Quarantine the lot! Merkel cracks down on Britain – says all arrivals in EU must isolate

WORLD

The German Chancellor wants better coordination to fight the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant that is quickly spreading throughout the UK and is now making its way through the bloc. Ahead of Thursday’s summit with fellow EU leaders, she told the Bundestag lower house of parliament: “In our country, if you come from Great Britain, you have to go into quarantine – and that’s not the case in every European country, and that’s what I would like to see.”

The warning from Mrs Merkel comes after she raged at Portugal – a country that is allowing British tourists entry without the need to quarantine.

France, led by President Emmanuel Macron, is also allowing those with two vaccine doses in the UK to enter the country without going into isolation.

The German Chancellor launched a stinging attack against Portugal and lambasted its Government for failing to close the borders to UK visitors at the beginning of the spread of the Covid Delta variant.

Speaking alongside European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at a press conference, she warned the bloc’s failure to agree to a joint travel policy on coronavirus was starting to “backfire”.

Mrs Merkel said: “What I regret is that we have not yet been able to achieve a uniform behaviour among the member states in terms of travel restrictions.

“That is backfiring.

“We now have a situation in Portugal that could perhaps have been avoided, and that’s why we have to work even harder on this.

“We’ve made pretty good progress in recent months, but we’re not yet where I would like the European Union to be.”

On Wednesday, the UK recorded 16,135 new Covid cases – the highest reported daily toll since February 6 – as the mutant Delta+ variant hits the country.

This was a huge jump from the 10,633 new infections announced on Tuesday.

There were also been 19 new deaths reported within 28 days of a positive test – almost quadrupling from the five recorded the previous day – bringing the UK total to 128,027.

In addition, figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed there have been 153,000 deaths registered in the UK where coronavirus was mentioned on the death certificate.

Earlier today, Downing Street said the Government and Public Health England (PHE) are monitoring the Delta+ variant.

Boris Johnson’s spokesman said 41 cases of the strain have so far been identified in the UK.

He added PHE had already put additional measures in place where the variant had been detected.

This includes “enhanced contact tracing, testing, and isolation”.

Government data up to Tuesday (June 22) also shows that of the 75,188,795 vaccine jabs given in the UK so far, 43,448,680 were first doses.

This is an increase of 299,837 compared to the previous day.

From the overall vaccination total, 31,740,115 were second doses, up by 250,875.

Separately, figures published by the UK’s four health agencies shows six in 10 adults are estimated to have received both doses of a Covid vaccine.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “With more and more evidence emerging on just how effective two doses of our vaccines are in protecting against the Delta variant, it’s great to see three in five adults have been double jabbed, so we’re well on our way to the whole country getting the fullest possible protection.

“We’re so close now to ensuring the entire adult population is protected – now everyone aged 18 and above can make an appointment, so make sure you book in for your first and second doses as soon as possible.”

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