Farage Criticises Govt for Being ‘All over the Place’ on Quarantine as It Considers Exemptions

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

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has criticised the government for its inconsistent position on quarantining during the coronavirus pandemic, saying he doubts any new arrivals at British airports will be expected to self-isolate.

Speaking on his LBC radio show on Monday night, Mr Farage said that there has been “absolute chaos” over the government’s quarantine rules, with “total, utter confusion over what the government’s quarantine policy is”.

Referencing reports that the government may be considering exemptions for some visitors from a planned 14-day isolation order, expected to come into force in June, the Brexit campaigner said: “Boris told us just over a week ago that there was going to be a big change and the people that did fly into the country would be quarantined. Things today looking somewhat different on that score.”

Mr Farage has consistently criticised the Johnson administration’s decision to lock down the citizens of the United Kingdom in their own homes while allowing Britain’s external borders to remain open, with arrivals entering without any coronavirus testing.

Reporting from April revealed that even at some of the lowest arrival rates of travel, 15,000 travellers were still entering the UK daily at the country’s airports. The Home Office had confirmed that it had quarantined just 273 people out of the 18.1 million arrivals to the UK in the three months prior to March’s lockdown.

Maintaining that he thought the UK should be quarantining all arrivals without exemption, Mr Farage said: “I still think we should [quarantine] if we’re serious about avoiding a second wave. If we had done it at the beginning, we would have had a mere fraction of the cases and other deaths we’ve seen in this country. That has been my view, I’ve held it now for about 12 weeks, and I have not changed it one bit.”

Transport Select Committee Chairman Hugh Merriman asked on Monday if “air bridges” to let people in from countries with a low infection rate could be used to exempt travellers from the two-week quarantine, with Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, saying that the final details will be confirmed next month.

Mr Shapps had said: “We should indeed consider further improvements, for example, things like air bridges enabling people from other countries who have themselves achieved lower levels of coronavirus infection to come to the country.”

“We now have a proposal from Boris Johnson to introduce quarantine, but it would seem not only are we not going to get that now for a full month after he told us it was coming, but that it’s going be watered down so much that it might actually be meaningless,” Mr Farage remarked.

Given that the UK still has the second-highest death rate in the world for the Chinese coronavirus, Mr Farage pointed out: “If we’re going to give exemptions for countries with a relatively low R-rate, or countries with an R-rate lower than ours, we will be giving exemptions to most of the world.

“I’m actually not sure this quarantine policy will ever take place.”

The Home Office admitted this week that more than 1,800 private aeroplanes have landed in the UK during the lockdown, with no requirements for those passengers to face coronavirus screening or quarantine.

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