James Cleverly says no hotels are signed up for quarantine
During a tense BBC Breakfast interview on Friday morning, the Foreign Office Minister was grilled regarding Government plans to bring in the new quarantine measures amid fears coronavirus mutant strains may enter the UK via travellers flying in from virus hotspots. The mandatory quarantine hotels, where people arriving into the UK from one of the Government’s 33 red list countries are expected to isolate, are due to begin to operate from February 15.
However, BBC host Charlie Stayt challenged the Minister on how many hotels have been recruited so far as part of the new policy.
Mr Stayt said: “So just be clear this comes in on the 15 of February and as it stands today as you speak to me,
“There are no hotels signed up.
“Would that be fair to say?”
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Mr Cleverly replied: “Well, to be fair the formal announcement only came out just late last night, very very early this morning.
The senior Conservative also took aim at the phrasing of the question, to which Mr Stayt replied: “I have just asked you if that is true or not.”
“Well, the point I am making is the announcement only came out at about one minute past midnight this morning,
“It is unsurprising that no one has formally signed up to this,” continued Mr Cleverly.
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“But the whole point of this is we give the hotels notice.
“Because they will need to change the way they operate, we are asking them to do something very different.
“We are giving them time to make those adjustments and we are also giving ourselves time to ensure that this policy is effective.
“By working with international partners and giving our border enforcement officials the time they need to prepare to make this work.”
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has defended his hotel quarantine plan this week which has been devised in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus as a result of new emerging Covid variants.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions this week, the PM said: “It is not practical to completely close off this country as he seems to be suggesting.
“What is practical to do is to have one of the toughest regimes in the world.”
The quarantine hotel scheme is expected to remain in force until at least March 31, with passengers paying up to £800 per person for their stay.
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