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THOUSANDS ARRIVE HERE EVERYDAY WITHOUT CHECKS

 
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thomas davison
Party Leader


Joined: 03 Jun 2005
Posts: 3754
Location: northumberland

PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2020 5:10 pm    Post subject: THOUSANDS ARRIVE HERE EVERYDAY WITHOUT CHECKS Reply with quote

Flying into the height of madness: No checks on illegal BA holidaymakers leaving and none coming back as THOUSANDS arrive every day - no wonder we're the sick man of Europe!

Hundreds of flights a week are bringing in thousands of international passengers
Foreign Office advice cautions against all but essential international travel
In spite of this, British Airways offers holiday deals across the US and Europe

By Sian Boyle for the Daily Mail and Lydia Catling For Mailonline

Published: 22:59, 15 May 2020 | Updated: 12:34, 16 May 2020

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Most of us are in dire straits in lockdown, confined with cabin fever and wanderlust.

We've followed the rules to the letter, only leaving home where necessary and avoiding beloved friends and family.

Yet while many of us haven't ventured past the garden gate since March, a curious phenomenon taunts us: the planes in the sky.

In scenes that have exasperated Britons locked down in their homes for nearly eight weeks – in the country with the world's second-highest death toll – jets continue to streak overhead.
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Today the Mail can reveal how hundreds of flights a week are bringing in tens of thousands of international passengers with no checks whatsoever.

While emergency coronavirus legislation dictates that it's against the law to stay overnight away from home, travellers are able to hop on and off flights with no questions asked.
The packed 09.15 flight from Amsterdam to Heathrow on Thursday. She flew to Amsterdam with BA and flew back to London with KLM
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The packed 09.15 flight from Amsterdam to Heathrow on Thursday. She flew to Amsterdam with BA and flew back to London with KLM

In other developments as Britain moved into day 54 of lockdown:



The International Air Transport Association warned this week that revenue for 2020 will be cut in half and could take years to recover. The airline industry is, justifiably, devastated at the effect coronavirus is having on business.

Eurocontrol, which co-ordinates air traffic across the continent, published data this month showing UK air traffic was down by 91 per cent.

But what of the other 9 per cent? Are Britons still travelling internationally? And what checks are imposed on those who try to enter the country during lockdown? I booked a holiday to find out.

Advice from the Foreign Office cautions British nationals against all but essential international travel.

In spite of this, British Airways alone offers holiday deals across the US and Europe, as well as Mexico, Japan and Hong Kong. Many flights are sold out – including business class.

This week there were, on average, 170 flights per day arriving at Heathrow, including ten in one hour from New York – one of the areas worst-affected by coronavirus. Other flights came directly from Rome, Madrid, Tehran, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
There are no checks on travellers arriving at the UK border. Pictured: Arrivals at Heathrow T2 on Thursday
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There are no checks on travellers arriving at the UK border. Pictured: Arrivals at Heathrow T2 on Thursday

I browse package deals on BA's Holiday Finder website and book next-day return tickets to Amsterdam, the city of canals and culture.

Heading to the airport (armed with a face mask and gloves), I wonder if I'll be stopped – or even arrested. Yet I arrive at Heathrow's Terminal Five without incident, and even have to drive around to find a space in the short-term car park.

At the BA check-in desk, my boarding pass is printed without an eyelid batted. I'm not asked where I'm going, or why.

Prior to boarding, my 30-odd fellow passengers and I are asked to fill out a health questionnaire issued by the Dutch government, covering any potential symptoms.

On the plane, I hear an in-flight announcement unlike any other: 'Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. This is your captain speaking. Where possible on this flight we will maintain social distancing rules.

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Package deals on BA's Holiday Finder website, which offered trips to Lisbon, Barcelona and Amsterdam
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Package deals on BA's Holiday Finder website, which offered trips to Lisbon, Barcelona and Amsterdam

'If you're feeling unwell, press the call button and raise your hand, and tell the person next to you to do the same.

'We have consulted with health experts to offer a temporary in-flight service of a bottle of water and a packet of crisps.

'We've all been through a lot in these past few weeks so sit back, relax and be comforted that you are now on your way to Amsterdam.'

Upon landing, we are greeted at Schiphol Airport by staff in PPE who personally screen us further for symptoms.

KLM, the Dutch flag-carrier, refuses boarding permission to anyone without a face mask. BA has no such rules.
Advice from the Foreign Office cautions British nationals against all but essential international travel. Pictured: A hotel in Amsterdam shown on BA’s holiday finder
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Advice from the Foreign Office cautions British nationals against all but essential international travel. Pictured: A hotel in Amsterdam shown on BA’s holiday finder

After my 24 hours in Amsterdam, the return flight to Heathrow is almost at capacity. Embarrassingly for Britain, its borders offer no health screening – unlike the supposedly 'relaxed' Dutch.

Upon arrival there are no checks or interceptions of travellers heading off to their final destinations.

In Heathrow's Terminal Two, the only indications of a global pandemic are two small posters in the passport hall which state: 'Just arrived in the UK? Stay alert to stay safe.'

