Anyone flying into the UK will have to self-isolate for 14 days under new Government plans 

Everyone entering the UK will be forced to quarantine for a fortnight under plans being drawn up by the Government. The move follows growing pressure for tighter border controls during the coronavirus crisis and would include UK citizens returning from abroad. 

Airport bosses have complained that the failure to limit arrivals and check passengers has made a mockery of the lockdown. 

The Mail on Sunday understands that the plan – similar to one operated by Singapore – was agreed during a meeting of Ministers and officials on Wednesday. 

Officials were told to look at ways to enforce compliance, including large fines or even criminal prosecution, under powers introduced by the Coronavirus Act. 

It was agreed the authorities could visit registered addresses of arrivals to ensure they were not breaking their quarantine. 

An unusually empty Heathrow airport. Under new rules everyone coming back into the UK may have to be isolated for as long as fourteen days

An unusually empty Heathrow airport. Under new rules everyone coming back into the UK may have to be isolated for as long as fourteen days

An unusually empty Heathrow airport. Under new rules everyone coming back into the UK may have to be isolated for as long as fourteen days

The emergency legislation gives immigration officials the power to remove a potentially infectious person to a suitable place for screening and assessment, and for public health officers to enforce restrictions on movement. 

The new measures would be backed by a global communications campaign to warn travellers what to expect if they come to the UK. 

A Government source said: ‘A stringent, Singapore-style approach at our ports will help the UK manage the risk from travellers entering the country and reduce the possibility of a second peak. 

‘We are looking at deploying these measures at the right time, in line with the scientific advice and when community transmission has been significantly reduced.’

A 14-day quarantine of arrivals has already been implemented in dozens of countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and Greece. Japan and Hong Kong introduced Covid-19 tests for all arrivals in mid-January – with those testing positive immediately taken to hospital, and those who test negative placed in isolation. 

More than 130 countries have introduced some form of travel restriction, quarantine and bans on travel from high-risk areas. 

At least 90 per cent of the world’s population lives in countries with restrictions on non-citizens and non-residents arriving from abroad, with Britain criticised for allowing anyone to arrive free of checks. 

While many countries have put in place health tests for airport arrivals the UK has no such system. Although flight numbers are down there are still people entering the UK everyday

While many countries have put in place health tests for airport arrivals the UK has no such system. Although flight numbers are down there are still people entering the UK everyday

While many countries have put in place health tests for airport arrivals the UK has no such system. Although flight numbers are down there are still people entering the UK everyday

More than 15,000 people arrive in the UK each day, with hundreds of thousands of UK nationals being repatriated since the outbreak began, including 200,000 from Spain, one of the worst-hit countries. 

Since January, officials in China and other countries in the Far East and Middle East have been using infra-red cameras to screen travellers with high temperatures. Those who appear red on the screen are singled out for a consultation by health professionals and in some cases tested for the disease. 

However, the World Health Organisation says entry screening is ‘not effective’ because it can take two weeks for a virus carrier to display symptoms. 

Only a few cases have been detected at airports in China, Thailand and Malaysia. Lorry drivers bringing in vital supplies to the UK could be exempt from the clampdown. 

Scientists hail game-changing immunity test: Government orders 50MILLION antibody testing kits that work in 20 minutes and could be ready by June as Boris Johnson returns to work on Monday 

Ministers have ordered production of up to 50 million new immunity tests as part of what experts hope will be a ‘game-changing’ development in the battle against Covid-19.

A breakthrough by a team of top British scientists means that, by June, people could be able to reliably test whether they have developed immunity to the virus – and then be allowed to return to work and socialise as normal.

The dramatic news comes as Boris Johnson prepares to go back to work in Downing Street tomorrow, having told aides that he is ‘raring to go’ in the fight against the virus which nearly killed him.

The pandemic reached another grim milestone yesterday as the UK death toll passed 20,000 – up by 813 in 24 hours. 

Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, last month said keeping deaths below 20,000 would be a ‘good outcome’.

The grim 20,000 milestone - which also saw the number of people testing positive for coronavirus rise by 4,913 to 148,377 - came as the coronavirus lockdown continued into its fifth weekend and the Government faced calls for greater transparency over the scientific advice given to ministers on the outbreak

The grim 20,000 milestone - which also saw the number of people testing positive for coronavirus rise by 4,913 to 148,377 - came as the coronavirus lockdown continued into its fifth weekend and the Government faced calls for greater transparency over the scientific advice given to ministers on the outbreak

The grim 20,000 milestone – which also saw the number of people testing positive for coronavirus rise by 4,913 to 148,377 – came as the coronavirus lockdown continued into its fifth weekend and the Government faced calls for greater transparency over the scientific advice given to ministers on the outbreak

The new immunity tests, expected to cost £10, have been devised by scientists at Oxford, working for the Government-backed Rapid Testing Consortium.

