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COVID-19: Home quarantine rule for travellers to UK ‘just doesn’t work’, says Professor Neil Ferguson


Professor Neil Ferguson, part of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), suggested that anything other than the tough border restrictions imposed by countries such as Australia and New Zealand was “window dressing”.

The government has been facing calls to scrap its “amber list” of countries, from which people returning to the UK have to quarantine for 10 days at home.

By contrast, those returning from “red list” countries have to quarantine in a government-managed hotel, while those coming back from “green list” countries don’t have to quarantine.

Prof Ferguson, whose modelling is said to have been instrumental in ministers’ decision to impose the first lockdown last year, highlighted how travellers from India – where the Delta variant was first discovered – had been expected to quarantine at home in the first part of this year before the country was added to the “red list” on 23 April.

“I think the lessons are that if you take the policy of Australia and New Zealand then it can be effective,” Prof Ferguson told a Royal Society of Medicine webinar on Thursday.

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