Britain "too late" to quarantine visitors says government advisor

9 May 2020, 11:48 | Updated: 9 May 2020, 11:52

By Seán Hickey

The UK's slow reaction to coronavirus will lead to us being left behind by the rest of the world.

Professor Eyal Winter is an economist from Lancaster University and he has been advising the UK and Israeli governments on how to ease lockdown. He was speaking to Matt Frei on the news that the UK is introducing quarantine measures to people coming in to the country, which Mr Winter insisted was too late.

"Israel introduced these rules at the very beginning" he began, adding that such quarantines were also implemented with a specific area to act as the quarantine space, like a hotel, simply "somewhere that can be made sure that they are there" as the economist put. The government not being able to keep track of where people go to quarantine is a problem in Mr Winter's eyes.

Matt agreed, adding that "it's not going to be applied in any way that makes any sense." Eyal Winter insisted that in the UK, quarantine on incoming people "is not necessary at this point." "It makes sense to impose the rules on countries that are hit worse than the UK, there's not many like that unfortunately" the government advisor said. The fact that the UK is one of the worst-hit countries in the world means that there is little use of a quarantine here.

Matt wanted to know if Mr Winter would advise the Israeli government to "quarantine people from the UK." The lockdown advisor insisted he wouldn't make such a recommendation to any government, as it would create foreign policy issues.

A government advisor stated that quarantining flights has come too late
A government advisor stated that quarantining flights has come too late. Picture: PA

Mr Winter added that it is "less effective to quarantine people from countries that are less affected" than the UK.

Matt wanted to know if the UK didn't make the correct decisions from now on, "we could become the outcasts on the international travel scene." Mr Winter told Matt that this "could very well be the case." He assured Matt that the "disease is on the slow down" and could lead to a reduction in cases and allow for lockdown easing to be easier than initially thought.

Mr Winter warned against complacency here and insisted that the "main concern when we're opening up is that we won't be careful enough and we'll have to lockdown again." The best way to combat this for the economist was that "clear and mandatory rules for what's allowed and whats not" are introduced.

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