Holidaymakers have been left furious after facing "brutal" three-hour queues at Heathrow Airport, blaming the strict Covid checks for the chaos at Terminals 2 and 5 yesterday.

Photos have emerged which show the long lines as passengers arrived back in the UK.

This comes after Border Force staff were reportedly told that they no longer need to carry out Covid checks for those arriving from countries on the green and amber lists.

This was in order to reduce queues – but angry passengers still vented their frustration at having to stand in the long queues, which were described as "brutal" on social media.

One passenger said “only 5-6 counters out of 32 were operational”, while others wanted bosses to “get more staff on desk”.

One person wrote: "I knew Heathrow Airport wait was going to be bad, but this is brutal.

"Families with young kids forced to queue for two, three hours, standing, no food or water beyond what you've brought off the plane.

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"Yes, it's Border Force setting the rules but it's Heathrow controlling conditions."

Another said: "We just waited three hours to get through Border Control – it's not to make families with young children queue like this. Get more staff on desk."

In response, Heathrow Airport tweeted: "Waiting times at the border have on occasion been unacceptable and we have called on the UK Government to address the problem as a matter of urgency."

"Immigration desks/E-gates can only be operated by UK GOV officials – not airport staff," the airport added.

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As of today, seven more countries have been added to the UK's green list, which include Canada, Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Switzerland and the Azores.

And a report was leaked last month which stated officials had been told they no longer had to "routinely" check passengers who were returning to the UK from countries on the green or amber list.

The "brutal" queues come after travellers were forced to wait in line for hours last month, also at Heathrow Airport.

The delays were blamed on problems with the e-gates and illness among Border Force staff.

Responding to the leaked report, a Government spokesperson said carriers were checking all necessary requirements including forms and test bookings.

They said: "This legal requirement on carriers is underpinned by a robust compliance regime, which is overseen by regulators.

"Compliance with these rules is essential in order to protect the population from new variants of Covid-19, and so there will be tough fines for those who do not follow the rules."

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