Why is it that you can’t travel, let’s say, for 30 minutes to see a relative or even visit a loved one at hospital whose dying but you can get on a plane, travel to a number of places only to return and just carry on as if nothing happened?
Either you take a stand here or you are just part of the problem, reminds of those who are willing to sacrifice everything at the altar of the NHS no matter what scandals unfold. Wouldn’t surprise me if they refused to take action due to political correctness, very similar to Italy.
As it states in the article from the Times below, “The scientists said that the only way to ‘get close’ to stopping them was either by closing the borders completely or introducing mandatory quarantine measures for everyone entering Britain”.
Tired of incompetence and losing to the virus? I am, you better be too. And we may see a move be made by Patel/Hancock.
Government scientists had warned that only mandatory hotel quarantine for all travellers would prevent new coronavirus strains from arriving in the country before it emerged that the South African variant was spreading in Britain.
Boris Johnson announced limited hotel quarantine measures last week for travellers from 30 “high-risk” countries in an attempt to stop them from spreading potentially “vaccine-busting” new strains.
The Times can disclose, however, that Downing Street had been advised by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) a week earlier that “geographically targeted travel bans” would not be enough to stop the arrival of new strains.
The scientists said that the only way to “get close” to stopping them was either by closing the borders completely or introducing mandatory quarantine measures for everyone entering Britain.
Michelle Donelan, the universities minister, rejected suggestions that the government should have moved to close the borders to stop new variants entering Britain. “The Sage advice actually said that it would probably be ineffective to close the borders, which was the same advice that we got at the time from the World Health Organisation,” she told Sky News.
“We can obviously look back in hindsight with the information now but we didn’t have that information at the time. We always based our decisions on the best scientific and medical advice that we could get in this country.”
She would also not be drawn on when mandatory hotel quarantine would be introduced. She told Times Radio that Priti Patel, the home secretary, would confirm details of the policy next week. “The government is working to achieve this policy and implement it as quickly as possible,” Ms Donelan said.
Patel and Matt Hancock, the health secretary, both argued for the closure of the borders last week but were overruled by Johnson. The government has yet to set out a time frame for the introduction of targeted quarantine arrangements. At least 11 cases of the South African variant of coronavirus have been detected in Britain that are not linked to international travel, and public health officials believe that there are hundreds more around the country.
Ministers have ordered door-to-door testing for about 80,000 people in eight postcodes in London, parts of Hertfordshire and Surrey, and Walsall, Maidstone and Southport. Mobile units have been sent out and everyone above 16 is being encouraged to get a test.
Hancock said last night that Britain needed to “come down hard” on the South African variant amid concerns that existing vaccines may be less effective against it. He said that people in areas where the virus has been found must take “extra-special precautions”.
Professor Sir Mark Walport, former chief scientific adviser to the government, told Times Radio: “I’m concerned about the South African variant — it is more transmissible and the evidence is that the vaccine protects against it slightly less well — but the answer is that the current vaccine still work pretty well against this variant.”
He added: “There is the scientific perfect answer, and then there’s the answer that policymakers will come to, which is sort of practical and achievable. The simple answer is, if you want to stop new variants coming to the country then you have to do everything you can to reduce travellers and isolate them as they come across the border. The challenge for a country like the UK, which is a major global hub where for our resilience we depend on supplies from all over the world, is whether it’s practical to actually achieve that.”
Nick Thomas-Symonds, the shadow home secretary, blamed the decision to open the borders on “ineptitude” from ministers.
Sage met on January 21 and discussed how to reduce the importation of mutant strains of coronavirus. Minutes from the meeting state: “The emergence of new variants of concern around the world presents a rationale for attempting to reduce importation of even small numbers of infectious cases.
“This rationale will strengthen if new variants emerge that are capable of immune escape. Measures would be likely to delay importation of these variants rather than prevent them altogether.”
The scientists state that stopping the arrival of new variants will be “most important” when the prevalence of the virus is low in Britain.
“No intervention, other than a complete, pre-emptive closure of borders, or the mandatory quarantine of all visitors upon arrival in designated facilities, irrespective of testing history, can get close to fully preventing the importation of new cases or new variants,” the minutes say. “Reactive, geographically targeted travel bans cannot be relied upon to stop importation of new variants due to the lag between the emergence and identification of variants of concern, as well as the potential for indirect travel via a third country.”
Hancock has previously said that other countries may fail to spot new variants. Patel argued last week for closure of the borders while preparations were made for the quarantining of all travellers. Instead Johnson announced that hotel quarantine would be limited to 30 high-risk countries amid warnings by the travel industry that a blanket approach would be “catastrophic”.
Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, and Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, have been among those seeking an approach based on the countries that pose the biggest risk. There were concerns that if tougher border restrictions were put in place it would be very difficult to lift them.
Johnson ordered his MPs yesterday to abstain on a symbolic Labour motion calling for compulsory hotel quarantine for all new arrivals. Thomas-Symonds said before the debate: “The British people demand we protect our borders — we must act now.”
A source close to Hancock said: “Matt fully backs the approach that has been agreed.”