Covid fears at Heathrow after pictures show passengers packed together in snaking queues as Christmas getaway begins

HOLIDAYMAKERS flocked to Heathrow for Christmas getaways this week sparking coronavirus fears.

Photos obtained by The Sun show huge queues of passengers snaking around the airport terminals.

The images emerged despite the Civil Aviation Authority and Department for Transport ordering Heathrow bosses to maintain a "coronavirus safe" airport.

But staff struggled to cope with the number of people embarking on a festive getaway, with one Union boss describing the site as "concerning".

On Thursday – the third day of industrial action by airport workers – 34,218 passengers had booked to fly out of Heathrow.

It comes as millions of Brits have been plunged into Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions and have been urged not to travel.

Only three areas in England moved down a tier after yesterday's review.

Rules in the toughest tier say going abroad is advised against unless for reasons such as work, education or healthcare.

This is despite Transport Secretary Grant Shapps previously saying tier 3 residents could go abroad if they went "straight to the airport".

With around two-thirds of the country hurtling into the toughest tier after a shocking rise in cases, the race is on to get a hold on spiraling Covid cases with a week until Christmas.

But it would appear with tightened restrictions slashing the amount of time Brits are allowed to spend with their families – and who they're allowed to see, many have decided to simply take off instead.

Unite regional co-coordinating officer Wayne King told The Sun: "The pictures of a lack of Covid compliance are deeply concerning.

"Heathrow Airport Limited's failure to ensure social distancing is potentially putting the health of passengers and our members at risk.

"HAL was clearly aware this was going to be an issue and that is why it has recalled all security guards to work but clearly this has not been sufficient to prevent these problems.

"Unite will be urgently consulting with our security guard members and advise them to act appropriately if they believe their health or safety is being placed in imminent danger."

There were 382 security guards working at Terminal 2 on Thursday and 517 at Terminal 5.

Heathrow Airport Limited did not respond to repeated request for comment

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