Priti Patel: We don’t know how many people coming into UK have coronavirus

"We do not have an estimate" says the Home Secretary.

The Home Secretary has admitted that the government do not know how many people coming into the country have coronavirus.

Speaking to the Home Affairs select committee, Priti Patel told MPs: “We don’t have the data…There is no testing at the border.”

She added: “Our overall approach on travel has consistently been advised by [scientific advisory group] SAGE.”

But the SAGE advice has not been published – nor have the select committee members seen the evidence.

On Friday, a total of 9,906 people entered the country. There is no testing at the border, or a quarantine period for those coming in,

Oxford University academics told the FT earlier this month that more than 130 countries have introduced some form of travel restrictions since the coronavirus outbreak began. These include screening, quarantine and bans on travel from high risk areas. “As a result, at least 90 per cent of the global population lives in countries with restrictions on non-citizens and non-residents arriving from abroad,” the paper reported.

The Home Secretary said the rules on coming into the UK are ‘under discussion…we are reviewing everything’.

The Home Office permanent secretary Shona Dunn confirmed: “We do not have an estimate” of people coming into the country with coronavirus.

The Home Secretary said 0.5% passengers arriving in UK were estimated to have coronavirus as of the 23rd March…but the department said they didn’t have the total number or any figures from April.

Conservative MP Ruth Edwards challenged Patel, saying the British public will ask: “Why am I having to stay home, if we’ve got people arriving in from coronavirus hot-spots every day with no quarantine measures at all?”

“The Home Office has not challenged or quizzed any of the advice they’ve been given” said select committee chair Yvette Cooper.

Committee member Stephen Doughty MP said most of the public would find it ‘baffling’ as to why there are few restrictions on flights in the UK.

Josiah Mortimer is co-editor of Left Foot Forward.

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2 Responses to “Priti Patel: We don’t know how many people coming into UK have coronavirus”

  1. Priti Patel: We don’t know how many people coming into UK have coronavirus - Politics Highlight - News from the Left and Right

    […] 29 April 2020Politics Highlight “We do not have an estimate” says the Home Secretary. Author: Josiah Mortimer | Source […]

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