LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that his country is planning to impose tougher border measures on Wednesday to stop new variants of COVID-19 from getting into the country.
The prime minister said that as he promised to deliver a roadmap out of lockdowns that have shuttered much of the economy.
The government is expected to bring in quarantine hotels for those coming to Britain from high-risk countries where new strains of the coronavirus have emerged – so-called red list nations – such as South Africa and those in South America.
The move comes as Britain’s death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 100,000, the first European state to reach that figure, leading to further questions about Johnson’s handling of the crisis.
The Home Secretary (interior minister) will be setting out later today…even tougher measures for those red list countries where we are particularly concerned about new variants,” Johnson told parliament when asked about plans to strengthen Britain’s borders.
Britain saw infections soar at the end of last year after a highly-contagious new variant that emerged in southeast England surged through the population, taking cases and later deaths to record levels.
Since the start of January, all the United Kingdom has faced lockdowns which have closed schools, pubs, and restaurants to all bar takeaways with the public told they must stay home as much as possible.
Johnson and his ministers have faced repeated questions, including from many in his own party, on when measures would be eased especially with regard to school closures. He told lawmakers he would address that issue later on Wednesday when he is due to host a media conference.
Read more: Coronavirus claims 58 more lives in Pakistan last 24 hours