The Home Secretary, Priti Patel has said that she was an “advocate” of closing the UK borders last March when the pandemic started.
Patel had argued for the Uk’s borders to closed to international visitors are coronavirus started to gain traction from March 2020.
The Home Secretary’s comment were first reported by the much respected Guido Fawkes website, where Patel said, “On ‘should we have closed our borders earlier’, the answer is yes.
“I was an advocate of closing them last March.”
For reasons unknown, the British government in mid-March did not tell people to quarantine from China where the outbreak started and allowed thousands to enter the UK.
This also included those travelling from Italy which had a spiraling infection rate at the time and placed the UK some three to four behind Italy’s curve.
Some three months later the government only then introduced a blanket quarantine in June for all international travellers.
This has sparked outrage, and Labour’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said, “This is a shocking admission from the Home Secretary about the government’s failure to secure the UK’s borders against Covid.
“Priti Patel’s admission, coupled with the complete lack of strategy for testing of travellers, means that the Government has left our doors open to the virus and worrying mutations.
“Ministers now need to – urgently – review and overhaul border policy, whilst taking responsibility for the huge damage their incompetence has done to our national safety and security.”
Only this week Minister suspended all travel corridors in a move to prevent new mutant variants from entering the UK.
In August the Commons Home Affairs Committee criticised the government on making border controls, which was published by the Committee.
MPs have concluded that the government had failed to bring in the much needed quarantine measures into force early in the pandemic which made coronavirus spread faster across the UK.
However, Patel said on Wednesday that she defends the actions that were taken, and told broadcasters that Minister had followed the scientific advice over border controls.
Patel told BBC Breakfast today, “Government has listened to a range of advice and followed advice from professionals and advisers, medical and scientific from day one of this pandemic and there has been collective decision making across the board.
“When it comes to border measures, for example, there was a lot of work that took place last year, both in transport and in the Home Office, but also working with the scientists who advised us at the time when coronavirus was incredibly high that it would not have made a difference to have taken border measures.”
A Home Office spokesman said, “We have strong measures at the border in place which are vital as we roll out the vaccine.”