New international quarantine rules must take into account compassion for people travelling due to bereavement, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP has said. Mr Carmichael spoke in Parliament following the announcement of new measures to enforce quarantine for international travellers and highlighted the potential need for financial assistance for bereaved travellers.
Speaking remotely in the House of Commons, Mr Carmichael said:
“Many of those that will be caught by these new measures will be travelling as a result of family bereavement and will already have incurred substantial cost, very often at short notice. Could the Home Secretary tell me if there will be some sort of financial assistance available for people of modest means who find themselves in this position at that most difficult of times?”
Responding, the Home Secretary, Priti Patel said:
“Well, the Rt Hon Gentleman is absolutely right in terms of highlighting the exceptional examples and the sad examples, the circumstances for people to travel, bereavement being a terrible, terrible case. The government is already in discussions with regards to exemptions and support packages and things of that nature. I am unable to confirm the details right now because this work is underway, but it’s a matter of time before my colleagues will share further information on this.”
Reacting after the exchange, Mr Carmichael said:
“Family bereavement is hard enough even without the extra barriers put up by the pandemic. It is right that we take measured steps to reduce the spread of the virus through international travel but people grieving loved ones must get additional support if they are forced to quarantine away from home. I am glad that the Home Secretary has recognised this need – we will be looking for further detail on this in the days to come. A little compassion included in these restrictions will go a long way.”