Downing Street has rejected calls from the Scottish and Welsh first ministers hold a Cobra meeting to impose tougher travel restrictions across the UK.
Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford both demanded that Boris Johnson holds an urgent Cobra meeting to tackle border restrictions.
Both Sturgeon and Drakeford wrote to Johnson calling for people coming into the UK from overseas to be made to self isolate for eight days and then to take a second PCR test.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said, “We would confirm any plans for a cobra meeting in the normal way. Currently, there isn’t one scheduled.
“We obviously speak to our devolved administration counterparts very regularly and we will continue to coordinate our response with them.”
Downing Street rejected the calls for the self-isolation period for travellers as extending the requirement will have a “detrimental effect” on the travel industry.
The spokesman added, “We believe that the approach we’ve taken is the proportionate one to the evidence that we currently have available about this variant.
“Introducing further isolation requirements and testing requirements would have a detrimental effect on the travel industry and indeed those who are planning to go travelling.”
In their letter to Johnson, Sturgeon and Drakeford wrote, “We believe the reinstatement of a requirement for a day eight PCR test for travellers arriving into the UK, alongside the day two requirement already announced, and thereby requiring isolation for that whole period, is now necessary.
“Public health advice is unequivocal that this is the best and safest way to protect against the importation of this variant to the fullest extent possible.
“While our public health systems work hard to minimise the spread of cases already in the UK, it is imperative that we do all we can to avoid under-cutting these efforts by permitting on-going importation.”
Johnson was advised that it is “better to consider this now, in advance of a potential escalation in the seriousness of the situation.”
They added, “In particular, it is important for us to agree that if the conditions in a devolved nation were to require more significant interventions than in England, the agreed package of financial support would be available to that nation.
“We do not want to be in a position again where our public health interventions are negatively impacted by a lack of financial support, but can be switched on as required for England.”