Ministers must “get a grip” on people arriving in the UK from abroad to stop the spread of coronavirus, the Mayor of London has said, as he backed calls for a full national lockdown.
Sadiq Khan expressed his frustration about the “ease” with which foreign travellers can come into the capital, and demanded stricter quarantining and testing regimes.
He said powers relating to quarantine rules lie with the Government, rather than the Mayor’s Office, and that his calls have so far “fallen on deaf ears”.
In an interview with the PA news agency, Mr Khan also criticised the Government for failing to be clear with its messaging on what people need to do – and insisted that police are enforcing the rules.
He said a “full national lockdown” akin to the one in March is needed because hospitals are now “as busy – if not busier – than they were in March, April and May”, despite the restrictions being “less onerous”.
On international travel, he said: “Other countries that have been affected have not allowed people to come in unless they properly quarantine for a period of time and there is proper testing.
“If you compare and contrast what happens at our airports in relation to the airports in, for example, Seoul, there is a big difference.
“So I’m really frustrated, as the mayor of a city with a number of airports serving us – Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, City, plus the Eurostar – at the ease with which people can come in to our city, potentially with new strains of the virus.
“And that’s what we’ve been calling on the Government to make sure they stop the virus coming in through other means, and that’s why it is really important for them also to get a grip with international travel in relation to this virus.”
He added: “I’m asking for much more strict controls in relation to those arriving in our country, including not least far more testing at the point of arrival and proper quarantining before they leave the airport firstly for the testing and before they can leave their homes.”