The Home Secretary is seeking to bar passengers from countries like Iran and the United States where coronavirus has taken hold in a bid to prevent the spread of the virus.
Priti Patel wants to close UK borders to prevent thousands of passengers from coronavirus hotspot countries coming to Britain, she believes visitors from nations such as Iran, the US and China should not be continuing to fly into the UK when the Government has put the country in lockdown to halt the spread of the virus.
She is seeking cross-Government support for the move that would stop the daily flights from Tehran, New York, Los Angeles and Beijing places all suffering serious coronavirus outbreaks.
The UK’s current policy of open borders to flights contrasts with the EU’s decision last week to ban virtually all travellers from outside the bloc for 30 days.
According to reports from the Telegraph, on Thursday alone there are three flights taking off from New York, one from Los Angeles, one from Tehran, three from Rome in Italy, the epicentre of the European outbreak, and five from Beijing.
A source said: “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.”
Passengers showing symptoms of the coronavirus infection are not allowed to board flights in hotspot countries but according to many medical expects it can take 11-14 days for the symptoms of the virus to start showing leading to fears people could border flights already infected but not knowing.
For passengers arriving in the UK, there are no health or temperature checks for passengers arriving in the UK. They are asked to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival but there is no means of enforcing this.
Government scientific advisers estimate some 500 cases of coronavirus can be linked directly to foreign nationals arriving in the UK.
There are still over 100,000 passengers entering the United Kingdom every single day, although many are Britons returning home after Dominic Raab urged all British tourists and short-stay travellers to return to the UK. Before the pandemic, there were 500,000 arrivals a day.
A source said: “There is no doubt that we are going to come under increasing pressure to sort this,” said the source.
“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.”
Many non-EU countries, such as India and Kazakhstan, stopped Iran air flights earlier this month, while the US extended its EU travel ban to the UK and Ireland ten days ago.
Decisions on introducing a UK ban on flights to protect the nation’s health rest with three departments – health, which is responsible for the legislation, transport, which would enact any change, and the Home Office which polices it through the Border Force.
The London City Airport announced yesterday it will close until the end of April, In a statement City airport said the move was “the responsible thing to do for the safety and wellbeing of our staff, passengers and everyone associated with the airport.”
It is understood the issue of locking down the airports has been raised at a Cabinet committee co-ordinating the Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic but has yet to be resolved.
Editor-in-Chief | Carl D. Pearson has been involved in British politics and media from an early age, with the key knowledge of what it takes to run a news organisation for the 21st century. Mr Pearson, as Editor-in-chief, is responsible for supervising the daily tasks of publishing media and content to UNN’s website and various platforms.
This content was sourced from Unity News Network.