Great Britain

Downing Street ‘don’t have SAGE science backing for quarantine plan’ ahead of Priti Patel announcement today


DOWNING Street "doesn’t have SAGE science backing for their quarantine plan" despite Priti Patel unveiling the scheme today.

The Home Secretary will unveil the plans this afternoon, which will force visitors and returning Brits to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in the country.

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There was already a furious backlash against the plans, with MPs and experts repeatedly warning the Government it could kill off the travel industry.

Now it has emerged they were announced without being backed by the Government's top group of experts, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies.

According to The Times, Sage was not asked before the announcement whether the quarantine would have any real effect on stopping the spread of the virus.

The group have previously dismissed travel bans, arguing that they are ineffective in controlling the virus’s spread.

Priti Patel will unveil the tourist quarantine details today despite the backlash from MPs and tourism bosses.

She will say that the government “owes it” to the thousands of people who have lost their lives not to risk a second peak.

It comes as:

The rules will see visitors and returning Brits forced to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

This would have people under the restrictions allowed to leave home for get food, and just a fifth face spot checks.

Public Health England admitted yesterday that private sector call centre workers would be in charge of policing the restrictions by phoning people at random.

They also revealed the calls will not be made by PHE, but a "private provider".

Call centre staff will then decide when and whether to alert police that someone is not following the guidelines.

Only about 10 per cent of those arriving in the UK will be stopped and checked by the Border Force.

Travellers will also be able to board public transport to wherever they will quarantine.

The rules would also only be in place for an initial three weeks, with the first review on June 29.

Those found to have breached the rules will still be fined £1000, but the measures are not as strict as industry feared, or those imposed in European nations.

In other countries travellers arriving at airports and ports have been forced to stay at hotels and have food delivered, but the same won't be the case in Britain.

Some 124 chief executives and owners of businesses had bashed the plan, and warned it would lead to 60 per cent of travel jobs being axed.

George Morgan-Grenville, the chief executive of tour operator Red Savannah, said: “By pursuing its quarantine plans without due regard for the economic consequences, the Government is choosing to ignore the devastation it will cause to companies, to employment and to the lives of all those whose jobs will be lost.

“The quarantine measures are a blunt weapon which will bring only economic disaster.”

Tory MP Henry Smith, whose Crawley constituency covers Gatwick said: “It sounds good, to stop people at the borders so we don't get re-infections of Covid-19.

“But I don't think it is going to be a benefit to public health and will prolong the economic damage.”

EasyJet boss Johan Lundgren said: “It was frustrating the Government chose not to consult our industry.

“British holidaymakers will think twice about going abroad if they have to return to quarantine for 14 days.”

It came as Portugal and Greece boosted Brits chances of a Summer holiday after saying they were ready to welcome back UK tourists within days.


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