The UK government will not hesitate to reintroduce emergency measures to keep the country safe as COVID-19 cases soar in Europe, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Thursday.
“I am worried about a second wave. I think you can see a second wave starting to roll across Europe, and we’ve got to do everything we can to prevent it from reaching these shores, and to tackle it,” the Metro newspaper reported citing Hancock as saying to Sky News.
He added that “it’s not just Spain” that is a concern, despite the Mediterranean country being the centre of a row over quarantine rules for British holidaymakers coming home.
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Hancock’s remarks follow reports that the government is set to announce changes to self-isolation rules later Thursday.
The changes could see those with COVID-19 symptoms told to quarantine for 10 days instead of seven.
Hinting that these changes could go ahead, Hancock said: “This is a decision that’s clinically led. The chief medical officer (Chris Whitty) will be setting out details later today.
“I can’t steal his thunder but what I will say is we will always do what is necessary to protect people and we’re guided by the clinical judgement, by the science in this.”
The Health Secretary also said Ministers were looking at ways to reduce the 14-day quarantine period for new arrivals to the UK from at-risk countries.
Thursday’s development comes after the UK decided to remove Spain from its list of safe countries following a rise of infections, requiring holidaymakers returning to the UK to self-isolate for 14 days, reports the Metro newspaper.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called the decision “unjust” and argued that parts of Britain were more prone to infections than the Balearic and Canary islands as well as a regions of Valencia and Andalusia.
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