Priti Patel to unveil plan to quarantine all UK arrivals amid Conservative opposition
The Government will spell out its plans to fine people who do not comply with the 14-day self-isolation order.
Priti Patel will spell out the Government’s plans to quarantine all international arrivals later, in the teeth of opposition from some Conservative MPs.
The Government is expected to ask all arrivals, including Britons returning from overseas, to give an address where they will self-isolate for 14 days in a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus.
The Home Secretary is set to unveil the measures at the 5pm Downing Street press conference, with police expected be given the power to carry out spot checks at people’s homes and levy £1,000 fines for non-compliance.
But the proposals are being resisted by some Conservative MPs, as well as air travel operators.
Former Tory leader Sir ian Duncan Smith told The Telegraph: “The Government needs to rethink this quickly and not go into quarantine. If they got their testing level up, then anyone coming in would be tested and put on the tracking app.”
Fellow Conservative backbencher Steve Baker has meanwhile said: “I am at a loss to understand why they are talking about quarantine now.
“We should be taking every possible measure to open up society and the economy and get things going, otherwise the economic and clinical cost is going to be far too high.”
Airlines have already warned that the proposals will deliver a fresh blow to the travel industry, which is facing mass lay-offs amid a slump in journeys.
Defending the proposals on Friday morning, Cabinet minister Brandon Lewis said: “A few countries around the world are looking at this or have already introduced this.”
And the Northern Ireland Secretary told Sky News: “I think it is a simple approach. As our R number is down we want to ensure that we don’t get that second spike. That could be one of the most damaging things for our economy in the long-run.
“And I think it’s right we put the health of people here in the UK absolutely paramount.”
But, Professor Jobn Edmunds, who sits on the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage), on Friday appeared to cast doubt on whether the measures would have the intended effect.
He told LBC: “Quarantining people coming into the country really matters when, or if, we get our incidence very low.
“So if our incidence is much lower than other countries then it makes some sense to do that.
“As it is, our incidents are actually still quite high and so people coming into the country are unlikely to cause much of a problem at the moment.”