Kate Garraway and Ben Shephard grill Shapps on airport testing
Following the news that travellers into the UK will now be required to show a negative COVID-19 test result as the Government tries to halt the spread of coronavirus, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps joined Ben Shephard and Kate Garraway to discuss all about the new strategy. Those entering the country will also be required to self-isolate for 10 days upon their arrival, but the new measures left the GMB pair baffled as to why they were being introduced now as opposed to when the outbreak first started. And just a few moments into the ITV debate, things took a tense turn.
Just moments after Mr Shapps joined Ben and Kate via video link, the GMB pair had one topic of discussion on their minds.
“One of the things that you’re announcing today is that people travelling into the UK finally need to have a negative COVID test.
‘Why has it taken 10 months to put this into place?” Ben hastily put to the Transport Secretary, referring to the fact that testing at borders has now been implemented.
Defending the Government’s stance, Shapps explained: “We’re specifically bringing it in now because there are things like the variants and the mutations of the virus, not the Kent one as there’s no reason to think the vaccine won’t work with that-“
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However, Ben was keen to make clear his view that testing should have been in place from the beginning of the pandemic, interrupting: “Could we not have put it in for the original virus regardless of variants?”
Shapps again hit back: “It’s not the case that nothing’s been happening, what we’ve had is the complete quarantine so, just to explain-“
But this time it was Kate’s turn to interject and cut off Mr Shapps: “I don’t think Ben said there’s been nothing happening.”
She added: “He was just wondering why. Because you said when you announced it you wanted to take decisive action.
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“And other countries have taken that decisive action earlier (so) what was your reasoning for not doing it before?
“Because if it is going to prevent those with COVID coming into the country, it feels like it might have been helpful to do it sooner.”
Sharps stood firm in the heated debate, however: “Quarantine is a by far bigger tool – it means if you have to self-isolate then you can absolutely be sure that that person comes out of isolation without being able to spread.
“The thing about a test is that only tells you – if someone’s asymptomatic and don’t know if they have any symptoms – at that moment in time whether the symptoms are showing, it doesn’t tell you if they don’t have coronavirus.”
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But the debate was far from over as Kate hit back once more: “I know but look, look.
“Sorry, Mr Shapps, quarantine as we know is very hard to enforce. You’re having to rely an awful lot on trust and that;’s been lots of problems with self-isolation and the spread of it anyway.
“If someone gets off a plane testing negative at that moment, you know they haven’t got COVID – and that’s a very good start.”
Mr Shapps was quick to correct Kate, however, explaining: “Unfortunately, that’s not true.
“That’s one of the things which is difficult to get across. It sounds logical what you said – actually that’s not what it (the test) shows you,
it shows that it’s not showing at that moment in time.
“You may still be carrying coronavirus and worse still, you may now think that you don’t have it.”
The trio soon found themselves clashing throughout the interview as they locked horns about the border testing.
Good Morning Britain continues weekdays at 6am on ITV.
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