The United Kingdom is practically alone in not limiting or monitoring international arrivals during the coronavirus pandemic but when challenged on this oversight the Home Secretary abrogated her own responsibility, insisting the decision had instead been taken by the scientists, apparently absolving the government from having to defend its record.
Speaking on British television Wednesday morning, Home Secretary Priti Patel was asked by Good Morning Britain host Lorraine Kelly about the situation at the nation’s unguarded borders, which have frequently compared unfavourably of late to the domestic lockdown where resident Britons have been placed under police-enforced curfew.
Kelly told the minister: “you say social distancing is here to say, but we’ve got this ludicrous situation in our airports right now which seems utterly bizarre, mind-boggling… there’s no checks, no tests, the safety of airport workers is paramount. People could be bringing coronavirus in from countries like America, Asia, parts of Africa, and we’re not testing them and we don’t seem to be doing anything about this. It seems utterly bizarre.”
Just 273 out of 18.1m People Entering UK Before Lockdown Were Quarantined https://t.co/6WfwRkGo4j
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 5, 2020
Giving the cabinet’s standard reply, that the democratically elected government was no longer making decisions on how to run the country, but apparently wholly outsourcing that to appointed scientists, Mrs Patel attempted to shrug off any responsibility for having to answer the question. The Home Secretary said: “you mentioned temperature checks, and testing and things of that nature. We are guided by the science, and the science has told us that would not work.”
Patel also attempted to claim the government had taken proactive in protecting the government from incoming travellers in the early days of the outbreak. The Home Secretary said: “…that’s not fully accurate, Lorraine. “There is a lot of things that have taken place over recent months.
“You’ve got to remember, at the beginning of the year when coronavirus became more prevalent around the world… we were asking people to self-isolate in January, February, and March, people that were coming into the UK.”
While it is technically true that the UK government ordered a number of travellers arriving into the United Kingdom into quarantine, and who received a vast amount of press attention at the time, it was subsequently revealed the actual volume of people involved was extremely small. In fact, as Breitbart London reported last week, in the three months running up to the nationwide lockdown being announced, of the known 18.1 million people who arrived at British shores, just 273 were formally quarantined, meaning 99.998% were not.
The Home Secretary also defended her record by claiming arrival numbers were down by 99% compared to this time last year. This again is true, but no thanks to the British government, which has done nothing to constrict new arrivals, but rather is down to other countries closing their own borders. Remarking amazement at the British government’s lax attitude to border control in a time of pandemic, epidemiologist Professor Gabriel Scally said in April: “The UK is an outlier… It is very hard to understand why it persists in having this open borders policy. It is most peculiar.”
Mrs Patel said border checks and quarantines for arrivals were on their way, and she had been working on such proposals in her department. Why controlling the United Kingdom’s borders in the future was supported by “the science” and not doing so during the early height of the pandemic was not, is unclear.
Coronavirus: International Flights Continue to Bring 100,000 Unchecked Travellers a Week to Britain https://t.co/k1QQsDfzHy
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 17, 2020