UK Covid live: Keir Starmer and Nicola Sturgeon criticise government over 'too leaky' borders

On a visit to Heathrow airport this morning Sir Keir Starmer restated his call for all arrivals to be subject to hotel quarantine. He told reporters:

Our concern isn’t their preparations, because they’re getting on with that.

Our concern is that we now know that there are variants in countries that aren’t on the red list. So this partial approach by the government isn’t going to work.

We are at this crucial stage now where it’s a race between the vaccine and variants and the only way through this is to buy time by having a comprehensive system of quarantine in hotels, wherever you come from.

Starmer also restated Labour’s claim that on Monday, when the government’s new hotel quarantine scheme comes into force, around 10,000 people will arrive in the UK from countries where the South African or Brazilian variant has been found that are not on the government’s “red list”. The Labour research suggests 10,000 arrivals a day from these countries could continue.

“I don’t think anybody would argue that’s a system that’s going to work,” Starmer said.

Here is a table from Labour that explains how they have calculated the 10,000 arrivals per day figure. Taking into account the number of passengers arriving in Scotland, where all international arrivals will be subject to hotel quarantine, Labour calculates that 10,096 people are likely to arrive in the UK on Monday from countries where the South African or Brazilian variants have been found without being subject to hotel quarantine. Labour describes these as “higher-risk” countries, although generally the number of cases of South African or Brazilian variant found in these countries so far is very small.

Data on arrivals to UK

Data on arrivals to UK Photograph: Labour

Labour says 29 of the 41 countries with cases of South Africa variant are currently not on the government’s “red list”. They are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, China, Cuba, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Ghana, Gambia, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Mayotte, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Sweden, the US, Vietnam.

And it says six of the 10 countries where the Brazilian variant has been found are not on the “red list”. They are: Germany, Faroe Isles, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, the US.


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