Thursday 30 July 2020 8:00 am

Matt Hancock: Quarantine could return as second wave hits Europe

Health secretary Matt Hancock today warned the government could re-introduce quarantine to protect the UK as a second wave of infections begins to roll across Europe.

“I am worried about a second wave,” Hancock told Sky News.

Read more: Boris Johnson warns of second coronavirus wave in Europe

“You can see a second wave starting to roll across Europe, and we’ve got to do everything we can to prevent it from reaching these shores, and to tackle it.”

“We have significant concerns about the second wave that is coming across Europe,” he added. “And it’s not just Spain … but there are other countries too where the number of cases is rising. And we are absolutely determined to do everything that we can to keep this country safe.”

Britain re-imposed a 14-day quarantine period on people arriving from Spain last week. And Belgium and Croatia could soon follow, it is reported.

Read more: Belgium and Croatia may be next on UK’s quarantine list

British summer holiday destinations like France remain exempt from quarantine measures. However, they have seen a rise in infections, sparking fears they too could fall under the UK’s quarantine rules.

Hancock did not mention any other country by name apart from Spain.

The government is set to announce today that people with coronavirus symptoms must self-isolate for 10 days rather than seven, according to the Telegraph.

It is not clear if other parts of the UK will adopt the same policy or not.

Until now people with symptoms such as a continuous cough, a fever, and a loss of taste and smell have had to self-isolate for a week.

The new rules are set to arrive as an Oxford University suggests as much as 7.1 per cent of the UK has contracted coronavirus.

Read more: London coronavirus cases: How many infections are in your London borough?

The research found evidence of coronavirus antibodies – developed after an infection – in that proportion of 20,000 people scientists tested.

Earlier this week Boris Johnson did not rule out cutting quarantine for travellers from countries with high infection rates to 10 days.

“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,” he said.