'Why the delay?' - Labour questions quarantine hotel rollout time frame

3 February 2021, 19:53 | Updated: 4 February 2021, 20:59

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Labour's Shadow Health Minister has questioned why it is taking so long to bring in quarantine hotels for travellers entering the UK.

Speaking to LBC's Iain Dale the Shadow Health Secretary praised the vaccine rollout but was not happy about the delay to other parts of the Government's plans.

During his interview with Iain Labour's Jonathan Ashworth said there had been "good news" on the vaccine front.

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Branding the rollout across the nation of the vaccine program as"impressive" Mr Ashworth said it was now vital the NHS receives all the support it needs.

The conversation comes after England's Chief Medical Officer said the prospect of all adults receiving both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine by August is "very optimistic."

But, Professor Chris Whitty said that while the vaccine rollout was "extraordinarily fast" - with more than 10 million people in the UK having now received their first dose - there were supply constraints.

Read more: One dose of Oxford Covid jab can 'reduce transmission of coronavirus by two thirds'

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Telling LBC he believed the Government will hit their targets for vaccinating the top four priority groups against Covid-19 by mid-February, Mr Ashworth said today's news about transmission was "significant."

Earlier on Wednesday Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a study showing a single dose of the Oxford vaccine may reduce transmission of coronavirus by two-thirds "categorically" supported the Government's strategy of delaying the rollout of the second jab.

Mr Ashworth said this led to the question as to what groups should be priorities for being vaccinated.

"On the vaccination front, it's good news today we've just got to keep going," he told LBC.

Read more: 10 million people in UK have now received first dose of Covid vaccine

But he did question why the Government had taken so long to introduce the planned mandatory quarantine for travellers entering the UK.

A system of quarantine is due to be introduced in the coming weeks that will further require those arriving from some countries to isolate in hotels.

Labour has urged the UK Government to go further and bring in a hotel quarantine system for all international arrivals as a way of keeping out mutant strains.

"Why the delay, why can't we get on with it now?" Mr Ashworth asked.