Horseman coaches: Why were the coach drivers on coronavirus flight not wearing masks?

Coachmen left exposed to Coronavirus have been told to remain at home for the next 10 working days under quarantine as a precautionary measure. But why exactly were these drivers not wearing any masks or protective equipment as they drove potentially infected British passengers?

Coronavirus has officially arrived in the UK with two patients confirmed to have been infected.

One of the infected people is a student at the University of York according to a spokesman.

Health authorities are attempting to identify anyone who might have come into contact with the pair, both of whom are currently being treated at a hospital in Newcastle.

The pair had been staying at a hotel in York when they began showing symptoms.


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In a bid to scourge the spread of the disease across the UK, Britain is reducing its diplomatic staff presence in China.

Britons evacuated from the coronavirus-hit Wuhan City arrived at a hospital in Wirral on Friday evening.

These people will spend 14 days in quarantine after they were transported from RAF Brize Norton.

A convoy of five coaches transported the passengers to medical facilities where they can continue to be tested for the killer disease.

On January 30, Horseman Coaches was contacted on behalf of the British Government to assist with the repatriation of British citizens from China following the coronavirus outbreak.

In total, 83 Britons returned to RAF Brize Norton on January 31.

Each one of these Britons has been quarantined for the past eight days in China and none of the individuals on the plane presented any signs of the virus.

However, when images of the coach journeys surfaced showing drivers wearing no form of protective gear including masks, shockwaves rippled across social media.

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One social media user tweeted: “Love and prayers for those people in quarantine….but who hired the four Horsemen buses of the apocalypse to drive them there….really!”

Another wrote: “Why weren’t the drivers in protective clothing, do you think anyone will want to use your coaches again?”

On Twitter, one person wrote: “Why bus drivers on coronavirus convoy were not wearing hazmat suits – the bus company explains all Reading-based Horseman Coaches showed drivers in the classic shirt and tie uniform on the journey from RAF Brize Norton”.

Another tweeted: “Almost relieved to see there are more than 4 ‘Horseman’ coaches.

“Has there been any official explanation of why the drivers weren’t masked or otherwise protected, though?”

A statement from Horseman Coaches said: “Yesterday afternoon, Horseman Coaches helped successfully repatriate 83 Britons from RAF Brize Norton. Due to a number of misleading media reports surrounding the safety of our drivers and passengers, we wish to make clear:

“Horseman Coaches had provided PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) equipment for all drivers involved in the successful repatriation of 83 Britons.

“Military personnel medics and government officials told our drivers that PPE equipment was not necessary due to the precautions already taken by the Department for Health and Public Health England.

“Government officials confirmed that drivers wearing PPE equipment while driving posed a greater risk to the safety of passengers. This was a governmental decision based on a risk assessment conducted by the Department for Health and Public Health England.

“The photographed individual wearing a PPE suit was in direct contact with each of the 83 Britons, hence the need to wear protective clothing.

“The individuals repatriated have not had direct contact with any Drivers and officials from PHE have been present to supervise and manage the situation at all times.

“PHE has confirmed all drivers may return to work immediately, however, Horseman Coaches has asked all drivers to remain at home on full pay and benefits for the next 10 working days under quarantine conditions as an additional precautionary measure.

“We wish to reassure our customers that every recommendation made by the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Public Health England has been correctly followed and implemented.

“The five coaches used, out of 62 in our fleet, will remain locked in a secure facility for a minimum of 10 working days after a military-grade cleansing process has been completed as an additional precautionary measure. PHE (Public Health England) has confirmed that there will be no risk to any future passengers.”

Horseman Coaches Company Director James Horseman said: “The safety and health of our staff and passengers is our number one priority.

“The individuals brought back to the UK have been through unimaginable anguish and we are proud to play a small part in their healthy and safe return to the UK.

“Please be assured that all necessary precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of our staff and passengers.

“We will continue to work closely with the British Government departments to safeguard our drivers and uphold the required decontamination standards.’

Public Health England has been approached for comment.

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