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The Immigration Services Union has expressed concern about passenger mixing at airports after reports that arrivals are on the 'red list' were not separated.
The ISU, which represents immigration and border personnel, has warned that people are "at risk of contracting a virus or variant" after saying passengers from high-risk countries have been forced to enter airports in recent days. to mix.
On Monday, a quarantine policy was introduced requiring passengers arriving to the UK from 33 & # 39; red list & # 39; countries to be isolated in specially managed hotels for ten days. They are picked up at the airport and taken directly to the hotels.
But according to the ISU, border personnel, who said they were not instructed to implement the policy until 8.30pm on Friday, were concerned that "persons to be quarantined are in no way separated from other travelers".
"This is not something Border Force has any control over; it is the responsibility of the airport," said an ISU spokesman.
"But members express concern that failure to divorce, especially in conjunction with delays or queues, puts other travelers at risk of contracting a transmitted virus or variant."
Although the ISU estimated that border personnel had met only "a few hundred" passengers who had to be quarantined on Monday, they were concerned that an increase in the number of passengers trying to meet the deadline before the policy took effect would also affect the transmission.
Passenger traffic, especially at Heathrow, was unusually heavy in the period just before the start of the quarantine measures, the ISU spokesman said.
"Understandably, those who were able to travel in advance did. This did lead to a queue at the arrivals check, which is never ideal because there is no social distance."
People from countries with the & # 39; red list & # 39; travel must arrive at Heathrow, Gatwick, London City or Manchester City airports. Farnborough Airfield, where private jets are allowed to land, can also receive arrivals from & # 39; red list & # 39; countries.
Representatives from Heathrow and London City airports said special arrival channels have been set up for passengers who need to enter the hotel's quarantine.
"The process designed by the government trains passengers at Heathrow between the airplane gate and the immigration hall, where those on the 'red list' are routed to a dedicated channel," said a Heathrow spokesman.
“After crossing the border, government contractors escort Red List passengers to a segregated area of our baggage claim area to collect their luggage before transporting them to a designated quarantine hotel.
"In addition to our improved cleaning regimes, Heathrow has also deployed dedicated COVID marshals to remind passengers that face cover is mandatory at the airport at all times and that they need to socialize every step of their journey."
A London City spokesperson said no passengers had arrived from "red list" countries since the policy was introduced on Monday, but dedicated lanes had been set up to ensure social distance between arrivals.
An Interior Ministry source said airports have a responsibility to enforce social distance between passengers arriving from & # 39; red list & # 39; countries and other destinations.
Gatwick, Manchester City Airport and the Department for Health and Social Care have been contacted for comment.