More than 5,600 have died from coronavirus in the Netherlands (population: 17million).The toll in the UK (population: 67million) is almost 34,000.
The empty streets of Amsterdam’s Red Light District, usually thronging with tourists
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The empty streets of Amsterdam’s Red Light District, usually thronging with tourists

Spain and Italy – the worst-affected areas in the EU before Britain's corona crisis deepened – have closed their airspace to anyone without certain documentation.

British passengers trying to get to Spain cannot leave terra firma without a resident's card. Italy demands a 'self-declaration form for travel', and passengers must report to local health authorities upon arrival.

'The UK is one of the very few countries in the world to actually have no checks at borders for anyone coming in,' Scottish government health adviser Professor Devi Sridhar warned last week. 'It is an outlier.'
BA bosses reveal future plan for business which will see jobs axed and salaries slashed

Bosses at British Airways have today written to staff to set out their future plan for how they will deal with the effect the coronavirus pandemic has had on the business.

Due to the unprecedented ban on travel BA paid £460million to 921,000 passengers who requested cash refunds on 2.1million flights.

The new strategy for the company, owned by IAG, will see the most senior members of British Airways cabin crew hit with a 55 per cent pay cut.

The bosses will sack 12,000 employees and the salaries of those who remain will be cut down to £24,000.

Chief executive Willie Walsh will slash supervisor roles from 1,860 to 971 and the 12,402 crew members will be cut to 8,591.

As an incentive, cabin crew will now receive commission from any sales they make onboard.

Payment of commission will also take into account their performance.

One BA employee told The Sun: 'We are appalled.'

Last month Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed that 15,000 air passengers were arriving in the UK every day. This equates to around 800,000 since our lockdown began in March.

Screening at airports fell by the wayside when the Government abandoned its first attempts at tracking and tracing patients early on in the crisis.

However, Professor John Aston, Sage attendee and chief scientific adviser at the Home Office, told MPs this week: 'We believe that less than 0.5 per cent of those people arriving potentially had Covid-19.'

According to US think-tank the Pew Research Center, at least 90 per cent of the global population are in countries with restrictions on non-citizens arriving, while 39 per cent live behind borders entirely closed to foreigners. Yet while 130 countries have travel restrictions in place, Britain currently has an open border policy.

Boris Johnson announced plans to relax our lockdown on Sunday, with travellers to be quarantined from next month. The Government clarified, however, that staying overnight at a location other than where you live 'for a holiday or other purpose' is 'not allowed'.

The days since the Prime Minister's announcement have seen chaos and confusion for Britons unsure whether to book a holiday this year.

On Tuesday, Mr Hancock said: 'I think it's unlikely that big lavish international holidays are going to be possible for this summer.' The next day saw Transport Secretary Grant Shapps suggest people could book at their own risk as they 'will just have to take a view on where we will be at some point in the future'.

Many anxious holidaymakers have reported being 'bullied' into paying for holidays they believe will be cancelled. If customers cancel the holiday themselves, they stand to lose their deposit – and airlines only have to issue refunds if they axe flights themselves.

A spokesman for British Airways said its website's Holiday Finder section did not promote holidays and was simply a 'tool' for pairing flights and hotels. 'We follow all the guidance from the UK Government and global health authorities, including Public Health England,' they said.

'Like other forms of transport we are keeping vital links open – repatriating customers and ensuring key supplies like medicines and food are flown in.'
'We're not out of the woods yet': NHS chief reveals hospital admissions in England have halved since the pandemic's peak

Writing exclusively for the Daily Mail Simon Stevens said there had been a fall in demand since the coronavirus pandemic reached its peak.

He said staff are now treating just over 9,000 patients a day, compared to 19,000 just a few weeks ago.

The NHS boss also revealed that admissions were falling by around 2,000 a week.

But Sir Simon says we are 'not yet out of the woods' but that hard work, careful preparation and the public's own actions have ensured the NHS has not been overwhelmed by the biggest challenge in its 71-year history.

He encouraged people suffering with non-Covid conditions to seek help and 'don't delay' as he hopes to see the NHS 'returning to business as usual'.

But he also noted a plunge in admissions to A&E for alcohol intoxication and said no one wants to see those return.

'We owe it to all those who have given so much in the fight against Covid-19 to ensure that we build an even better, stronger and agile NHS for the future,' he said.

Before driving home from Heathrow I ask taxi drivers at the terminal – from a safe distance – about their clientele during lockdown.

'I've had loads of different nationalities,' one tells me. 'A lot from the US, but also Pakistan, Dubai, Sweden, Switzerland and Italy. I've been surprised, it's everyone from every walk of life.

'In the US, you can't even board a plane without getting your temperature checked. Every country closed its borders but it seems everyone can come here.

'It's a bit late to be shutting the border now.'

Throughout the experience I've felt like I'm in a parallel universe. While most people are climbing the walls at home, here I am having jetted off to another country.

A spokesman for the Home Office reiterated Mr Johnson's announcement that the UK 'will soon be introducing measures that mean those arriving in the UK from overseas will be required to self-isolate to help to keep transmission levels low and prevent re-infection from abroad'.

They added that 'we have been clear that people should not travel abroad except for essential journeys, and the vast majority of people have complied with our approach which is, and has always been, driven by the latest scientific and medical advice'.

But if I've had a surreptitious trip during lockdown, who else has?
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