockdown continues

Heathrow insists that is has stepped up social distancing measures and efforts to avoid contamination.

This includes installation of over 600 hand sanitizer dispensers, plastering social distancing markers on floors, one-way systems in terminals and widespread signage via digital screens and monoliths. 

It also includes providing surgical facemasks to security staff, although they are not obliged to wear them.

Airlines have been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis as sales have nosedived amid worldwide travel restrictions.

A lot of fleets have has been mothballed in hangars and airport tarmac, but a few routes are still running to transport key workers and deliver supplies.

Industry chiefs have been forced to cut staff and are in urgent rescue talks with ministers for a bailout.

Masks have been a point of contention throughout the crisis in the UK, as the government’s advisory group SAGE believes they have little effect in stemming the spread of infection.

But this advice remains alarmingly out of kilter with other countries such as the US and European neighbours who have in some places enforced their wearing.

A BA spokesman said: ‘We follow all the guidance from the UK Government and global health authorities, including Public Health England and the World Health Organisation.

‘We have taken several steps to greatly reduce contact between customers and crew, and personal protective equipment is available to them.’  

Heathrow did not provide a comment. 

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