UK travel quarantine not ‘absolutely essential’, says WHO envoy

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The UK’s travel quarantine is “not absolutely essential from a public health perspective” and could result in Britons facing a similar situation when they travel abroad, according to a World Health Organisation (WHO) special envoy.

Dr David Nabarro said: “There are parts of Europe where there’s very little virus at the moment or even no virus. And it would seem, to me, not to be perhaps absolutely essential from a public health perspective to be denying entry of people who have come from countries where there’s very, very little virus.”

The plan is set to be decided in court with more than 500 travel and hospitality businesses expected to join a legal bid by airlines to reverse the restrictions.

Dr Nabarro – a special envoy of the WHO director general on Covid-19 – also warned that widespread lockdowns could have “really serious… social, economic, political consequences”.

It comes after economist Prof Philip Thomas of Bristol University estimated that 150,000 people could die from Covid-19 over five years under the intermittent lockdown conditions.

“I have not seen anything anywhere from the World Health Organisation that advocates this kind of total movement restriction right across a population,” Dr Nabarro said.

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