Environment Secretary: It's not the right time to close UK borders

22 January 2021, 16:17 | Updated: 22 January 2021, 16:19

By Sam Sholli

This is the moment Environment Secretary George Eustice told LBC he doesn't think it's right to close the borders.

The Government closed all UK travel corridors earlier this week - which had allowed arrivals from some countries to avoid having to quarantine - until at least 15 February.

Also this week, Oxford University research has found Britain currently has the worst daily coronavirus death rate in the world.

Despite this, there was a slight drop in the number of people infected with coronavirus in England after lockdown measures were brought in, figures show.

Across England, around one in 55 people in private households had the disease between January 10 to 16, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Mr Eustice answered questions from LBC's Nick Ferrari on why the UK borders have not been shut: "Well this was looked at last week by the Prime Minister and those involved in the Covid sub-committee."

"They decided in the end, I think rightly, to require pre-travel testing so that everybody who comes here must have a test and then to require everyone who comes here to quarantine for two weeks and to remove all of the exemption that had been in place prior to that.

"So I think that's the right proportionate approach now. We are watching very closely because there's concern around other variants of the virus that might emerge in other parts of the world and the possible risk of that to the vaccine programme.

"So it's right that we are cautious about travel. But we don't think it's right at the moment to close it down altogether and close the border."

Previously, Labour MP Yvette Cooper interrogated the PM intensely over why there was no travel ban from Brazil after the announcement of the new strain.

Her strong message was that the Government's decisions around travel have not been stringent enough nor timely enough to have an effect.