The Government is considering more draconian measures on foreign travel to stop the spread of coronavirus across the UK.

Environment secretary George Eustice told Sky News ministers have ‘considered’ a full closure of the country’s borders.

He said: ‘We always keep these things under review and it’s been considered.

‘There is concern at the moment about the number of mutant strains there are, concerns that there’s a risk that one day there will be a strain that might be able to evade the vaccine.

‘That’s why last week the PM toughened up the current restrictions, we think that’s the right approach for now but it’s something that we’ll keep under review.

Advertisement

Advertisement

‘We can’t rule anything about but for now [the new restrictions] we think are sufficient.’

It comes after Priti Patel admitted on an audio recording this week that she thought the UK should have closed its borders last March.

The home secretary’s comments, said to have been made to the Conservative Friends of India group, are in stark contrast to her public defence of the Government’s decision not to enforce a full shutdown for arrivals.

In an audio recording published by political website Guido Fawkes, she said: ‘On “should we have closed our borders earlier”, the answer is yes. I was an advocate of closing them last March.’

She has since been slammed by shadow justice secretary David Lammy, who tweeted: ‘Has Priti Patel forgotten she is the home secretary?’

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner added: ‘Inexcusable and unforgivable incompetence.

‘Has Priti Patel forgotten that she was actually home secretary in March 2020, and every day since?

‘The government’s failure to get a grip has left our country’s doors open to Covid and new mutations and variants throughout this crisis.’

Ministers this week suspended all travel corridors and introduced new rules requiring arrivals to produce a negative coronavirus test taken up to 72 hours before departure, and to self-isolate for up to 10 days after entering the UK.

The decision comes after a number of new strains were detected in the UK – including one that started in Brazil and another that was found in South Africa.

Advertisement

Advertisement

The entire continent of South America, as well as Portugal, has been issued with a travel ban amid fears of a ‘concerning’ Brazilian variant.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected]

For more stories like this, check our news page.

Advertisement

Advertisement