Ministers are finalising plans to impose a mandatory 10-day hotel quarantine for all travels arriving to the UK–including returning Brits.
Despite Boris Johnson's initial apprehension to include British residents in the potentially forthcoming travel restrictions, ministers are urging the Prime Minister to sign off on the proposal in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus.
Travelling restrictions to apply to all nationalities
This would entail all travellers looking to enter the UK to self-isolate in airport hotels–much like what Australia is doing at the moment–and pay for accommodation fees from their own pockets in addition to their travel expenses. This would apply to every single person coming to the UK regardless of their nationality and where they are coming from.
When asked what his thoughts were regarding a universal ban on everyone entering the UK, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News that:
We have got to have a precautionary principle. We've introduced pre-departure testing... but it is absolutely vital that we protect this country from a new variant that may not be as well dealt with by the vaccine. We cannot risk the progress that we've made.
Support from the general public
Although Chancellor Rishi Sunak had previously favoured a less severe approach to the hotel quarantine scheme, he is now reportedly on board with the initiative. This will likely have an influencing impact on the PM's decision to avoid jeopardising the vaccine rollout.
Additionally, Mr. Hancock explained that all 77 cases of the South African strain found in the UK were directly linked to travellers, as well as the nine cases of the Brazilian variant that have emerged.
In a recent poll conducted by the campaign group One Rule For Them showed that 79% of the 1,109 adults questioned, believe that there should have been stricter border controls much earlier to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.
The UK is currently the second European country with the most positive cases in the world behind Russia with experts believing it is only a matter of weeks before the UK takes the top spot.