Boris Johnson says he is ‘raring to go’ and will start work on Monday to ‘tighten his grip on coronavirus crisis’ 

Boris Johnson will return from his Chequers convalescence tomorrow determined to ‘tighten his grip’ on a Government which has often appeared to flounder in his absence.

The Prime Minister told aides during a three-hour Covid-19 strategy session that doctors had given him permission to return.

‘I’m raring to go,’ he insisted.

Mr Johnson, who was discharged from St Thomas’ Hospital in Central London two weeks ago, has spent the past week easing back into something closer to a normal workload, making calls to Ministers, working on official papers and holding a series of – sometimes erratic – meetings on Zoom.

 

Users of the test provide a pinprick of blood for analysis. Then, like a pregnancy test, if two lines appear after a 20-minute wait, people know that they have the antibodies. One line means they are either vulnerable to coronavirus infection or the test has failed.

Under plans being drawn up, the user would take a picture of the positive result and send it to a central unit which would enter their details into a database.

The consortium believes it could produce up to 1 million of the ‘lateral flow’ tests a week by the summer, adding up to 50 million by next year.

Last night, Health Minister Lord Bethell said: ‘This is a great story of how our manufacturers are stepping up to the challenge of Covid, and I am hopeful that their product will make an impact in our battle against this terrible disease.’

There is, however, likely to be scepticism about the plan due to Ministers’ struggle to reach the current target of 100,000 tests a day for those feared to be carrying the virus. 

On Friday, a Government website ran out of home virus tests for key workers in just 15 minutes.

The Government plan also defies World Health Organisation advice that countries should not issue so-called ‘immunity passports’ to ease lockdowns because there was no evidence that people who developed antibodies after recovering from the virus were protected against a second infection.

Boris Johnson says he is ‘raring to go’ and will start work on Monday to ‘tighten his grip on coronavirus crisis and offer more clarity on response’

By Glen Owen, Harry Cole and Brendan Carlin for the Mail on Sunday

Boris Johnson will return from his Chequers convalescence tomorrow determined to ‘tighten his grip’ on a Government which has often appeared to flounder in his absence.

The Prime Minister told aides during a three-hour Covid-19 strategy session that doctors had given him permission to return.

‘I’m raring to go,’ he insisted.

Mr Johnson, who was discharged from St Thomas’ Hospital in Central London two weeks ago, has spent the past week easing back into something closer to a normal workload, making calls to Ministers, working on official papers and holding a series of – sometimes erratic – meetings on Zoom.

Mr Johnson, who was discharged from St Thomas’ Hospital in Central London two weeks ago, has spent the past week easing back into something closer to a normal workload, making calls to Ministers, working on official papers and holding a series of – sometimes erratic – meetings on Zoom

Mr Johnson, who was discharged from St Thomas’ Hospital in Central London two weeks ago, has spent the past week easing back into something closer to a normal workload, making calls to Ministers, working on official papers and holding a series of – sometimes erratic – meetings on Zoom

Mr Johnson, who was discharged from St Thomas’ Hospital in Central London two weeks ago, has spent the past week easing back into something closer to a normal workload, making calls to Ministers, working on official papers and holding a series of – sometimes erratic – meetings on Zoom

A source said: ‘Boris is tightening his grip. You are going to see much greater clarity, energy and purpose now.’

It comes after splits opened up in the Government over how to map a path out of the lockdown, and criticism of Ministers for failing to introduce widespread testing and source adequate supplies of protective equipment for health workers.

During the three-hour Chequers summit, which included Cabinet Ministers such as Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill and aides including chief adviser Dominic Cummings and No 10 Director of Communications Lee Cain, Mr Johnson was given a detailed briefing on the policy work being carried out on Covid-19.

Mr Sunak presented an economic blueprint based on the ‘best practice’ that has been shown to work in countries such as Switzerland, Denmark and Germany.

It is understood the Chancellor briefed Mr Johnson on a four-point plan to reopen non-essential shops, change working patterns and then open schools – as well as making ‘hygienic measures’ a permanent fixture in Britain’s workplaces.

