Passengers arriving at Heathrow Airport are enduring waits at immigration desks of up to seven hours, the UK press reports.

Officials are checking not just passports but coronavirus test records and other documentation, a process they say should take just two minutes if all papers are in order, but up to 40 minutes for each passenger when they are not.

The immigration control system is disastrous at the best of times, but the new workload, plus the fact that e-gates are closed, has resulted in massive queues.

Public attention was focussed on the issue on Thursday when a passenger who had been standing in a queue for seven hours collapsed and needed medical help after being told she needed to spend 10 days in a designated hotel at a cost of more than 2,000 euros.

The UK government’s response has been to say that travellers should fly for only essential reasons.

The Times editorialised on Saturday to say that to stand in a queue for six hours is maddening, but for the elderly, disabled, children and pregnant women it is intolerable.

“There must be more space and more staff,” The Thunderer said. “If travel is ever to resume and holidays become possible both passengers and the Home Office must properly prepare now.”

In the meantime, for any Monaco resident considering a trip to the UK, until other routes and carriers open up again, British Airways and Heathrow are two experiences best avoided.

PHOTO: A woman lies unconscious after waiting seven hours at passport control