Immigration Controls: Coronavirus

Home Office written question – answered on 5th May 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Brady Baroness Brady Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce COVID-19 health checks and quarantine measures at the borders and entry points for people travelling to the UK; and if not, why not. [T]

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department

Our approach to tackling coronavirus is driven by the latest scientific and medical advice. In line with that advice to date, no changes have been required at the UK border.

Any decision to implement additional restrictions on international travel to the UK or on arrival at ports/airports will be made based on the consideration and advice of SAGE/Public Health England.

We will continuously review the most appropriate response at the UK border to the changing situation in relation to CV-19, both in the UK and across the international community

To date medical and scientific advice is that screening at the border, particularly given the current low passenger volumes and CV-19 levels within the UK, would make no material impact. There are also significant challenges with thermal screening including:

  • Low likelihood of identifying individuals with COVID-19 given the incubation period can be anywhere between 2 and 14 days;
  • High probability of identifying false positives or those with other conditions who will need clinical assessments to ascertain they have Covid-19; and
  • Easy to circumvent: by taking fever-suppressing drugs.
  • There are similar concerns with clinical screening.

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