Govt Considering Quarantining Airport Arrivals… AFTER UK Restrictions Lifted

Passengers wear face masks as the push their luggage after arriving from a flight at Terminal 5 of London Heathrow Airport in west London on January 28, 2020. - Chinese President Xi Jinping said Tuesday the country was waging a serious fight against the "demon" coronavirus outbreak and pledged transparency …
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images

The government will introduce quarantining of airport arrivals to stop the spread of the Chinese coronavirus, but only after the pandemic is under control in the UK — meaning that while millions of Britons remain under lockdown in their homes, 15,000 people continue to arrive into the country every day.

Last week, reports revealed that the government is considering plans to introduce a 14-day ‘quarantine’ for all arrivals at Britain’s airports after it was revealed that despite the worldwide pandemic and UK lockdown, 100,000 people are still landing, unchecked, in the country every week.

Clarifying when these measures could be put in place, transport secretary Grant Shapps said it would not be until the current UK outbreak is under control. Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr on Sunday, Mr Shapps said: “I am actively looking at these issues, right now, so that when we have infection rates within the country under control, we’re not importing [fresh cases].”

More than 100 countries have introduced some level of foreign travel restrictions; however, the UK remains a “peculiar” outlier, according to leading Royal Society of Medicine epidemiologist Professor Gabriel Scally, for having none.

While the leaked plans from last week suggested a “stringent, Singapore-style approach at our ports”, the measures would only be a 14-day ‘stay at home’ order. That means that all visitors, residents, and citizens would be self-isolating at home without strict observation, leading to potential abuses. There was also no suggestion of travel bans from high-infection countries.

Singapore, in fact, has locked down all entry and transit through their country to short-term visitors. Those entering the country, including residents and citizens, are forced into 14 days of mandatory isolation in hotels, taken to their government-mandated accommodation in chartered coaches straight from the airport.

Similarly, in Australia, which has halted all entry apart to citizens, residents, and immediate family members, entrants are forced into two-week isolation in hotels, many of which are 5-star. Like Singapore, coronavirus quarantine guests are not allowed to leave their rooms.

Last month, the chief executive of London’s Heathrow Airport called for mass screening of arrivals passengers. While smaller airports like Bournemouth are trialling thermal temperature testing, others like Manchester, Stansted, and East Midlands will require all travellers to cover their mouths and noses from next week, either with masks or even just scarves.

A whistleblower from UK Border Force stationed at Heathrow Airport revealed that staff were concerned about arrivals from China as early as December 2019, but their managers ignored their reports. Last week, it was revealed that Border Force staff were told not to routinely wear masks, despite serious concerns about transmission. Two Border Force employees have since died of the virus.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has criticised the government for locking down its people but not the border.

“I’m quite certain that when we have an inquiry into this, in months or years to come, we will see that we allowed ourselves to import this disease and the British government did nothing,” said Mr Farage.

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