By Laura Kemp • 01 December 2021 • 12:01
Hundreds of travellers from red list countries enter UK “without any border checks”. image: Pixabay
According to a senior official close to Border Force and the Home Office, passengers travelling to the UK from southern African red list countries may be evading the £2,285 hotel quarantine due to passport control officers not checking their original departure airport.
This means that hundreds of people may have entered the UK and could be carrying the new Omicron super variant of Covid that has caused a new wave of restrictions.
An anonymous passenger told Metro of their “shambolic” experience at UK passport control saying there were “No checks at the UK border on if we had vaccines or a PCR booked.”
Professional officer at the Border Force union ISU Lucy Moreton also told i that passport control staff have not been told by the Home Office to check passenger locator forms.
However, the Home Office has insisted that these claims are “completely untrue” and that border officials have been given operational guidance to follow.
Ms Moreton said: “If you’re arriving in the UK on an indirect flight that originated in a red list country, you are required to declare that.”
“But that requires honesty on behalf of the passenger, as it is not being independently checked at passport control.”
“The Government has not instructed Border Force Officers to make such checks.”
According to i, an email was sent to Border Force from the Home Office at 5.35pm on Saturday, November 27, confirming new instructions, however, no further details have been disclosed.
There is currently a travel ban for 10 countries in southern Africa and ministers have not ruled out adding more to the list.
There have been 13 cases of the new variant in the UK so far and health secretary Sajid Javid has said this new strain “may be more transmissible” than the Delta variant.
He added that “the vaccines that we currently have may be less effective.”
Chief executive of UKHSA Dr Jenny Harries said: “It is very likely that we will find more cases over the coming days as we are seeing in other countries globally and as we increase case detection through focused contact tracing.”
“That is why it’s critical that anyone with Covid-19 symptoms isolates and gets a PCR test immediately.”
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Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features.
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