Government Could Add More Countries To The New Quarantine List Today, Michael Gove Says
Michael Gove has said that the government could today expand the list of countries that are subject to strict new quarantine rules.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday announced that travelers returning to the UK from 22 high-risk countries would be forced to quarantine “without exception”.
Addressing MPs, Johnsons said that travelers entering the UK from the listed countries would be met at airports and taken to facilities like hotels where they would have to self-isolate for 10 days.
The government has been forced to significantly tighten Britain’s borders after the discovery of new variants of the coronavirus in Brazil and South Africa. Both countries are on the government’s list, as well as Portugal, Peru, and Argentina.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that new variants of the virus could pose a threat to the UK's vaccine rollout if they are resistent to the jabs that have been developed, though no such variant has been discovered up to now.
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Gove this morning told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the list of countries subject to strict new travel restrictions could be expanded later today.
“We will be reviewing today how extensive that list of countries needs to be and we will be guided by advice from our scientific advisors and as I say, we will be reporting back later on where the line will be drawn,” he said.
Gove suggested that strict restrictions on international travel in and out of the UK could be in place until late in the year, telling the programme that they were necessary for lifting lockdown restrictions at home.
“I think it’s important to stress that people shouldn’t expect any premature lifting of these restrictions. I think that is fair,” he said.
“We do want to lift restrictions at home. We do want progressively to see, in particular, children returning to schools. And as a result of that, we do need to have vigilance about the potential to import, in particular, new variants.
“That is why this policy is coming in and we have to keep it under review.”
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday said that the UK government’s new border restrictions did not go “far enough”.
Speaking after Johnson’s announcement, she said: "I think I do have a duty at this point to say that I am concerned that the proposal does not go far enough and I've made that point very strongly in the four-nations discussions that we've just had today.
"We will be seeking urgently to persuade them to go much further, and indeed to move to a comprehensive system of supervised quarantine."