HEATHROW Airport is to be repurposed as a “coronavirus hub” with cargo flights increasing medical supply deliveries.
The airport has already seen a huge drop in commercial flights as airlines ground their fleet due to travel bans around the world.
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Supplies will include medicines, vaccines and respirators with half of the UK’s products coming through the airport, according to the Mail Online.
Cargo shipments are expected to increase by 53 per cent with more airlines using the free airport runways transport the necessary goods.
Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye, said it was the “first time in a decade” that the airport had additional capacity, and would use it to “help push vital supplies across the globe to help support frontline teams in the battle against this pandemic”.
He added: “As the UK’s biggest port, we will temporarily increase the number of dedicated cargo flights.
“These will bring in vital supplies of food and medical equipment to help Britain weather this storm.”
Airlines in the UK are being forced to suspend flights due to the travel ban, with easyJet and Ryanair grounding their entire fleet.
Other airlines such as British Airways and Jet2 have cancelled the majority of their flights, running repatriation flights to stranded travellers abroad.
Fears that UK airports could close within weeks were expressed by trade body Airport Operators Association (AOA), who urge the government “step in” to help.
It was announced earlier today that the government agreed a deal to buy 17.5 million coronavirus testing kits, along with antibody testing kits that will be able to identify those who have had the virus and recovered.
These handy tests will only take 15 minutes and help with the process of contact tracing, which can aid help officials to find contagion hotspot.
A medical fetish company donated its entire stock of disposable scrubs to the NHS, while hospitals said running out of oxygen is likely to happen in “hours, not days”.
Healthcare companies supplying oxygen to the NHS have been told to “quadruple supplies”, and military drivers will be called in to ferry emergency supplies around the country.
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Military planes are currently on standby to rescue Brits who are still stuck abroad.
Deploying RAF Voyagers to bring home UK nationals still overseas is now being discussed at the top of government.
Tourists are stuck on holidays in New Zealand, India and Peru and have been desperately calling for help from the UK.
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