Trucker's 72-hour nightmare trapped in his own cab after Warrington covid test

A trucker who tested positive for coronavirus at a check in Warrington ended up trapped in his lorry cab for three days because he couldn’t find anywhere that would let him lay over. John Hannah took the test at Burtonwood services and found he had the virus, and needed to self-isolate for 10 days. But he said when he asked the army test staff what he should do, being far away from his home in Northern Ireland and having nowhere to stay, they couldn’t help him.

Without access to toilet facilities, and unable to bunk down anywhere because he had the virus, John said he spent the next few days parking up in rat-infested alleyways. In the end, his plight came to the attention of the Northern Irish Assembly, which got in touch with the office of the Liverpool mayor to try to sort the situation out, the Liverpool Echo reports. John, 42, had just arrived back in the UK after delivering chicken fat to a factory in France when he went to Burtonwood and had the covid test.

He said: “When I tested positive at Burtonwood, I asked the army guys who were there ‘what happens now?’ They put their hands up and said, ‘we don’t know’.” It was the start of a nightmare three days in which dad-of-three John, 42, had to park up at a variety of locations with no toilet facilities while he tried to find somewhere to spend his period of self-isolation. They included a garbage-strewn back street where “rats as big as cats” were running up the wheels of his truck and gnawing at the wiring.

Lorry driver John Hanna was trapped in his wagon for three days after testing positive for covid in Warrington

At first John tried a parking area in Bootle he knew about, but he was not allowed to stay by the firm because of his condition and the risk to staff.

Next stop was Brunswick Place off Regent Road, Liverpool, an industrial area strewn with flytipped rubbish and vermin. John said: “I was sitting in the cab there for 14 to 15 hours. I had nowhere else to go.

The rats were as big as cats. They were climbing up the wheels of the lorry, getting into the chassis and eating the wiring. “I was self-isolating in a lorry with no toilets and no washing facilities.

I could go outside to take a pee but for anything else I just had to hold on.” Next up was another 16 hours spent at a nearby lorry park used by an Irish Sea freight ferry service. After John posted about his predicament on social media, offers of help came flooding in and kind-hearted people began bringing him food supplies.

His case even escalated to his local member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, who got in touch with the Liverpool Mayor’s Office and local MPs to try and help John out of his predicament. Eventually he was directed to return to Burtonwood services by the Road Haulage Association, where he spent another five hours. After more frantic efforts on his behalf, accommodation was finally found for him last night (Thursday).

A crew from North West Ambulance Service collected John from the services car park and took him to the self-catering Dream Apartments in Tithebarn Street in the city centre, to continue his period of self-isolation. Although ill with Covid symptoms, John said he was managing with the help of antibiotics which his doctor had prescribed him.

Trucker's 72-hour nightmare trapped in his own cab after Warrington covid testOne of the grim scenes John Hanna was confronted with during his self-isolation in his lorry

He said: “It’s been a nightmare. But I’m glad if it means other drivers will not have to go through what I went through, and they’ll test everybody before they leave Northern Ireland.

“How can someone be expected to sit in their cab for 10 days if they have to self-isolate, with no washing or toilet facilities? “The social media [response] blew my mind. It really is humbling and my faith in humanity has been restored.”

When the all-clear is hopefully given next week, John is looking forward to returning to his family in the village of Waringstown, Co Armagh – wife Audreyann, 42, and three children Benjamin, 20, Yvonne, 17, and Jason, six.

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