Anyone entering the UK could be forced to go into quarantine for two weeks under plans being discussed in government.
Dominic Raab, who has been standing in as prime minister for nearly three weeks while Boris Johnson recovers from coronavirus, confirmed the proposals are under consideration.
Appearing on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Mr Raab was quizzed on a report in the Sunday Telegraph that all travellers arriving in the country will need to fill out a landing card with details about their health, as well as the address where they will self-isolate.
A communications campaign would also be rolled out across the world to warn passengers of what to expect when they arrive in the UK and to dissuade them from coming in the first place, the newspaper added.
Asked whether the government is going to start limiting flights coming into the UK or quarantining people once they arrive, Mr Raab said “any new measures that are necessary” will be taken as ministers consider the “second phase” of the outbreak.
He added: “That’s something that we will be looking at and it could include the testing for people coming in, it could include social distancing measures and we’ll make sure… that we are absolutely on top of the scientific evidence and are taking all the measures that are necessary to protect people’s health, to protect their life but also to preserve our way of life as we go forward, economically and socially.”
Two weeks is the maximum amount of time it takes before someone infected with coronavirus can start to show symptoms.
Mr Raab denied that the current lack of temperature checks, or telling people to quarantine when they arrive, was problematic because the virus is already spreading so much across the country.
He said: “The advice so far is that it would make almost no impact on the spread of the virus because of the decrease in the number of people travelling and the fact that the transmission rate within the UK is high.
“But we have continually throughout tested this with the scientists and the chief medical officer, to make sure that as the evidence changes or if we move to a second phase, we are able to take any new measures that are necessary.”
It comes as the Foreign Office confirmed five charter flights from Bangladesh will bring British travellers back to the UK – leaving from Dhaka for London between 29 April and 7 May.
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