PM: red list and hotel quarantine to be reviewed

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By Linsey McNeill
Home » PM: red list and hotel quarantine to be reviewed

Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed on Wednesday that travel bans and mandatory hotel quarantine for arrivals from red-listed countries will be reviewed following the rampant spread of Omicron around the world.

Speaking at a Downing Street briefing on Wednesday evening, he hinted that the UK might scrap the deeply unpopular mandatory hotel quarantine now that the COVID variant is no longer contained within the 11 countries currently on the UK’s red list.

He was responding to a question from a member of the public who asked why fully vaccinated people arriving from red list countries can’t self-isolate at home instead of being forced to pay to quarantine in a hotel.

Mr Johnson said: “I think that’s a very fair challenge. I think given the way Omicron is now seeded around the world and not just in red listed countries I think we will be looking at the red list and the way that we do it.”

However, the PM insisted that it had been important to have ‘very tough border measures to slow the arrival of the variant’.

England reintroduced its red list on 26 November, added six countries in southern Africa where the Omicron variant had been detected. It has since added five more countries in Africa to the list.

But leading epidemiologist Professor Tim Spector said earlier this week that travel bans would be pointless within a week as by then Omicron will be widespread across the UK.

On Thursday, lawyers will ask the High Court for a judicial review of the hotel quarantine process, claiming it is a breach of human rights.

Mr Johnson used Wednesday’s briefing to announce a return to working from home ‘where possible to do so’ from 13 December and mandatory face masks in most public venues including theatres and cinemas from 10 December.

From next week, the NHS COVID Pass or negative lateral flow tests will be needed to enter nightclubs and some other venues, but those who’ve been in contact with someone with COVID will be able to test daily rather than self-isolating.

The PM also hinted that vaccines could become mandatory, saying there could come a need ‘for a national conversation’ about the issue.

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