Boris Johnson should ‘close borders today’ says expert
Political commentator Tom Harwood called for a total border closure to be put in place as soon as possible to prevent more dangerous foreign variants entering the UK like the South African strain. He suggested travellers from coronavirus hot spots could simply travel via other countries to enter the UK, completely negating border controls. The journalist admitted the move would be devastating for the UK economy but it was the lesser of two evils when compared to Boris Johnson implementing further national lockdowns.
Speaking to Mark Dolan on talkRADIO, Mr Harwood said: “I think we should shut them (borders) today, yesterday I think there are two coherent positions which are perfectly acceptable to have now.
“One, you run the borders like normal and you accept if the virus is going to get in, it’s going to get in, or you say you will close the borders.
“Unfortunately what has happened is the Government has tried to have a halfway house on this where its closed the borders to some countries and had them wide open to other countries.
“Now, this is the worst of both worlds because if you want to come in from a hot spot to the UK all you need to do is fly via a country that we don’t have the borders closed to and you can come straight in without hotel quarantine.
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“It’s as if hotel quarantine doesn’t exist at all.
“So at the moment we are in the worst of both worlds and the coherent, sensible thing to do is if we accept that there are all of these dangerous new variants, that might be more resistant to vaccines, what we need to do is say until we have a really sophisticated vaccine manufacturing sector in this country where we can roll out those annual vaccines quickly against new variants.
“Until we have that, we need to have very strict hotel quarantine and make sure that we can open up everything within our island and keep out those variants.”
Presenter Mark Dolan then queried as to how long Mr Harwood’s border closure would last and pointed out the huge impact it would have on the economy.
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The political commentator accepted the move would be “devastating” but if it was a toss-up between further national lockdowns or border closure, he would support the latter.
He added that UK citizens could simply spend the summer in the Union and hypothesised a closed border could allow shops, pubs and other venues to open again.
Current border restrictions mean anyone travelling into the UK will need to self-isolate for ten days on arrival.
Travel corridors have been suspended which allowed free travel between certain countries without the need to quarantine.
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The UK also denies entry to anyone who has been in or travelled through a list of banned/red list countries which include Brazil, South Africa and many others.
Home Secretary Priti Patel announced last week that British nationals entering the UK from a red list country would be required to isolate in a hotel for ten days.
They would be required to pay for the stay themselves and would be closely monitored by staff and tested regularly.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the South African strain has been found in the UK and is rolling out door-to-door testing for those in affected postcodes.
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