New quarantine hotels in Britain are welcoming their first guests as the government tries to prevent new types of coronavirus from affecting the vaccination campaign
London (AFP) – New quarantine hotels in Britain welcomed their first guests on Monday as the government tries to prevent new types of coronavirus from affecting the vaccination campaign.
Passengers who arrived Monday morning at London’s Heathrow Airport were escorted by security guards onto buses that took them to nearby hotels.
Britain has provided its first coronavirus vaccine to nearly a quarter of the population, but health officials were concerned that vaccines would not work well on some new strains of the virus, including one that was first identified in South Africa.
Under the new rules, people arriving in England from 33 high-risk countries must stay in designated hotels for 10 days at their own expense, with food delivered to their doorstep. In Scotland, the rules apply to people coming from any country. International travel has already been severely restricted due to the pandemic and the British are currently banned from traveling abroad on vacation.
Critics claim that quarantine hotels were created too late, as the South African alternative is already circulating in the UK.
On Sunday, the government reached its goal of giving the first two doses of the vaccine to 15 million of the most vulnerable Britons, including health workers and people over the age of 70.
On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised the “ incredible efforts ” of scientists, doctors, pharmacists, military personnel and volunteers who achieved the fastest distribution in Europe.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the vaccination campaign is now extending to people over the age of 65 with underlying health problems. The government’s goal is to have the vaccine available to all people over the age of 50 by the end of April and to all adult residents by September.
Britain has seen the worst outbreak of the Coronavirus in Europe, with more than 117,000 people dead. Injuries and deaths are steadily declining, and the government has said on February 22 that it will announce a “ road map ” to ease quarantines across the country.