COVID-19: Mandatory hotel quarantine for UK nationals returning from ‘red list’ countries | Political news

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British nationals and returning residents of 30 ‘red list’ countries will be quarantined in government-provided accommodation – such as hotels – for 10 days, Boris Johnson told MPs.

PM said new measures aim to prevent a new mutant COVID strains reaching the UK.

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Mr Johnson reiterated that as part of England’s national lockdown it is currently ‘illegal to leave home to travel abroad for leisure’.

He said the government would “enforce this at ports and airports by asking people why they are leaving and ordering them to return home if they have no valid reason to travel.”

And, announcing the new quarantine requirements at hotels, Mr Johnson told MPs the government has already banned travel from countries “where there is a risk of known variants, including South Africa, Portugal and the countries of South America ”.

‘In order to reduce the risk posed by UK nationals and returning residents from these countries, I can announce that we will require all arrivals who cannot be refused entry to self-isolate in government provided accommodation , like hotels, for 10 days without exception, ”he added.

“They will be met at the airport and transported directly to quarantine. ”

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A public holiday is not a valid reason to travel

Mr Johnson said the Department of Health and Welfare was working to set up quarantine facilities “as quickly as possible”.

The 30 countries on the “red list” include all of South America, as well as much of southern Africa and Portugal.

Interior Minister Priti Patel, outlining the new measures in the House of Commons, later told MPs “there are still too many people entering and leaving our country every day”.

She said the additional action was aimed at reducing “the flow of passengers so that only a small number of people for whom it is absolutely essential to travel do so and therefore reduce the risk to our leading vaccination program.”

Ms Patel also reinforced the message that “going on vacation is not a valid reason” for ignoring the current stay-at-home order.

“We are going to introduce a new requirement so that people wishing to travel must first make a statement explaining why they have to travel,” she told MPs.

“This reason for travel will be verified by carriers prior to departure and this approach effectively reflects the arrival controls that are already in place with the passenger tracking form. ”

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“Why does the UK have the highest number of deaths? “

It is understood that travelers from countries on the “red list” will have to pay to isolate themselves in a monitored hotel, with Corona virus tests carried out during their stay.

The move has been widely anticipated in recent weeks, with critics arguing the government should have taken tougher action sooner.

They cited the examples of Australia and New Zealand, which have had mandatory quarantines since the early weeks of the pandemic and have largely eliminated transmission of the virus within their borders.

In recent days, there have been reports of divergent views within the government on the scope of mandatory quarantine.

It was suggested that some ministers argued that mandatory quarantine should apply to arrivals for all countries, while others advocated targeting certain nations considered to be at higher risk.

Labor shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said the hotel’s quarantine plans were “too limited”.

“Mutations in the virus may undermine the effectiveness of vaccines, threatening life and hope,” he told lawmakers.

“We cannot know where these changes will emerge from and the truth is the government is behind the curve again.

“Labor is calling for a full quarantine of hotels. Today’s announcement is too limited, it leaves huge gaps in our defenses against emerging strains.

“We know that the strains that have emerged in South Africa and Brazil have already reached these shores. No wonder the controls were so lax. ”

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SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford told Mr Johnson earlier that ‘the Scottish and Welsh governments want to go further on quarantine measures than his UK government is proposing’.

He called on the Prime Minister to “put an end to his half measures” and to introduce “a stricter application of international travel”.

A Welsh government spokesperson said: “We have agreed on the need for a joint approach between the four nations of the UK and the Republic of Ireland to strengthen border sanitary measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“However, we do not believe that the approach defined by the UK government goes far enough. Further discussions on the details of the proposals will take place as soon as possible. ”

The complete list of countries on the “red list” is:

Angola, Argentina, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Swaziland, French Guiana, Guyana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Seychelles, South Africa, Suriname, Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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