‘Ludicrous situation’: Lorraine Kelly puts Priti Patel on spot over new quarantine rules for travellers

Mandatory 14-day self-isolation will apply to inbound airline passengers

Samuel Osborne
Wednesday 13 May 2020 10:02
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Ludicrous situation: Lorraine Kelly puts Priti Patel on spot over new quarantine rules for travellers

Priti Patel was put on the spot about the “ridiculous situation” of the new 14-day quarantine rule for people arriving the UK during an appearance on a morning news show.

The home secretary was asked about changes to the current system, in which 14-day self-isolation is merely advised, by ITV’s Good Morning Britain host Lorraine Kelly.

“Social distancing is here to stay but we’ve got this ludicrous situation in our airports right now which seems utterly bizarre and mind-boggling,” Ms Kelly said.

“Between the start of the year and 22 March, 18 million people arrived in this country into airports, only 273 were quarantined. We reckon there’s about 15,000 a day coming in here.

“There’s no checks. There’s no tests. The safety of the airport workers is paramount and also people could be bringing coronavirus in from countries like America, from Asia, from parts of Africa, and we’re not testing them and we don’t seem to be doing anything about this and it seems utterly bizarre.”

Ms Patel replied: “Well, first of all, that’s not fully accurate, Lorraine.

“There’s a lot of things that have taken place over recent months and you’ve got to remember at the beginning of the year when coronavirus became more prevalent around the world, China in particular, Wuhan, and then obviously as it spread through parts of Europe, we were asking people to self-isolate in January, February and March, people who were coming into the UK.”

Ms Kelly said the self-isolation was not mandatory and added: “You weren’t saying you must do this. It was up to them. It was their common sense.”

She gave the example of her daughter, who returned to the UK from Singapore two weeks ago and “decided herself to go into quarantine because she thought it was the responsible thing to do”.

“But I’m sure other people would not be as responsible,” Ms Kelly added.

Ms Patel said: “It’s slightly different now to what it was back then at the beginning of the year and over the last three months.

“Of course, we’ve now got the R value down in the UK and obviously we want to contain the virus in the UK and keep the numbers low and we are actually looking at quarantine measures. That is what I’m working on and looking at that right now, because we have to stop a second wave as the rest of the world potentially unlocks and opens its own society and people potentially travel.”

Last weekend, Boris Johnson said most airline passengers flying into the UK would soon be required to self-isolate upon arrival.

Passengers from the Republic of Ireland and France will be exempt from the new measures, which will come into force later this year.

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