COVID-19: Government science advisers cast doubt on effectiveness of partial travel bans | Politics News

The federal government’s personal scientific advisers have cast doubt on the effectiveness of a plan for partial travel bans to cease new coronavirus variants being imported.

They stated {that a} “reactive, geographically-targeted” strategy “can’t be relied upon”, after the federal government moved to dam all non-UK nationals and residents arriving from components of southern Africa and South America.

The recommendation got here on 21 January at a gathering of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), because the specialists stated there wold be a “lag between the emergence and identification of variants of concern”.

A plane passes over the Travelodge Hotel at Heathrow
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Labour stated the government-provided lodging doesn’t go far sufficient

They usually cautioned somebody coming from a rustic the place travel is banned might nonetheless carry a coronavirus variant throughout the border by “oblique travel by way of a 3rd nation”.

The proof comes regardless of ministers reassuring the general public they’re following the science, and rolling out a resort quarantine coverage SAGE additionally didn’t totally endorse.

Minutes launched on Friday from the assembly greater than two weeks in the past stated: “No intervention, aside from an entire, pre-emptive closure of borders, or the obligatory quarantine of all guests upon arrival in designated amenities, irrespective of testing historical past, can get shut to completely stop the importation of circumstances or new variants.”

Six days later, prime minister Boris Johnson introduced a plan to pressure UK nationals and residents arriving in England from round 30 nations to isolate in government-provided lodging, starting on 15 February.

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Why is not there a resort quarantine now?

Labour have known as for the scheme to be expanded to cowl all individuals arriving within the nation, as Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has introduced will apply north of the border.

Sir Keir Starmer requested Mr Johnson in parliament on Wednesday this week: “Why did the prime minister select to not do the one factor that SAGE stated might stop new variants coming to the UK?”

However Mr Johnson stated SAGE had not really useful “an entire ban” and in reality stated “a travel ban shouldn’t be relied upon to cease the importation of new variants”.

He added: “It isn’t sensible utterly to shut off this nation.”

At present, non-UK nationals and residents are banned from travelling into England from Portugal, southern African nations together with Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana, in addition to the South American nations like Argentina, Brazil and Columbia.

Fears have been raised over the unfold of the South African COVID-19 variant, after no less than 11 circumstances of neighborhood transmission in eight totally different postcodes have been found.

The variant just isn’t believed to have a considerably better impact on hospitalisations or deaths. Coronavirus vaccines are nonetheless efficient towards it, however could also be much less so.