A government minister has defended Boris Johnson’s record on dealing with the emergence of coronavirus variants around the world – as fears rise over a new Brazilian mutation.
Under-secretary of state for safeguarding Victoria Atkins was asked by Sky News’ Niall Paterson why the air corridor between the UK and South America remains open.
Atkins said: “Of course, people flying in to the UK, whether from South America or elsewhere are required to have a 10-day quarantine period when they land in the UK. That is mandatory.
“In terms of the decision on travel measures, it takes a little bit of time.
“What we need to ensure is that when we make these very, very important decisions that have a huge impact on people’s personal lives, but also on businesses, we have got to have a little bit of time to let that bed in and settle in.
“The prime minister was clear that measures will be taken. We have acted decisively in the past with both the Denmark and South African variants, so I wouldn’t want to speculate further at this stage.”
Paterson then asked the minister why, a year on from identifying Covid-19 on our shores, the UK is still not testing anyone arriving into the country.
Atkins said: “We have had a series of travel restrictions and indeed quarantine restrictions have been in force for some time, but there’s a very delicate balancing act here between controlling the violence but also ensuring that we are not putting too much of a burden on the economy.
“We really have been decisive in the way that we have dealt with travel restrictions,” she added before Paterson replied: “I think others would disagree with you on that.”