BBC Breakfast’s Naga Munchetty clashed with Home Office minister Victoria Atkins over why the UK’s hotel quarantine standards are lower than Australia.
The quarantine scheme, which will be introduced from February 15, means that anyone arriving in the UK from a ‘red list’ of locations will need to self-isolate for 10 days in accommodation approved by the government.
It is intended to make sure people follow the rules, and reduce the risk from new strains of coronavirus such as those identified in South Africa and in Brazil.
The rules in Australia, which were introduced last year, means that anyone staying in a quarantine hotel are not allowed to leave their rooms at all, even for fresh air.
‘There are some differences to the Australian system,’ Naga explain to viewers. ‘Here travellers will be allowed outside for fresh air or to smoke if they are accompanied by security.’
Naga began by quizzing the MP on why we are not following the same standards in the UK as Australia.
‘We are following our own data in our country and applying the measures that apply in our own country,’ Atkins began.
‘We have some of the strongest border measures in the world and as of Monday, the introduction of the red list set of countries, these measures will be even stronger.’
Pushing her further to answer the question, Naga asked: ‘Is the virus not as troublesome in this country as it is in Australia?’
Reiterating what she said before, the MP explained that we ‘need to look at measures in our own country’.
She continued: ‘Let’s not forget that over the course of the past year, we have had measures as close to the borer as necessary and now anyone who is planning a holiday, it is illegal to go abroad on holiday.’
Interrupting the Home Minister, Naga continued: ‘Sorry, I think the focus has shifted, we are talking about the quarantine, the hotel quarantine system, that’s what I’m talking about, sorry if that wasn’t clear.
‘The Australian system involves no leaving the rooms for fresh air breaks or cigarette breaks and different masks being worn by those in those hotels.
‘Why are our standards lower than that?’
‘Our standards are among the strongest in the world,’ Atkins replied.
‘Yes, but they are lower than that, they are lower than that, the question was why are they lower than that?’ Naga interrupted again.
The MP defended the standards implemented in the UK, as she explained that anyone who travels from a red list country will be ‘escorted with security guards to a government facilitated hotel
She continued: ‘They will be required to stay in that room with the occasional gulps of fresh air that you have referred to.
‘But they are required to stay in that room for 10 days, they will have already had a negative Covid test before they set foot on the plane to return to the UK.’
She went on explain that once the travellers are at the hotels, they will then be required to take another two tests.
‘These are strong measures,’ she added.
According to reports, Australia have been forced to tighten its restrictions and are under review again after a repeated number of outbreaks among staff and guests at one of the quarantine hotels.
It also comes after the Australian state of Victoria was put into a five-day circuit breaker in a bid to suppress an outbreak linked to its hotel quarantine system.
BBC Breakfast airs weekdays at 6am on BBC One.
Credit: Original article published here.