Blanket travel ban into UK not proportionate – Foreign Secretary

Dominic Raab said the right balance of measures are in place – robust, but targeted.

Blanket travel ban into UK not proportionate – Foreign Secretary

The Foreign Secretary has dismissed the idea of a blanket ban on travel into the UK ahead of the hotel quarantine plan kicking in.

UK nationals or residents returning to England from 33 countries will be required to spend 10 days in Government-designated accommodation from Monday.

Dominic Raab was asked if it is time for a “blanket ban” due to the South Africa variant of Covid-19 being detected in Austria for example which is not on the Government’s red list.

Coronavirus – Sat Feb 13, 2021
Novotel Heathrow T1 T2 T3 hotel, which is being prepared for use as a Government-designated quarantine hotel when the scheme comes into effect on Monday (Steve Parsons/PA)

Mr Raab said the data is assessed very carefully and they want to make sure the measures are “as targeted as possible”.

He said: “We think we’ve got the right balance – robust measures, but targeted measures.”

Former prime minister Tony Blair had reiterated his calls for a global coronavirus vaccine passport scheme, writing in the Mail On Sunday: “We have the technology which allows us to do this securely and effectively. The need is obvious. The world is moving in this direction. We should plan for an agreed ‘passport’ now. The arguments against it really don’t add up.”

Asked if it will be put on the agenda at the G7, Mr Raab told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “We can certainly discuss those things both internationally and domestically, but the reality is you’ve got to have a workable system, so it’s not something that I think yet is in a place where we can put forward a workable proposition that countries around the world would be able to rely on.

“And the risk of course with anything like that is if you create something which isn’t workable, that isn’t dependable, it creates a false sense of security and no-one wants to do that.”

Andrew Marr, right, interviewing Foreign Secretary Dominic
Andrew Marr, right, interviewing Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab (Jeff Overs)

He added: “I’m not sure there’s a foolproof answer in the way that sometimes it’s presented, but of course we’ll look at all the options.”

Meanwhile, First Minister Mark Drakeford said there will be no quarantine hotels in Wales for the time being.

Speaking to Sky News’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme, Mr Drakeford said there were no flights from red list countries coming into Wales, or from abroad, until March.

“For several weeks to come, that will not affect us here in Wales,” he said.

Mr Drakeford said he would have done the “opposite” to the UK Government in regard to its approach to overseas travellers coming to the UK.

“I would have said nobody can come in other than a list of countries where we are absolutely sure that it is safe for people to come without the self-quarantine arrangements that have been suggested.

“I just think we need to build the wall higher to make sure we are not vulnerable to new variants that could appear in any part of the world.”

On Saturday, Heathrow Airport said “significant gaps” remained in the hotel quarantine plan and a spokeswoman said it is yet to receive the “necessary reassurances” from the Government.

On Sunday, the Heathrow spokeswoman said “good progress” had been made to address a number of issues.

“Our key concern remains the ability of Border Force to cope,” she said.

“Queues at the border in recent days of almost five hours are totally unacceptable.

“Ministers need to ensure there is adequate resource and effective processes at the border to avoid compromising the safety of passengers and those working at the airport, which could necessitate the suspension of some arriving flights.”

One of the Heathrow Airport hotels taking part in the scheme is Novotel London Heathrow T1 T2 T3.

The hotel was charging £65 for members of the public staying on Sunday night, while travellers using it to quarantine from Monday must pay £1,750 for 10 days.

The PA news agency understands that the Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel is also participating in the programme.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More From The Guernsey Press

UK & International News