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Statement on health measures on the UK border

3 June 2020


Today in the chamber, the Home Secretary gave a statement to the house on the introduction of public health measures on the UK border during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Secretary of State, Priti Patel, told the House that introducing this measure will play an important role in the UK's fight against the coronavirus.

Priti Patel MP: "more vulnerable to infections being brought in from abroad."

The Home Secretary told the House, “we are past the peak, but we are now more vulnerable to infections being brought in from abroad.”

Ms Patel told the House:

“Some have suggested that public health measures should have been introduced when the virus was at its peak, however at that time the scientific advice was clear, that such measures would have made little difference when domestic transmission was wide spread.”

The Secretary of State added that the House that this step is now being taken because “the transmission rate in the UK continues to decline”, adding that international travel is likely to resume.

She added that because of the resuming of international travel, “travellers from overseas could become a high proportion of the overall number of infections in the UK, and therefore increase the spread of the disease.”

The Government's key points of public health measures that will be put in place from 8 June which includes limiting infection by requiring arrivals to the UK to self-isolate for 14 days. Arrivals to the UK will be required to fill in a contact locator form including details on where they will isolate and how they can be contacted. The form which can be found on the Government website must be completed before travel, and passengers will be required to have proof of receipt of their completed form. Border force will have the power to fix a £100 fixed notice to those who do not comply, as well as a £1000 fine for those who fail to self-isolate.

Responding on behalf of the Opposition, Shadow Home Secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds said: “We've been calling for sensible screening measures on the border for months.”

Nick Thomas-Symonds MP: "It is vital the UK has a plan for minimizing the risk of infections."

Speaking to the House, the Shadow Secretary said that there are fundamental questions the Home Secretary needs to answer on “why these particular measures and why now?”

Quoting the Government's Chief Scientific Advisor, the Shadow Secretary said:

“A lot of the cases in the UK didn't come from China, and didn't come from the places you might have expected. They actually came from European imports and the high level of travel into the UK around that time.”
The Shadow Secretary went on to say that on 30 April he had written to the Home Secretary asking her to publish in full scientific advice that her decisions on measures at the border at that time were based on, however did not receive a response.

Mr Thomas-Symonds told the House that “Unfortunately like too much of the Home Office handling of this crisis, the management of arrivals to the United Kingdom has lacked urgency and coherence.”

He added:

“Why has the Government wasted precious weeks talking about possible border restrictions rather than taking effective actions? If these measures are necessary from 8 June, why have they not been necessary in recent weeks?”

The Shadow Secretary asked for assurance from the Home Secretary that these measures have been recommended and approved by SAGE.

Image: PA Image

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