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This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

Home Secretary and Transport Secretary op-ed on border measures

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Writing for the Telegraph, the Home Secretary Priti Patel and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps explain why border measures will help to keep the public safe.

Travellers self-isolating for 14 days will help to keep us safe

From Monday people arriving to the UK will need to self-isolate for 14 days. Travel details and passenger contact information will need to be provided. There will be spot checks and fines.

There’s been a lot of misinformed speculation about the introduction of public health measures at the border, so we want to set out the facts.

These measures are informed by the science, backed by the public, and are essential to protect public health.

During the early stages of the Covid-19 outbreak, the Government put in place enhanced border monitoring specifically for passengers arriving from high risk countries including China, Japan, Iran and Italy.

Based on advice at the time, this was stopped once community transmission of this virus was widespread in the UK as it would not have been effective. At the same time, international travel plummeted as countries including the UK went into lockdown and changed their travel advice advising their citizens not to travel overseas.

We have reduced the rate of transmission within the UK and continue to control the virus. Self-isolation for those arriving is designed to prevent new cases being brought in from abroad and to prevent a second wave of the virus.

Right now, airport Covid-19 tests or rapid temperature tests simply aren’t as effective. Infected passengers might not have any symptoms, and tests might not work as well if you’ve only just caught the virus.

Which is why it is right that we ask those who are travelling to our country to follow the measures that our own citizens are undertaking to continue to stop the spread of the virus.

As we continue to follow the rules designed to protect our families, friends and loved ones, so should visitors to our country.

And by stopping people coming in from spreading the virus further, we can control it and get back to normal sooner – meaning the tourism industry will be up and running faster.

We know that this will mean that challenges continue in the coming weeks, but that’s why we have an unprecedented package of support – the most comprehensive in the world – both for employees and businesses.

But we will all suffer if we get this wrong and that is why it is crucial that we introduce these measures now. Let’s not throw away our progress in tackling this deadly virus. We owe it to the thousands who have died.

As with all Covid-19 policies, the Government will review these and other measures, looking at global infection rates, the measures in place around the world, and the latest scientific advances.

We are working with the transport industry to see how we can introduce agreements with other countries when safe to do so, so we can go abroad and tourists can come here.

But as the Prime Minister has outlined, we must take it one step at a time. We must keep the country safe from potentially infected passengers unknowingly spreading the virus to others in society and ensure that the public’s health always comes first.

Priti Patel, Home Secretary

Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary

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