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not good enough Ryanair express 'regret' after 'petrified' autistic boy forced into Covid swab test at airport

Callum, from Harlow, Essex is seen in floods of tears as staff debate which nostril to swab

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 Callum was in floods of tears at having to take the test despite the fact he is exempt

Callum was in floods of tears at having to take the test despite the fact he is exempt

Callum was in floods of tears at having to take the test despite the fact he is exempt

Upsetting video footage has emerged of a “petrified” autistic boy being forced to take a Covid test at Valencia airport despite having proof that he was medically exempt. 

Ryanair has said it “regrets” the “stress” caused to Callum Hollingsworth (12) as he tried to board the flight to Britain.

Callum, from Harlow, Essex, who is wearing a Borussia Dortmund football top, is seen in floods of tears as staff debate which nostril to prod the swab up.

An employee, wearing a face covering, asks him “do you prefer this one”, as she points to his left side. He replies: “No, not when it goes all the way up.”

Callum then shouts “no” as he hides his head in his hands.

A man recording the video says: “A child with ADHD and autism refused a Ryanair flight even with a GP letter stating exemption. Not good enough for Ryanair.”

His family said Callum had been through a difficult time during the pandemic so they booked a getaway holiday to Valencia, which is his "happy place".

His mum Katy explained that she had told Callum - who also has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) - he would have to take one Covid test in order for them to board the flight to Spain, the BBC reports.

He agreed to it, but it took them two whole months to prepare him for the uncomfortable swab, while a previous one in January had been a "nightmare".

So when he was suddenly told he had to undergo yet another test in order to get home to the UK on August 3, Callum "lost it" and had a "meltdown", his mum said.

"They said if you don't have a Covid test you can't go home, so we had no choice," said Ms Hollingsworth.

"He started hitting the chair and then started hitting himself."

Ms Hollingsworth explained how she had tried to tell Ryanair staff that her son was exempt, and had showed them proof.

But Ryanair staff refused to recognise the exemption, which Ms Hollingsworth had applied for in January because of how much her son struggled with tests.

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"The staff were just ignoring us,” she added. “All they kept saying was 'it's not our problem’.”

She said her husband was forced to hold down her son while two employees tested him.

She added: “Callum tried to be brave but he was petrified. The fact that he didn't need this one made it even worse because we'd told him the previous one was going to be his one and only test.”

A Ryanair spokesman said they regretted to hear of the stress caused to Ms Hollingsworth and her family.

“Ryanair fully complies with EU & Govt travel restrictions, which are constantly changing in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic,” a spokesperson said.

“We continue to make improvements and implement procedures to ensure the health and safety of our passengers and our crew is prioritised while complying with each country's government guidelines at all times.”

Spain's government requires arrivals from "risk countries", which includes the UK, to present a recent negative Covid-19 test result or evidence of being fully vaccinated, according to its website.

Children under 12 years are exempt from these requirements, per the UK government's travel advice.

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