Ministers spent three months failing to answer a Labour MP’s question on the scientific basis for the hotel quarantine policy – and then told him they had run out of time to provide a response.
The prime minister announced the controversial policy for arrivals from “red list” countries – deemed high risk for coronavirus – on 27 January.
On the same day, the former culture secretary, Ben Bradshaw, submitted his question to the health secretary, Matt Hancock.
Mr Bradshaw, MP for Exeter, is a member of the Transport Select Committee and has championed the reopening of international travel.
He asked Mr Hancock: “What scientific evidence he consulted prior to introducing the hotel quarantine policy?”
While hotel quarantine has been used by countries such as Australia since March 2020, it was introduced in the UK only in February 2021.
Solo travellers arriving from red list nations such as India, South Africa and Brazil must pay £1,750 for 11 nights in self-isolation plus two post-arrival Covid tests. People arriving in the UK from other countries must self-isolate at home.
Some senior figures in aviation and tourism have contended that the government’s travel restrictions in response to the Covid crisis have been based on popularity with the public rather than scientific evidence…