Labour calls for urgent tougher Covid border measures for Thailand and Vietnam
Nick Thomas-Symonds MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, has written to the Home Secretary calling for Thailand and Vietnam to be urgently added to the travel Red List.
New research released by Public Health England shows that the C.36.3 variant linked to Thailand was designated a Variant Under Investigation on 24 May 2021. 117 cases have been identified in the U.K., with over 37% of cases originating from travellers in to the U.K.
Vietnam is also experiencing a significant rises in cases, potentially as a result of a new variant.
Labour has repeatedly called for the Ambers List to be scrapped, and, if the Government refuses to do that, calls at the very least for Thailand and Vietnam to be added to the Red List.
Nick Thomas-Symonds MP, Shadow Home Secretary, said:
“There is a terrible sense of déjà vu witnessing yet more variants reach the U.K. Outbreaks of the variant first discovered in Thailand is in addition to those of Brazil, South Africa and India.
“It beggars belief that Conservative Ministers opened up an ambiguous ‘Amber List’, causing mass confusion and allowing thousands of people to travel to the UK from countries, including Thailand and Vietnam, with rising Covid numbers. They have recklessly opened the door to new variants and learned nothing from the crisis, putting at risk the 21 June reopening.
“The U.K. Government must add all countries on the Amber List to the Red List. Failing that, they should at the very least add Thailand and Vietnam to the Red List immediately.”
[Full Text of Letter]
I write in relation to the worrying news that there have been over 100 cases in the U.K. of C.36.3. variant, first discovered in Thailand.
This is yet more evidence that U.K. border protections the Government has introduced are woefully and dangerously inadequate.
The utter failure to guard against the Indian variant should have stood as a clear warning of the damage caused by lax border measures. You will remember I have called repeatedly for a comprehensive hotel quarantine system. Yet not only did you fail to introduce this, the Government also disastrously waited weeks to add India to the Red List, which resulted in the virus reaching the U.K. in significant numbers. As a result, we now see the ‘Delta’ variant is the dominant strain in the UK and is threatening hopes of further lifting restrictions in England on 21 June.
New data from Public Health England, published on 3 June, shows there are a significant number of cases of the C.36.3. variant in the U.K., with over 37% of cases originating from travellers arriving into the U.K.
This yet again shows the Amber List system does not work in preventing strains from overseas reaching the U.K. and it is reckless to continue with this policy.
As a result, I again call on you to suspend the Amber List system, which is putting the U.K. at risk of further variants and repeating the mistakes with the variant first discovered in India. All those counties on the Amber List should be moved immediately to the Red List.
At the very least, the UK Government must act urgently and move Thailand to the existing Red List, as well as Vietnam, which is also experiencing a significant rise in cases, potentially as a result of a new variant.
It is beyond reckless that countries with worrying Covid variants and rising case numbers were not added to the Red List on Thursday 3 June, at the very least.
It is imperative that lessons are learned from past failing and urgent action is taken.
I look forward to your urgent reply.
Rt Hon Nick Thomas-Symonds MP
Shadow Secretary of State for the Home Department