Home Business NewsBusinessAviation News Downing Street urged ‘travel ban must be extended’ over fears of mutant strains

Downing Street urged ‘travel ban must be extended’ over fears of mutant strains

by LLB Politics Reporter
10th Feb 21 12:42 pm

Downing Street have been urged to introduce tougher measures on foreign travel to stop more contagious strains of the virus entering the UK.

Ministers are being urged to close “multiple back doors” as around 35 more countries are not subject to the UK travel ban despite the South African and Brazilian strains being found in these countries.

Labour MP Stephen Doughty said, “I simply don’t understand the logic being used for the red list, with countries where dangerous variants are present not included and multiple back doors open.”

The Times newspaper has reported that France, Norway, Belgium, Japan and the US are among these countries which are currently not subject to the government’s red-list.

Speaking at Holyrood, Scottish Transport Secretary Michael Matheson warned that Downing Street’s response is far from “sufficient” on hotel quarantine measures for all travellers entering the UK.

Matheson said, “The UK government continues to rely on a targeted, reactive approach. ‘We know that is not sufficient. We have therefore gone further.”

The Scottish government have said all those who arrive in England and are then heading to Scotland must be identified before being allowed entry.

Matheson told Holyrood, “That would require the UK government to implement our policy.”

The Republic of Ireland have also warned that they will take immediate action on Brits who use their country as a back door into the UK from red-list countries to avoid quarantine.

Speaking to RTE, the Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney said, “If that’s been abused by UK citizens coming back from other parts of the world to try to take advantage, then we will close that door.”

The British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Tuesday that “We have to make the judgements on what’s on the red list and we keep it under review.”

The government announced on Tuesday there will be harsh new penalties for travellers entering the UK who deliberately fail to quarantine in approved hotels, could be fined up to £10,000.

Also, any traveller who hides a visit to a red-list country “will face a prison sentence of up to 10-years.”

However, former judges and some MPs are concerned over the Matt Hancock’s announcement on Tuesday that people could be handed a 10-year prison sentence.

The former attorney general Dominic Grieve said the 10-year prison sentence is “entirely disproportionate.”

Former Supreme Court judge Lord Jonathan Sumption wrote in the Daily Telegraph, “Ten years is the maximum sentence for threats to kill, non-fatal poisoning or indecent assault.

“Does Mr Hancock really think that non-disclosure of a visit to Portugal is worse than the large number of violent firearms offences or sexual offences involving minors, for which the maximum is seven years?”

Shadow home secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds told Sky News that he is “very concerned” that the government are introducing long prison sentences.

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