‘We will not hesitate’ PM ready to impose more travel restrictions

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Boris Johnson has said ministers will “not hesitate” to impose a quarantine system for travellers from other countries to the UK if needed.

The Prime Minister, speaking on a visit to St Joseph’s school in Upminster, urged those who go abroad to look at the Foreign Office travel advice carefully.

It comes after a rise in Covid-19 cases in France, with face masks being made mandatory in busy parts of Paris as of Monday.

Mr Johnson said: “I don’t want to advise people about their individual holidays, individual decisions, they should look at the travel advice from the Foreign Office clearly.

“But what I will say, and I hope people would expect us to do this, in the context of a global pandemic, we’ve got to keep looking at the data in all the countries to which British people want to travel.

“Where it is necessary to impose restrictions or to impose a quarantine system, we will not hesitate to do so.

“It’s been a huge effort for the entire population of this country to get the disease down to the levels that we are currently seeing, but we do not want reinfection and that’s why we’ve got to keep a very, very close eye on the data in destinations around the world.”

Last month, the UK Government announced that travellers to the UK from Spain would have to quarantine for 14 days on their return to the country.

Luxembourg, Andorra, The Bahamas and Belgium were also added to the UK’s 14-day quarantine list last week.

Over the past four weeks, the weekly rate of new confirmed cases in Spain has risen steadily, from 13.5 per 100,000 people in the seven days to July 17 to 25.9, 34.3 and most recently 55.1 in the seven days to August 7.

The rate is now roughly half the level it was at peak of the outbreak, when nearly 120 new cases per 100,000 people were being recorded each week in late March.

In France, the seven-day rate for the past four weeks is still well below that of Spain, but it has shown an increase – 5.6, 8.3, 10.7 and 13.5.

Downing Street said changes to the quarantine exemption list could be made “very rapidly”.

Asked if France could be added to the quarantine list, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We keep the data for all countries and territories under constant review.

“Any decisions to update the exemptions list will be informed by the latest health data and we can and will act rapidly. We have been updating the exemptions list on a weekly basis in order to make sure that it reflects the changes in the international health picture.”

The spokesman said the pandemic meant “there isn’t a risk-free way of travelling overseas”.



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