UK border control under fire for Covid-19 spread

Passengers arrive at Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport in London, as new quarantine measures for international arrivals come into force. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday June 8, 2020. Passengers arriving in the UK from Monday will need to self-isolate for 14 days under the latest Government measure to reduce the spread of coronavirus. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

CORONOVIRUS spread faster in the UK as the Government failed to bring in quarantine rules for travellers in the early days of the pandemic, according to MPs.

The “critical errors” – including the “inexplicable” decision to lift all border restrictions in March – “accelerated” the scale and pace of the pandemic in the country and led to “many more people contracting Covid-19”, a Commons Home Affairs Committee report said.

The group of MPs backed the decision to include Spain in the current quarantine measures – although it hit out at the way travel corridor decisions were being made and called for improvements.

The inquiry considered all of the Government’s decisions on border measures during the crisis so far, from the early quarantine of 273 people largely from Wuhan, through voluntary self-isolation applying to travellers from specific countries (including China, Iran and Italy) in February and early March; the lifting of all border measures on March 13; the introduction of mandatory quarantine in June; the introduction of travel corridors; and the most recent decision to reintroduce quarantine for Spain.

Drawing on evidence that “thousands of people with Covid-19 arrived in or returned to the UK in February and March”, the committee concluded: “The UK’s experience of Covid-19 has been far worse as a result of the Government’s decision not to require quarantine during March, which would have reduced the number of imported infections.”

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