Fury after 180 Romanian crop-pickers who flew into the UK were not tested for coronavirus

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A DECISION to let East European fruit-pickers fly to Britain with no Covid-19 tests has sparked fury.

A jet carrying 180 Romanian workers has landed at Stansted as the pandemic hit its peak — with up to six more flights on the way.

Up to 180 Romanian crop-pickers landed in the UK without being tested for coronavirus
Up to six more flights are on the way as ministers believe it is ‘madness’ considering Romania’ is in the coronavirus red zone

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps insists the migrant workers are “critically important” to prevent crops being left to rot in fields.

But furious colleagues claim it is “madness” and a high-risk gamble amid fears some may have come from Romania’s coronavirus red zone. There have been 8,418 confirmed cases of the virus there and 421 deaths.

Some argue there are also an extra 1.4 million Brits out of work in the crisis who could do the jobs. One colleague accused Mr Shapps of being “gung-ho” about letting the flights land.

A Cabinet source said: “Why, when our country is in lockdown, are we letting in tens of thousands of people a day? We are the only ones in Europe, it’s madness.”

Ex-Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said: “The Government has done well getting the pandemic under control. But it’s hard to understand the decision to allow thousands of people to walk through ports and airports without testing. This cannot be right.”

The pickers had masks and gloves coming out of the airport and were social distancing.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps claims the migrant workers are ‘critically important’ to prevent produce being dumped
The Romanian workers arriving at Stansted were wearing gloves and masks

 

They were taken by buses to a 7,000-hectare super- farm in East Anglia to start the picking season tomorrow. The migrants can enter Britain under freedom of movement laws, which stay in place until the EU transition ends on December 31.

UK farms rely on a “land army” of 90,000 pickers from Eastern Europe.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs appealed for home help but only 4,000 made themselves available.

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