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27 Jan, 2021 16:20

UK unveils STRICTER Covid-19 border restrictions as govt steps up enforcement measures

UK unveils STRICTER Covid-19 border restrictions as govt steps up enforcement measures

Home Secretary Priti Patel has unveiled new Covid-19 border restrictions, forcing UK citizens travelling from red-list countries to quarantine in government-provided accommodation while stepping up checks on other arrivals. 

Speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Patel declared that there are "still too many people coming in and out of our country every day," forcing the government to introduce stricter border restrictions to protect the country from new variants of the virus.

As was expected, the government will require UK citizens who are coming back from so-called 'red-list' countries to quarantine for 10 days in government-provided accommodation, so they can be monitored in case they develop symptoms. Alongside that, police will also increase checks on other arrivals who are self-isolating to ensure they comply with the rules. 

To enforce the new measures, police presence at ports and airports will be increased, so border officials can check that people only travel abroad if they have a valid reason for doing so. Those who are flouting the rules will be asked to return home or be given a fine.

"Going on holiday is not a valid reason to travel," Patel said.

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While Prime Minister Boris Johnson's party and his scientific advisers support this new approach, the opposing Labour Party has criticised the move as not going "anywhere near far enough" to combat incoming cases, leaving "huge gaps in our defences against emerging strains." 

Labour's Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds argued that by only requiring people returning from a specific handful of countries to quarantine in monitored accommodation, the government is showing it is "too far behind the curve" in tackling the ongoing crisis.

On Tuesday, the UK passed the grim milestone of 100,000 deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test. The country has recorded almost 3.7 million cases to date.

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