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Tue, 20 October 2020

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Boris Johnson warns there are ‘signs of a second coronavirus wave’ in Europe as he defends Spain quarantine rules

Boris Johnson warns there are ‘signs of a second coronavirus wave’ in Europe as he defends Spain quarantine rules

Boris Johnson has urged Brits to heed the advice on self-isolating after returning from Spain (Sky News)

3 min read

Boris Johnson has claimed there are signs Europe is facing a “second wave” of coronavirus as he defended the decision to quarantine Brits arriving back from Spain.

The Government has faced criticism for making everyone who comes back from the country, even those returning from areas with lower rates of Covid-19 than the UK, self-isolate for 14 days upon their return after a spate of infections.

But the Prime Minister said: "What we have to do is take swift and decisive action where we think that the risks are starting to bubble up again.

"Let's be absolutely clear about what's happening in Europe, amongst some of our European friends, I'm afraid you are starting to see in some places the signs of a second wave of the pandemic.”

It comes amid suggestions other countries on the continent, such as France and Greece, could also have similar restrictions placed upon them – a move that would throw the summer holiday plans of many tourists into disarray.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also advised people to think carefully about booking foreign travel, warning that guidelines could change at extremely short notice. 

She told a coronavirus press briefing on Tuesday: "If you're asking me, I wouldn’t be booking a foreign holiday right now", adding that while people may find the advice frustrating, "unfortunately that is the nature of what we are delaing with right now".

Asked about reports the two-week quarantine period could be reduced, Mr Johnson said: "We are always looking at ways in which we can mitigate the impact of the quarantine, try to help people, try to make sure that the science is working to help travellers and holidaymakers.

"At the moment you have got to stick with the guidance that we are giving, we have given the guidance now about Spain and about some other places around the world.

"I'm afraid if we do see signs of a second wave in other countries it is really our job, our duty, to act swiftly and decisively to [stop] travellers coming back from those places seeding the disease here in the UK.”

The PM went on to suggest it was up to individuals to decide whether they wanted to take the chance of going abroad in the present circumstances, after Downing Street said “no travel is risk-free” during the pandemic.

"These are decisions for families, for individuals, about where they want to go," he said.

But Mr Johnson pressed home the need for those who are asked to self-isolate to do so, saying: “It's vital that when people are coming back from abroad, if they are coming back from a place where I'm afraid there is another outbreak, they must go into quarantine.

"That's why we have taken the action that we have and we will continue, throughout the summer, to take such action where it is necessary.”

And he said the UK had to be "vigilant" regarding the threat of a second wave, explaining: "The most important thing is for everybody in all communities to heed the advice, to follow the advice, not to be spreading it accidentally and get it right down, and we'll be able to ease the restrictions across the country.

"But clearly we now face, I'm afraid, the threat of a second wave in other parts of Europe and we just have to be vigilant and we have to be very mindful."

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