• Thursday, June 30, 2022

Coronavirus

Priti Patel calls for ban on flights from virus hotspots

British Home Secretary Priti Patel (Getty Images).

By: Eastern Eye Staff

PRITI PATEL has called for banning passengers from “coronavirus hotspots”.

The home secretary sought to block entry of travellers from places with high rates of COVID-19 infections, such as China, Iran and the US.

Patel said flights from such hotspots should be banned as long as the UK was under lockdown, the Telegraph reported.

The issue was reportedly raised at a Cabinet committee, but was yet to be reach a consensus.

Notably, the EU and countries such as India and the US had placed such bans on international travellers.

Even as Patel raised the issue, flights from the US, Iran, Italy and China took off for the UK on Wednesday (25).

Though the inflow of passenger had come down to one-fifth of the traffic before the pandemic, about 100,000 passengers were still landing at UK airports each day.

Reports noted that many of the passengers were British nationals returning from various global cities.

The UK government’s scientific advisers, however, pointed out that about 500 coronavirus cases could be linked to foreign nationals entering the country.

Even as passengers from affected countries were being asked to self-isolate for two weeks, reports noted that “there were no means of enforcing this and no health checks are being carried out at UK airports”.

“We are most concerned about the daily flights from the US and Iran which are coming in on a daily basis,” an official source told Telegraph.

“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.”

The source added that there was “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,” said the source. “The only limitation is what that country is doing domestically to stop people going to an airport in the first place.”

As on Thursday (26), the UK reported 9,529 confirmed cases of infection and 463 deaths.

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