NICOLA Sturgeon has told Scots NOT to book holidays and threatened to “go further” on hotel quarantine ahead of Priti Patel’s announcement today.
Ms Sturgeon said there should be “supervised quarantine” for all arrivals into the UK rather than only people returning from high-risk countries.
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The PM confirmed this lunchtime the Home Secretary will set out this afternoon “even tougher measures” for any “red list” countries across Europe, Africa, and South America to try and keep out mutant strains.
It means all travellers will be forced to cough up as much as £1,500 for a 10 day stint in hotel quarantine.
Following a “four nations” call about quarantine hotels this morning, Nicola Sturgeon said she was “concerned that the proposal does not go far enough”.
She said Scotland would initially follow the UK Government approach, but a “comprehensive system of supervised quarantine” was needed and she was urging Boris Johnson to “go much further”
Ms Sturgeon said: “I’ve just taken part in a four nations call and I’ve been briefed on what the Prime Minister is likely to announce later on.
“I’m not going to pre-empt his announcement, it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to do so, but, you know, clearly there’s speculation in the newspapers.
“But I think I do have a duty at this point to say that I am concerned that the proposal does not go far enough, and I’ve made that point very strongly in the four nations discussions that we’ve just had today. “
So while the Scottish Government will initially emulate the UK Government steps on enhancing quarantine arrangements, we will be seeking urgently to persuade them to go much further, and indeed to move to a comprehensive system of supervised quarantine.
“Because of the obvious practical issues involved, we’re very clear that our preference is to have consistent quarantine rules across the UK.
“But if there is no agreement to go further on a four nations basis, we will be considering going further ourselves and we will set out any such additional measures next week.”
Ms Patel will unveil the tough new border policy during a speech to MPs this afternoon after criticism the current measures don’t go far enough.
It was reported that Ms Patel had pushed for a total closure of the UK’s borders, as Labour is demanding, but that was rejected by the PM.
She is also set to make it harder for Brits to leave the UK, with extra checks at airports.
Instead, under the new regime arrivals from the 30 most high risk countries will have to immediately quarantine in hotels near airports for 10 days.
Travellers will have to pick up the tab themselves. The expected average cost of £600 each, but it could rise to as high as £1,500.
Brits returning from red zones people are expected to be able to leave their quarantine three days early if they provide a negative test.
Destinations hit include parts of South America around Brazil, countries around South Africa, plus Portugal and Cape Verde – and maybe even celebrity haunt Dubai.
Communities secretary Rob Jenrick said the Government was taking action to ensure there is “less flow” of people into the country.
But he admitted it is impossible to “hermetically seal” Britain off from the rest of the world and completely rule out the introduction of new variants.
He said: “The reason for responding now at the borders is primarily because of the variants we’re seeing in South Africa and Brazil.
“Also because of the good news on the vaccine, that we are now becoming one of a small number of countries in the world in the privileged position to be vaccinating our population faster than others.”