Is hotel quarantine enough to combat different strains of Covid-19?

Ruby discusses the controversial decision of keeping the UK borders open and the slow implementation of hotel quarantine

Ruby Story Dartford
23rd February 2021
Wikimedia Commons
With over 100,000 lives lost, how many more variants will enter the UK before travel corridors are closed?

As new rules have been imposed over recent weeks with a mandatory quarantine on arrival to the UK and the establishment of isolation hotels to deter travel, many have argued it is a little too late. With over 100,000 lives lost, and almost a year since lockdown regulations were first initiated, why and when will the UK close its borders?

When the UK’s epidemic emerged last Spring, evidence highlighted that travel corridors between Italy and the UK at the end of February last year contributed to the initial strains of the virus. Therefore, allowing borders to remain open will only welcome further cases to the UK. If suitable measures had been ensured at the start of the first wave, how different would life in the UK be now?

Increasing concerns have grown over border control given the mutations of the virus, evident through the new and emerging South African variant. Whilst many await the vaccine, there is no time like before to close travel corridors if we are to ensure other possible variants can remain under control.  If this cannot be implemented, there is a risk that the UK will once again become a breeding ground for new strains, more deaths, more lockdowns leading many to question, how more strains will threaten the UK before the government initiate border closure to protect the UK?

Whilst these questions will forever be unanswered, there are still many undivided opinions surrounding border control. PM Boris Johnson stated that it would not be ‘Practical’ for the UK to close borders given that medicine, food, and business supplies are essential and must be imported. Yet, whilst these necessities are essential, holidays are not. Several famous faces have been seen flouting the ten-day quarantine period over recent weeks as many have flocked to Dubai despite government guidelines stating that only essential travel is allowed. Whilst many have captured their controversial behaviour – punishments have been sparse, with many influential figures deemed higher than the power of the law.

If the borders are to remain open, the government must implement harsher and mandatory checks to ensure new variants are unable to enter the UK. Whilst hefty fines and isolation hotels have been established in recent weeks to deter those from flouting quarantine rules, there is fear that it is a little too late. Although many are eager to have their holiday fix, Cornwall instead of Croatia can be a great alternative to ensure the pandemic is behind the UK before international travel can continue. 

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AUTHOR: Ruby Story Dartford
Journalist Student studying at Newcastle University.

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