Speaking in the House of Commons Chamber on Wednesday 3rd June 2020 in the Home Secretary’s statemen on Health measures at the UK Border. The Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP said:
I am afraid I simply cannot get my head around the public health mental gymnastics of this policy. If such a barrier is required, why was it not introduced earlier in the outbreak and if it is a contingency measure against a so-called second wave, why apply it to countries with a lower infection rate than we already have? Surely, the answer lies in the Government’s test and trace system, rather than unnecessary economic isolation. I know that my right hon. Friend is not answerable for the public health elements, but can she please tell us, from a Home Office perspective, in the event of air bridges being established: how will it be possible to identify transit and, more importantly, stopover passengers, who may be able to come to the UK through the bridge from higher-risk areas?
I thank my right hon. Friend for his point about transit passengers and future travel corridors—I am sure we will all agree on a term to use in the future. The fact of the matter is, from a Home Office perspective, that we have created the contact locator form. It is that data that will be instrumental in giving people that safe passage and the clearance to transit on to other locations. That piece of work has been done. We should look at how we can adapt that, again working with the aviation sector, so that in due course the form can contain so much more information, including covid test data or even electronic travel authorisation, which can help to bolster the industry and the sector, get people moving, planes flying and people travelling internationally again, and give the public confidence about the health protections they are looking for.