Tracking travellers to the UK to check they follow quarantine rules is among the measures the Home Office has considered in a bid to tighten border restrictions.
The option for GPS tracking, similar to a policy used in Singapore last summer, was included in a draft “borders enforcement” paper that was produced by Home Secretary Priti Patel’s department, The Guardian reports.
Introducing Australia and New Zealand-style “quarantine hotels”, in which travellers to the UK would be forced to spend their self-isolation period, and/or bringing in a blanket ban on travel are the more likely travel curbs expected to emerge in the coming days, with the Government playing down the tracking option.
More than 30 countries are under UK travel bans due to fears over new Covid variants, with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announcing via Twitter on Thursday night that Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo would be added to the list, effective from 4am Friday, due to the variant detected in South Africa. All people travelling to the UK are already required to produce a negative Covid-19 test before departure and self-isolate for 10 days on arrival.
In a press briefing on Thursday, Ms Patel said that it was “far too early” to be speculating if people should be booking a summer holiday adding that “when it comes to borders and travel, it’s right that the Government does everything we can right now to protect the roll-out of this vaccine.”
However, criticism of the UK’s border measures has come from a World Health Organisation consultant Alvaro Garbayo. After arriving in the UK on Thursday, Mr Garbayo tweeted Health Secretary Matt Hancock to say: “Border control at Heathrow a complete mess, a crowd queuing for more than one hour with not enough space to keep safe distance. Just making sure we all get infected before entering UK? Proactively pushing for herd immunity?”.
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