Immigration Group Calls for Age Cap on Foreign Arrivals to Protect NHS During Coronavirus Pandemic

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

Migration Watch UK has called for the government to impose age restrictions on foreign visitors to the United Kingdom during the Chinese coronavirus pandemic in order to reduce the strain on the National Health Service (NHS).

The migration-sceptic think tank recommended that foreign visitors over the age of 50 be barred from entering into the country until a COVID-19 vaccine is developed. The group pointed to the increased likelihood of older people requiring hospital services as the reason to impose the travel restriction.

“Any who fall ill with the coronavirus while they are here would be entitled to medical treatment, including hospital admission if necessary. The likelihood of needing hospital care increases considerably with age. For those aged less than 50 it is less than 5 per cent, for those in their fifties it doubles to 10 per cent, rising to nearly 25 per cent for those in their 70s,” Migration Watch UK said in a press release seen by Breitbart London.

“It surely makes sense not to admit visitors who, if they should fall ill with the coronavirus, would have a significant risk of needing hospital treatment,” the statement added.

In order to accomplish the age restriction on foreign travellers, the think tank called for the government to scrap the visa-free travel arrangement it currently has with around 50 countries, which are home to an estimated one billion people. These so-called “non-visa nationals” are currently permitted to enter and stay in the country for up to six months, receiving a visa upon arrival.

“Extending the requirement to apply in advance for a visitor visa to nationals of these countries would allow an age limit to be applied to all non-EEA visitors and would allow the tourist industry to begin its recovery while protecting the NHS from additional pressures,” the mass-migration sceptical think tank said.

The amount of “non-visa nationals” account for some 10 million visits to the UK per year. Travellers from the European Economic Area represent approximately 40 million visitor admissions per year. However, the government cannot impose travel restrictions on EU nationals during the Brexit transition period.

Although the number of people entering the country has declined with the collapse of the airline industry, some 15,000 people per day are arriving daily at the nation’s airports, with no mandatory health screenings or quarantine restrictions being carried out.

The think tank warned that coronavirus would likely spread throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America, suggesting the risk that travellers from these areas could bring the virus to the UK will only grow.

“Until there is a vaccination against the coronavirus, its presence transforms the context for border controls. The government must now work towards reviving the tourist industry while minimising any increased pressure on the NHS that might result,” said Migration Watch UK chairman Alp Mehmet.

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka

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