COVID-19: 1.5 million people flew to UK in first four months of 2021 – when borders were said to be severely restricted

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COVID-19: 1.5 million people flew to UK in first four months of 2021 – when borders were said to be severely restricted


More than 1.5 million people flew to the UK between January and April as the UK’s borders were believed to be severely restricted, new figures show.

Home Office data shows that around two-thirds of arrivals in 2021 were non-UK nationals.

And more than 12 million people have made it to the UK since the lockdown began in March 2020, new statistics show, with 1.59 million entries into the country in the first four months of this year.

According to Labor, the figures show that the government’s border policy is “weak and dangerous”.

Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said: “The Conservatives’ border protections against COVID are weak and dangerous, endangering our hopes for freedom.

“Time and time again the UK government has promised tough border measures, but the truth is now out – millions of people have flown into the UK with only a small percentage in hotel quarantine.

“It is more than reckless that so many people arrived during the third lockdown when international travel was supposed to be strictly limited. No wonder we’ve had so many variant epidemics, with the Conservative chaos over border protections. “

Home Office figures show that between the time the third lockdown began on January 6 and the end of April, 521,700 UK nationals entered the country and 1,070,200 non-UK nationals arrived.

During this period, travel was generally prohibited for the British for all reasons except essential reasons including work, family problems, illness, etc.

It is only since May 17 that travel for holidays is allowed, and even then only to a handful of countries on the green list.

The quarantine system that barred non-UK or Irish residents from entering Red List countries began on February 15, but as the graph shows it appears to have little impact on the numbers arriving in the UK. United.

The director-general of border forces, appearing alongside Priti Patel at a hearing of the special home affairs committee in February, said that at the time around 1% of people entering the country were in quarantine.

The government’s border policies have been widely criticized amid fears that variants could enter the country bypassing any quarantine system in place.

The government’s own list of variants of concern or under investigation lists eight out of 14 as originating from abroad.

A Home Office spokesperson told Sky News: “Protecting public health is our priority and as we reopen safe international travel, we will maintain 100% health checks at the border to protect the general public and the deployment of our vaccines.

“We have some of the toughest border measures in the world, banning travel from Red List countries, implementing passenger tracking forms for all arrivals, and implementing a strict three-test regime for passengers. arrivals.

“The Border Force checks every passenger who arrives at the border to ensure they have complied with sanitary measures and we have overseen a mandatory 10-day quarantine for those arriving from amber countries to their homes and to a managed facility. for those from Red List countries. ”

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