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Covid-19: Sadiq Khan calls for airport quarantine hotels for people arriving in UK

22 January 2021, 11:01 | Updated: 22 January 2021, 11:25

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has called for people to quarantine for two weeks in hotels when they arrive in the country.

Mr Khan told LBC the UK needs tighter border controls to prevent dangerous coronavirus variants from entering the country.

Discussing the issue on Speak to Sadiq, he said: “We have had until now, even now, people arriving in our country, getting off a plane, using Tubes to go to home or to a hotel in the centre of London, that doesn’t make any sense to me.”

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“We should have much tighter controls at our borders... that includes not just tests before you arrive that are negative, tests when you arrive that are negative and staying in a hotel at the airport for at least a couple weeks until we know that you are ok to go about your business,” he said.

He added: “We shouldn't be embarrassed of saying... those countries where there is a particularly dangerous strain of the virus, we shouldn’t be allowing people from those countries to come to our country in this period.”

Mr Khan said the UK should be following the examples of Germany, Hong Kong and New Zealand in having “much tighter restrictions and controls over our borders".

The Government “hasn’t got a grip at all” of border control “since day one”, he said.

He continued: “One of things the Government says is they don’t want to stop international business", adding “they don't understand that businesses, the economy and health are inextricably linked”.

“Unless we get a grip on the virus, we’re never going to have a recovery for our economy either,” he said.

It comes after a recording emerged earlier this week of Home Secretary Priti Patel admitting the Government "should... have closed our borders earlier" and said she had pushed for that last March. 

Boris Johnson has since defended his approach, insisting the UK now has tough restrictions.

Education Secretary Gaving Williamson told LBC the Prime Minister “listened to the best advice that was available” when not introducing tougher border restrictions early in the pandemic.

On the possibility of having quarantine hotels for people arriving in the UK, Mr Williamson said: “That isn’t something that the Government is proposing at the moment but we’ve got a set of travel restrictions in order to be able to protect the population in the UK, if the medical and scientific advice is to more of course we would always look at doing more.”