Boris Johnson’s Government today refused to mirror Donald Trump’s unprecedented ban on flights to and from mainland Europe to stem the spread of coronavirus with Chancellor Rishi Sunak insisting it won’t work.
Mr Trump blames the EU for failing to stop the killer virus in its tracks – but has exempted the UK and Ireland from his 30-day travel moratorium from midnight on Friday.
But Mr Sunak today insisted the government doesn’t believe stopping European flights is the ‘right thing’ on the day the Prime Minister will switch the nation from a ‘contain’ policy to ‘delay’.
He told the BBC: ‘We haven’t believed that that’s the right thing to do. The advice we’re getting is that there isn’t evidence that interventions like closing borders or travel bans are going to have a material effect on the spread of the infection’.
Critics including Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage have been arguing for weeks that EU freedom of movement is making the UK far more vulnerable to coronavirus.
US President Donald Trump last night announced a 30-day ban on all travel to the US from continental Europe with flights from 26 countries banned – excluding the UK and Ireland.
But it appears that British travellers who have been to one of the banned countries in the 14 days before arriving at the American border are expected to be turned away.
And there is also confusion about whether people from the UK who take one of the many cheaper non-direct flights to the US that stop in now-banned countries such as Germany, France, Holland, Norway and Iceland en route could also be sent back.