Boris Johnson insists UK proceeding ‘as one’ with coronavirus despite minister admitting confusion

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, wearing the school tie he was presented with on arrival, speaks to a class of year 7 pupils...

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, wearing the school tie he was presented with on arrival, speaks to a class of year 7 pupils on their first day back at school. (Photo by Jack Hill - WPA Pool/ Getty Images) - Credit: Getty Images

Boris Johnson has insisted 'overwhelmingly the UK is proceeding as one' with its coronavirus response.

The comments come after transport minister Grant Shapps admitted there is 'confusion' over differing quarantine rules across the union.

During his visit to Solihull, the prime minister said: 'The reality is that different devolved administrations in the UK, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, they have different rates of infectivity, different approaches to the problem.

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'But overwhelmingly the UK is proceeding as one.

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'I think you will find if you dig below the surface, of some of the surface differentiations, you will find overwhelmingly the UK takes the same approach.'

Shapps earlier told Sky News: 'I do realise it creates confusion for people not to have a single rule, but we do have this devolved approach throughout the United Kingdom and I can only be responsible for the English part of that.'

The Scottish government has said it is 'unfortunate' that Westminster announced its quarantine decision before ministers from across the UK considered the latest data showing a 'significant rise' in cases in Portugal.

In response to Grant Shapps saying Scotland had 'jumped the gun' on Greece, a Scottish government spokesperson said: 'In the case of Greece, we had a worrying number of people in Scotland who tested positive for Covid-19 and who had returned from Greece within seven days of the onset of symptoms. The Scottish Government could not afford to ignore that growing threat to public health.

'In the case of Portugal, it was unfortunate that the UK Government announced their decision yesterday before ministers from England, Scotland and Northern Ireland met and before considering the latest Joint Biosecurity Centre data. This indicated a significant rise in both the prevalence of the virus in Portugal and in test positivity.

'As ministers have said repeatedly, we are in the midst of a global pandemic and the situation in many countries can change suddenly. Therefore, people should think very hard before committing to non-essential travel abroad.'

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