Sunday 6 September 2020 / 10:55 AM Coronavirus / Home / Nick Thomas-Symonds

Labour demands ‘rapid review’ to fix chaotic quarantine arrangements

Labour has called on the Government to undertake a ‘rapid review’ to improve the ‘chaotic quarantine arrangements that are losing public confidence’.

Nick Thomas-Symonds MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, has called on ministers to undertake and complete an urgent review over the next fortnight into the quarantine rules.

In a letter to the Home Secretary, Labour is urging the Government to consider introducing a ‘robust testing regime in airports’ that could help to safely minimise the need for 14-day quarantine.

Labour has been clear that significantly ramped up testing is an important part of trying to respond to the pandemic and safely reopen society.

Given the huge challenges being faced by the travel sector and the scale of job losses, Labour is calling on the Government to look at airport testing and related follow-up testing as part of wider package of improvements to the testing regime.

The call comes as serious concerns have been raised across industries and supply chains about the impact restrictions are having, and the need to try and identify improvements.

The continued uncertainty is damaging public confidence and putting whole sectors of the economy at risk.

Ends

 

Notes to Editors

Full text of Letter

Dear Home Secretary

I write to call for a rapid review to fix chaotic quarantine arrangements that are losing public confidence and undermining our ability to keep people safe and save jobs.

In order to rebuild this trust I am calling on Government to undertake a review in to quarantine policy to report within a fortnight. It should include outlining options for a robust testing regime in airports, and related follow up tests, that could help to safely minimise the need for 14 day quarantine.

It is clear that ramped up testing is an important part of trying to respond to the pandemic and safely reopen society.   Given the huge challenges being faced by the travel sector and the scale of job losses, it makes sense to look at this area as part of wider package of improvements to the testing regime.

You will of course be aware of the dire warnings that have been made regarding job losses by travel related sectors.

Your Cabinet colleague the Secretary of State for Transport suggested this week that with the right kind of system in place it may be possible to bring the quarantine period down to 7, 8 or 10 days. What is needed now is far more clarity about how that might be achieved, including more transparency about what is being done to act on the advice reported by The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) that it may be possible to reduce quarantine times with testing at airports and follow up tests at home.

The continued uncertainty is damaging public confidence and putting whole sectors of the economy at risk.

Furthermore, there have been serious concerns raised about the monitoring of compliance with the quarantine restrictions that are in place. There are reports that less than a third of passenger locator forms are checked, with a non-compliance rate of around 10 per cent. The effectiveness of this regime should also be part of the review, to try and build confidence in the arrangements.

The Government’s handling of arrivals into the UK has lacked urgency, coherence and clarity from the outset. Including being too slow to implement controls at the onset of the crisis.

It’s also clear that the impact on the travel sector, as with other badly-hit parts of our economy, is so significant that your Government must abandon its one-size-fits-all withdrawal of income support without delay.

Yours sincerely,

Nick Thomas-Symonds MP