Ministers will provide further details on the UK’s hotel quarantine policy tomorrow, the Prime Minister has announced.
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, Boris Johnson said the health secretary would set out the government’s plan for introducing a mandatory 10-day quarantine on arrivals to the UK from 30 countries.
Johnson announced the measures last week as part of ministers’ plans to “stamp out” the risk emerging Covid variants reaching Britain’s shores.
Scientists are concerned that new mutations first identified in South Africa and Brazil could prove resistant to current vaccines.
However, both Scotland and Wales’ first ministers Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford slammed the restrictions as insufficient and promised to go further.
Sturgeon yesterday announced Scotland would introduce a “managed quarantine” on all arrivals to the country — not just those from a list of “at-risk” nations.
Johnson pushed back on suggestions England would enforce a full border closure this evening, insisting that the UK has “one of the toughest border regimes anywhere in the world”.
He suggested the shape of the new measures would include “restricting as much as we can any risk of importing new infection into this country without totally secluding the UK economy — 75 per cent of [our] medicines from Europe and 45 per cent of our food comes from overseas”.
The Prime Minister hailed today’s milestone of more than 10m people in the UK receiving their first dose of the vaccine, adding that the figure offered a light at the end of the tunnel after three national lockdowns.
“There are some signs of the numbers of Covid patients in hospital beginning to fall for the first time since the onset of this new wave,” Johnson added.
Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer added that “it appears we are past the peak, at least the peak of the second wave”.
However, the PM cautioned that the level of infection remains “alarmingly high”, with a further 1,322 coronavirus-related deaths recorded in the past 24 hours.