Passengers on board a Tui flight from the Greek island of Zante travelling to Cardiff have been told to self-isolate after cases of coronavirus were traced back to the flight.
The plane was carrying almost 200 passengers.
Sixteen cases of Covid-19 were linked to people who boarded the Tui flight on 25 August.
At least seven of those cases were infectious or potentially infectious during the flight, according to Dr Gwen Lowe, a consultant in communicable disease control for Public Health Wales.
Incident director for the outbreak response at Public Health Wales, Dr Giri Shankar, said: “Cardiff and Vale Test Trace Protect and Public Health Wales have identified at least seven confirmed cases of Covid-19 from three different parties who were infectious on TUI flight 6215 from Zante to Cardiff on August 25.
“As a result, we are advising that all passengers on this flight are considered close contacts and must self-isolate.
“These passengers will be contacted shortly but, meanwhile, they must self-isolate at home as they may become infectious even without developing symptoms. Anyone with symptoms should book a test without delay.”
Stephanie Whiftield was one of the passengers on board the flight from Greece to Cardiff.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, she described how her fellow passengers failed to wear their masks correctly, and appeared to completely “disregard the rules”.
She said: “Many passengers didn’t seem to know how to wear the masks correctly or they seemed to just disregard the rules really.
“Lots of the people were wearing the masks underneath their noses or even underneath their chins. They were taking the masks off to talk to friends and they were going up and down the aisles to talk to their friends without their masks on.”
Ms Whitfield said that a crew member did ask one woman to put her mask on, but “the vast majority of people weren’t being spoken to”.
“The flight was full of selfish ‘covidiots’ and an inept crew who couldn’t care less,” she said.
Rise in cases
When asked whether she had been surprised to hear about the cases of coronavirus occurring following the flight, Ms Whitfield said: “No, we weren’t surprised at all.”
Before arriving back in Cardiff, Ms Whitfield explained that she and her husband had decided to self isolate, and have been doing so since the news of the flight emerged.
She said that the two of them have mild symptoms, and while they’re hoping it’s just a cold, they are getting tested on Tuesday.
Dr Lowe told Today that, in the last week, there has been about 30 cases of the virus in Wales that have come back from Zante.
She said that these were from “different flights on different days staying in different locations”.
“These are confirmed positive cases and we’ve expected that number to rise,” the doctor said.
What has Tui said?
Tui states that wearing a face mask is a condition of carriage on Tui Airways, and that they must be worn unless consuming food and drink, or if the passenger has a medical condition.
The Tui website outlines how travelling in the age of coronavirus has changed and what to expect from your Tui experience. In this section, it states that: “Everyone over six years old needs to wear a face mask on our flights.
“You’ll need to bring your own, and make sure you have enough to allow you to change your mask every four hours.”
A spokesperson for the company said: “We can confirm that, at the request of Public Health Wales, we have contacted all passengers on board TOM6215 from Zante to Cardiff on 25th August.
“The safety and wellbeing of passengers and crew is our highest priority and we operate all flights in line with European Union Aviation Safety Agency guidelines.”