With the continuing spread of norovirus, passengers who opt not to get vaccinated must get into and out of planes and trains in order to be protected from the highly contagious bug, NHS England has announced.
Anyone who opts not to get the vaccine must prove they have a full week’s worth of new breath that they need to breath into to provide the required 65 million “passive viral pneumonias” – or 65 million poplets – before they can get inside a train or plane.
Passengers who don’t cough or sneeze into their mouths or into their elbow or knees will still require a full flush of air.
The announcement comes as NHS England said that norovirus was still a major threat to the health of people and that it still accounted for 84,000 hospital attendances each week across England.
There were 237 norovirus cases at the A&E department at the Ninewells hospital in Dundee in 24 hours at the end of August, up from 170 the previous Friday. In Norfolk, an outbreak has swept the Royal Norwich hospital with 16 patients receiving treatment at the A&E department in the last three days.
Among other hospitals with outbreaks are Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge, Belmarsh in London, Epsom and St Helier in Surrey, Kingston Hospitals in south-west London, Southend University hospital in Essex, St George’s in south-west London, Walsall Manor hospital, Royal Brompton in London, and the Arrowe Park district health authority NHS trust in Herefordshire.
NHS England said: “Health and safety laws mean that passengers who haven’t been vaccinated against norovirus can’t board a flight or train, or even park their car. Passengers who haven’t been vaccinated, so that they don’t give the virus to people they meet on a plane or train, must get passive viral pneumonias in order to prove they’ve had a full week’s worth of new breath to be able to get on the same flights or trains without passing it on.
“Passengers do not need to move bodies to catch norovirus. Norovirus can be spread through touching someone who is already sick, even if it’s during normal social activity.”
• The headline on this article was amended on 22 September 2018. The picture caption and the accompanying article had previously incorrectly described the passenger in the photo as a traveller.