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Heathrow has donated 6,000 FFP3 respiratory face masks in the last week, to NHS teams working at Thames Valley Air Ambulance and Hillingdon Hospital. The airport has reached out to other local frontline organisations to offer more stock of the FFP3 masks, recognising the ongoing need for key health workers across the UK to have access to specific personal protection equipment (PPE), and following confirmation from Public Health England (PHE) that key airport workers do not currently require these masks.
This donation of masks is in addition to a number of initiatives exercised by the airport and its partners, to support the local community through the global COVID-19 outbreak, including:
Heathrow is continuing to take all necessary steps to ensure the airport remains safely open during this pandemic, to help cater for essential repatriation and cargo flights, which are also carrying essential medical equipment and supplies for frontline teams across the UK battling against this pandemic. In the last week of March, the UK’s hub airport experienced an increase in cargo movements of 409% as more airlines and freighters use the available capacity to transport vital goods.
These steps include the consolidation of the operation, with the decision to move to Single Runway Operations as of Monday 6th April and continuing to review the need to temporarily close additional facilities. This simplifies the operation of the airport, in light of a 75% reduction in flights operating via Heathrow since the start of the outbreak. Social distancing is being encouraged across the remaining open areas of the airport, with new signage and floor decals installed to encourage passengers to adhere to guidance.
PHE guidance remains that the best way to stop the spread of coronavirus is by maintaining high levels of personal hygiene, as well as following social distancing guidelines and not touching your face. However, surgical face masks – extra stock of which is not currently required by the NHS – can provide some additional protection in stopping the spread of germs and understanding our colleague’s concerns, we have been distributing this specific type of face mask to those who would like to wear them. Clear protective screens, designed by a Heathrow colleague, have also been installed at Security and check-in to further protect airport workers during the outbreak.
Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said, “I am very proud of the incredible work that Heathrow colleagues are doing to support our country and our communities through the biggest crisis of modern times.
We will remain open as long as we can do so safely, to help repatriate Brits from all over the world, and bring in vital medical supplies to support the NHS.
“In addition, we are helping local communities with supplies to foodbanks, PPE for frontline medical staff, shelter for the homeless, support for primary schools closest to the airport and volunteers to support the most vulnerable.”
Heathrow Community Ranger, Lee said, “It was a great feeling to be able to put-down my usual tools and head to the cargo centre to pick up food to deliver to those who need it most.
These are the same communities that I help in, as a Heathrow Community Ranger, so it makes me feel really proud to be able to continue to help them at such a challenging time.
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