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Fewer than 300 passengers were isolated ahead of UK lockdown

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Stephen Doughty

Stephen Doughty

Stephen Doughty

Under 300 passengers out of millions coming into the UK from coronavirus hotspots were put into quarantine in the three months before lockdown.

Data provided to Labour MP Stephen Doughty and published by the Guardian showed that 273 passengers travelling from China and Japan were taken to government isolation centres between January 1 and March 23.

These included travellers on three evacuation flights from Wuhan in China, the source of the outbreak, and one from Japan carrying cruise ship passengers.

Total passenger figures for the same period show that, during those three months, just under 18.1 million people entered the UK from all destinations on scheduled flights or by land or sea.

Mr Doughty submitted a parliamentary written question to find out how many people arriving at the UK border from Spain, China, Italy, the US, Iran, Turkey and France were taken to government-supported Covid-19 quarantine centres in each week from January 1 to March 23.

The breakdown was:

  • 83 passengers who arrived on an evacuation flight from Wuhan on January 31;
  • 11 passengers on a French-led evacuation flight, again from Wuhan, on February 2;
  • 147 people on a final evacuation flight from Wuhan on February 9;
  • 32 passengers who had been on board the Diamond Princess Cruise ship and were flown to the UK from Tokyo.

The figures were released amid questions over the government's decision not to screen or quarantine more passengers coming from abroad.

Belfast Telegraph