Hotel quarantine: Nick Thomas-Symonds discusses cost
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Government policy has mandated quarantine for people entering the UK from several countries this year. The traffic light system created three tiers, splitting nations into green, amber or red lists. People entering from red or amber nations will need to quarantine, but not if they enter the UK for a specific purpose.
Who can break quarantine?
Travel quarantine rules differ for those entering the UK from countries on the red or amber lists.
People can’t enter from a red-listed country unless they are British, Irish or have UK residency rights.
Travellers may only enter from an amber country if they isolate for ten days and take Covid tests on days two and eight.
But the Government’s new rule has allowed top executives to bypass this rule altogether.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) gave “senior” businesspeople the ability to break isolation.
They still need to quarantine on entry but can break it temporarily if their trip brings “significant economic benefit to the UK.”
These executives may break quarantine with written permission and solely for work-related activities.
If they can carry out these activities remotely or via an intermediary, they can’t claim this permission.
The new policy has quickly garnered controversy both from the general public and opposition MPs.
Angela Rayner, deputy leader of the Labour Party, was amongst the first to criticise the decision.
In a blistering tweet, she accused the Government of “taking the pi**”.
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She said it was just another example of “one rule for those at the top and another for everyone else.”
Ms Rayner added the “lowest-paid working people” shouldered most of the pandemic workload.
She said: “This is an offensive slap in the face for them and shows this Government’s true colours.
“This makes a total mockery of the sacrifices of the British people during this pandemic and this double standard is an insult to frontline workers that the British people will rightly be disgusted by.”
Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham joined her, stating the Government made “the wrong move at the wrong time.”
While Labour MP Richard Burgon stated ministers had created another rule “for the rich.”
Football pundit Gary Neville also took the opportunity to poke fun at the policy.
He joked everyone should “do what you want” as “we all bring value to the economy!”
The Government previously faced criticism like this when it refused to add India to the red list.
At the height of the country’s devastating second wave, people accused ministers of prioritising the economy over lives.
In April, when the Delta variant had started thriving in the country, public health officials warned ministers not to undo “progress we have made” by keeping India off the list.
Dr Simon Clarke, associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, said there “a political element” may have determined the move as the UK pursued a trade deal with India.
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