A man has been hurriedly removed from a Ryanair flight by officials dressed in hazmat suits shortly before it took off for Italy, after it emerged he had tested positive for Covid-19.

The incident took place on a flight from London Stansted to Pisa on Wednesday, after the man received a text message informing him that he had tested positive for the virus when he was seated on the plane.

The flight later departed for its destination over an hour behind schedule, after the area where the man had been seated was disinfected.

In a statement, Ryanair said: “The passenger and his travel companion were immediately offloaded and taken to a Stansted Airport isolation area where they were assisted by local public health authorities.”

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The airline said there was “little if any risk of Covid-19 transmission to other passengers or crew members” as everyone on the plane was wearing a face mask at all times.

It said that the “passenger and his companion had complied fully with Ryanair health regulations, they were both wearing masks at all times at Stansted Airport and for the very short period (less than 10 minutes) they were seated on the aircraft prior to departure.”

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“The aircraft departed for Pisa following a delay of one hour and 20 minutes to allow for the empty seats and overhead cabin bins to be disinfected to comply with all UK health authority guidance. Ryanair apologises to all passengers for this short delay.”

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