The Shadow Home Secretary and Member of Parliament for Torfaen, Nick Thomas-Symonds, has today commented on the U.K. Government’s decision this morning to make Covid-19 testing mandatory for those entering the country.
The decision means that all overseas travellers wishing to enter United Kingdom must provide a negative test result taken up to 72 hours before their departure. The announcement of these regulations followed several interventions over a number of months by Mr Thomas-Symonds, calling for protective measures at the border, most recently to halt the spread of the virus by limiting the risk of those travelling to the U.K. introducing possible new variants of Covid-19.
As long ago as April last year he wrote to the Home Secretary, the Rt Hon Priti Patel MP, asking for the science behind the UK Government’s approach to the border to be published, and pressed again in the House of Commons when quarantine measures were introduced by the Home Secretary in early June. He continued the pressure on border testing, including on the Andrew Marr Show in early September. Earlier this week, in a number of media appearances, and in an article he penned for The Times he highlighted the risks of not implementing tougher measures at borders, including importing new coronavirus strains, pressuring the Government to make the decision it has today. Mr Thomas-Symonds also highlighted issues with the quarantining system, using UK Government data to show a tiny number of people were being successfully contacted to ensure it was being observed.
Mr Thomas-Symonds said the UK Government decision to introduce mandatory testing before UK entry has been too slow given the risk of Covid-19 variants entering the country, including the strain that emerged in South Africa.
Nick Thomas-Symonds MP stated:
“The Government’s decision this morning to make coronavirus testing mandatory for arrivals into the United Kingdom is necessary, but it is frustrating that this took so long.
Conservative Ministers, often fond of international comparisons when discussing the pandemic, failed to look at measures other countries were taking at their borders at a far earlier stage.
We will continue to hold the Government account on effective implementation of this new regime, and the effectiveness of the quarantine system, and press them to adopt a coherent strategy for our borders, rather than lurching from crisis to crisis, as has been the case throughout.”