UK Border: Covid Protections

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:36 pm on 26th January 2021.

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Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Secretary of State for the Home Department 12:36 pm, 26th January 2021

The Chair of the Home Affairs Committee will be aware, with regard to her comments about last year, that the advice from Government was to stay at home, and clearly the point of that was not to travel. She asked, rightly, about the scenes at Heathrow airport at the weekend, and the fact is that those queues materialised because of the compliance checks that Border Force had put in place. I would like to thank Heathrow airport, because, as she will also be aware, we—colleagues in Border Force—work with the airport operators on social distancing measures at the airport. That is a joint piece of work that takes place, and all airports take responsibility for their work and how they manage their flows. Border Force, in particular, is there to enforce the checks, as it does now, achieving 100% coverage. It is also now working with London Heathrow airport’s assistant organisation—its contractors—HAL, which is also working as a triage function to make sure that people are being checked. I think the British public and the travelling public would just like that reassurance and that welcome news that checks are in place. If that means queues, obviously, we are working with airport operators in terms of how they are supported and triaged as arrivals come into the airport.