Boris Johnson is under mounting pressure to say whether his planned trade trip to India impacted upon his government’s delay in implementing the strictest level of border controls with India, with Labour’s shadow home secretary accusing the prime minister of having “serious questions to answer” over suggestions “that he did not put the safety of the British people first.
Nick Thomas Symonds’ comments to The Independent came as health minister Edward Argar said there was no “hard and fast answer” on how many of the thousands who arrived from India during the four days between Matt Hancock’s “red list” announcement and its implementation may have been infected with the variant now threatening the government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
At a Downing Street briefing on Friday, the prime minister said the variant had created the “risk of disruption and delay”, plunging his government’s plans to end the lockdown on 21 June in jeopardy – but announced that step 3 of his roadmap would still go ahead in England on Monday, permitting pubs and restaurants to serve customers indoors and families to hug.
On Saturday, the British Medical Association warned the government must be willing to “apply the brakes” to its lockdown easing roadmap if necessary, with the doctors’ union urging the “utmost caution”.
It comes as Nicola Sturgeon urged her Glasgow South constituents to take a Covid test and “help get this outbreak under control”, following reports of multiple cases of the Indian variant in the area. Restrictions are due to begin lifting in every area of Scotland except the city of Glasgow on Monday as a result.