Priti Patel calls for UK borders to be CLOSED to stop new coronavirus cases being imported from worldwide hotspots
- UK-bound flights from New York, Tehran, Rome and Beijing all took off yesterday
- Priti Patel says flights from virus hotspots should not be allowed into the country
- Less concern over EU arrivals ‘because their domestic lockdowns are so severe’
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
Priti Patel has called for UK borders to be closed to stop people arriving from coronavirus hotspots.
The Home Secretary is seeking support for her plans to stop passengers being able to fly in to the UK from countries with high levels of infections such as Iran, the US and China.
Mrs Patel believes flights from virus hotspots should not be allowed when the country is on lockdown to prevent its spread, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Home Secretary Priti Patel, pictured in the Commons earlier this week discussing the crisis, is calling for the UK to enforce a travel ban halting passengers arriving from high-risk countries such as Iran, the US and China.
The lack of a travel ban in the UK is in stark contrast to policies in the EU and the US, which have closed their borders to travellers from many other countries.
Flights headed to the UK from New York, Tehran, Rome and Beijing all took off yesterday.
An estimated 100,000 passengers are still arriving through UK airports each day – around one fifth of the number before the pandemic.
Many of these are Brits returning from abroad, but Government scientific advisers have warned that around 500 coronavirus cases may be linked to foreign nationals coming in to the UK.
While passengers arriving off flights from affected countries are asked to self-isolate for 14 days, there are no means of enforcing this and no health checks are being carried out at UK airports.
A source told The Telegraph: ‘We are most concerned about the daily flights from the US and Iran which are coming in on a daily basis.
‘We want to stop non-EEA nationals from flying into the UK. The EU is not a problem for the most part because their domestic lockdowns are so severe.’
A source told The Telegraph the government is concerned with airline passengers arriving untested from Iran, China and the US. Currency exchanges and car hire firms were shut at Heathrow Airport today
‘There is no doubt that we are going to come under increasing pressure to sort this.
‘At the moment anyone can come into the UK as a tourist from Iran. The only limitation is what that country is doing domestically to stop people going to an airport in the first place.’
The departments of health and transport, as well as the Home Office, make decisions about a potential UK flight ban.
The issue is thought to have been raised at a Cabinet committee in response to the pandemic but has yet to be resolved.