Mr Sunak highlighted plans in Austria where shops over 400 sq m (4,300 sq ft) and hardware stores and garden centres have already reopened, while in Germany hairdressers are open as long as staff and clients wear protective clothing. 

And he championed the Czech Republic’s five-stage plan to lift all domestic restrictions by June 8, with particular focus on the country’s plans to start by opening farmers’ markets and car dealerships.

UK coronavirus cases are STILL too high to ease lockdown and the UK’s track-and-trace infrastructure would collapse with a new spike in cases, member of secretive SAGE committee warns

Leading scientists have poured cold water on hopes the lockdown could be relaxed, warning the rate of new infections is still too high.  

Tacking to a containment strategy based on rigorous testing and contact tracing is widely touted as the route to easing restrictions.

But the UK’s track-and-trace infrastructure would cripple under the load of daily cases at their current levels, experts have said.

They have lined up behind Professor John Edmunds, who sits on the government’s scientific advisory group, Sage, to not jump the gun on lifting the social distancing.

The warnings came as Britain passed the grim 20,000-death milestone in the coronavirus outbreak.

A further 813 recorded fatalities took the total toll to 20,319, while cases also rose by 4,913 to 148,377. 

Professor Edmunds, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said this influx of daily cases would stretch contact tracing capacity to breaking point. 

A further 813 recorded fatalities took the total toll to 20,319, while cases also rose by 4,913 to 148,377

A further 813 recorded fatalities took the total toll to 20,319, while cases also rose by 4,913 to 148,377

A further 813 recorded fatalities took the total toll to 20,319, while cases also rose by 4,913 to 148,377 

Experts have lined up behind Professor John Edmunds, who sits on the government's scientific advisory group, Sage, to not jump the gun on lifting the social distancing

Experts have lined up behind Professor John Edmunds, who sits on the government's scientific advisory group, Sage, to not jump the gun on lifting the social distancing

Experts have lined up behind Professor John Edmunds, who sits on the government’s scientific advisory group, Sage, to not jump the gun on lifting the social distancing

The number of people to have tested positive for the deadly bug surged by 4,913 to 148,377, it was revealed on Saturday afternoon

The number of people to have tested positive for the deadly bug surged by 4,913 to 148,377, it was revealed on Saturday afternoon

The number of people to have tested positive for the deadly bug surged by 4,913 to 148,377, it was revealed on Saturday afternoon

‘If we lifted the lockdown now, the testing and tracing system would be overwhelmed,’ he told the Observer

‘We will have to get case numbers down a lot lower than they are now before we can think of lifting current regulations.’   

Professor Paul Hunter, professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, said the true number of cases could be double the official figure.

He said: ‘The World Health Organisation said yesterday that about half of all deaths in Europe are occurring in residence of elderly care homes.

‘We know for a fact the figures reported every day are an underestimate, possibly a significant underestimate of the total number of deaths.’

He added the UK is well on track to hit 30,000 deaths in hospital, perhaps even 40,000 before the pandemic is brought under control.

In a bleak prediction, Prof Hunter said ‘We are undoubtedly going to have one of the highest death rates in Europe.’ 

Ministers have doubled down their calls for people to stay indoors amid signs swathes of the public are growing restless with life under lockdown.  

This weekend, Britons were seen basking in the unseasonably warm weather, while the level of traffic on the roads also began to steadily creep upwards.  

Pressure is growing on the government to publish a blueprint out of lockdown, in step with Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon who promised to treat her electorate ‘like grown ups’ when she sketched out a plan to phase out curbs.

Countries across the world are also starting to reveal their plans to relax tough distancing measures.

But ministers in Westminster continue to deflect calls for an exit strategy and stick to hammering their core message to obey the guidance.

At yesterday’s Downing Street press briefing, Home Secretary Priti Patel urged the public to ‘stay strong’ and observe social distancing.   

Professor Stephen Powis, the medical director of NHS England who flanked the Home Secretary, insisted the social distancing measures were having an effect.

However, he emphasised the difficulties in dealing with a new virus which had created a ‘once-in-a-century global health crisis’.

He said: ‘This was going to be a huge challenge not just for the UK, but for every country.

‘Even in countries that have got on top of this early on, we are unfortunately beginning to see new infections.

‘So I think the first thing to emphasise is that this unfortunately is not going to be something we will begin to get over in the next few weeks.

‘This is something we are going to have to continue working our way through over the months ahead – as I have said before this is not a sprint, this will be a marathon.’   

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