Europe Politics

UK hints at new travel quarantine measures citing fears of a 'second wave' across Europe

Key Points
  • The U.K. has already imposed a 14-day self-isolation period on all travelers returning from mainland Spain.
  • Britain's chief medical officer announced on Thursday that the government will extend the self-isolation period for anyone displaying Covid-19 symptoms or a positive test result from seven to 10 days.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock arrives at BBC Broadcasting House in London to appear on the Andrew Marr show.
Aaron Chown | PA Images via Getty Images

U.K. Health Minister Matt Hancock has warned that further coronavirus quarantine measures may be imposed amid fears of a "second wave starting to roll across Europe."

The U.K. has already imposed a 14-day self-isolation period on all travelers returning from mainland Spain, and its chief medical officer announced on Thursday that the government will extend the self-isolation period for anyone displaying Covid-19 symptoms or a positive test result from seven to 10 days.

In an interview with Sky News on Thursday, Hancock said he was "worried" about a second wave of Covid-19 infections reaching the U.K.

"Around the rest of the world, outside of Europe, there are clearly very sharp increases in the number of cases, in places like Brazil, Mexico, India and other places," he said.

"But closer to home in Europe, including in some of the countries that we had exempted from quarantine because their cases were so low, we are seeing that come up, and we won't hesitate to act."

A man in a Leicester City football club hat at a walk-in mobile Covid-19 testing centre at Spinney Hill Park in Leicester as the city may be the first UK location to be subjected to a local lockdown after a spike in coronavirus cases.
Joe Giddens | PA Images | Getty Images

In a separate interview with BBC radio on Thursday morning, Hancock added that the quarantine list is under constant review and could be extended in the coming days, with a number of countries throughout Europe reporting an uptick in new infections.

To date, the U.K. has recorded more than 303,000 cases, the second-highest in Europe behind Russia, and has the continent's highest death toll, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

However, infections in Spain trebled over the three weeks after its state of emergency was lifted, and French health authorities reported almost 1,400 new cases on Wednesday, the country's sharpest daily increase for over a month.

Outside of Europe, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam warned earlier this week that the city's hospitals are at risk of being overwhelmed by another major outbreak, while localized spikes have been seen in China and Australia.