Dr Hilary slams Michael O'Leary's claims that Ryanair passengers are safe from coronavirus

THE arguments for safe flying during the coronavirus pandemic made by the boss of Ryanair have been torn apart by Dr Hilary Jones.

The doctor appeared on Good Morning Britain to criticise the statements made by Michael O'Leary earlier in the programme, which included social distancing, the use of masks and air filters.

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Mr O'Leary claimed that social distancing is not needed on planes because the seat in front acts as "a blockage" and that face masks were mandatory on all flights.

He has also pointed out that the Ryanair planes have all been fitted withhospital grade HEPA filters, to help to curb the spread of the virus.

Dr Hilary said in response: "I listened to that interview and I thought of so many loopholes in what Michael O'Leary was saying.

"The HEPA filters on aircraft do not filter out the virus – the virus is too small, people aren't socially distancing, you can see they're not, and they're taking their masks off to have a drink of coffee or tea.

"He didn't mention toilets at all and we know that the virus can be transmitted not just through respiratory means but also through the oral fecal route and he didn't mention hands touching aircraft seats and armrests."

Earlier on in the programme, when Mr O'Leary was talking about mandatory face masks, host Susanna Reid questioned how that would be enforced on in the air especially if Ryanair is still serving food and drinks onboard.

Mr O'Leary said passengers will have to use "common sense" and are allowed to "lower their face mask" to take a drink.

Susanna raised the issue that if someone coughed or sneezed while they were taking a drink or a bite of food with their face masks lowered then wearing them is "pointless".

Mr O'Leary disagreed and said:"Well it's not. You are wearing the face mask when you are boarding the aircraft, while at the boarding gate, when you are mixing with other passengers.

"While you are sitting in an aircraft seat… there are studies that show that the seat, the seat in front of you, acts as a blockage."

Mr O'Leary added: "If we have 100 per cent of people wearing face masks, our cabin crew are wearing face masks – those are measures that are recommended both by the WHO and ECDC to allow people to travel safely on aircrafts."

A clip from inside a Ryanair flight was played on Good Morning Britain and showed passengers standing shoulder-to-shoulder on the crowded aircraft.

Susanna said they were "on top of each other".

Mr O'Leary hit back: "They are not on top of each other they are sitting on the aircraft wearing face masks."

He added: "We need to get back to some degree of normality.

"We will not allow you to board unless you are wearing a face mask."

The Ryanair boss has been critical of the UK government's 14-day quarantine rules.

He said on Sky News this morning: "I think it's irritating that the government is causing a huge amount of this damage with its badly thought out quarantine measures – which are not a quarantine.

"By filling in forms at airport which are then thrown in the bin and not followed up but they are deterring visitors who are coming in June and July and August.

"These badly thought out and badly implemented policies, which have no effect on Covid, are doing untold damage to British tourism, British jobs and the wider British economy.

"We need to get this stupid quarantine lifted."

The government is set to outline later this week which countries will be on the safe list – meaning people won't have to stay home for 14 days when they arrive in the UK.

The air bridges – also known as travel corridors – will be set up with other countries with lower levels of infection.

The rules will apply to anyone coming in via plane, rail or boat.




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