Closed petition Close down all UK airports & seaports to prevent further spreading of Covid-19.

We have to work together as a country and stop further spreading of Covid-19, while hand washing and sanitation is still good but it's still spreading via travel. So lets slow the spread by closing down all UK airports and seaports to avoid infected visitors.

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Government responded

This response was given on 8 April 2020

Keeping airports and seaports open is critical to maintaining essential services and supplies including food, medicines and medical equipment, and facilitating the repatriation of Britons from abroad.

Read the response in full

The Coronavirus is the biggest threat this country has faced in decades – and this country is not alone. All over the world we are seeing the devastating impact of this invisible killer. Our approach to tackling coronavirus is driven by the latest scientific and medical advice.

As of 17 March 2020, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advised against all non-essential international travel, and the UK Government introduced unprecedented measures to manage and contain the spread of the virus. These measures include staying at home and away from others, and self-isolation.

In line with that advice to date, no changes have been required at the UK border. This will be kept under regular review, but at present the current border arrangements are not seen as having an impact on the spread of the virus. Instead, changes could have a negative impact on the continued flow of critical goods including food, medicines and medical supplies that are vital for the whole of the UK. We are working to make sure that a network of infrastructure remains in place across the UK to continue to deliver these services.

International and domestic freight transport (including by air, ship, road and rail, including roll-on/roll-off transports) is classified by UK Government as an essential activity. The essential flow of critical goods includes medicines, medical devices (such as ventilators), food and chemicals critical for water and energy. Port, airport workers and many others within these complex supply chains are key workers and perform an important role in helping the UK to respond to the unprecedented situation presented by the corona virus.

The Channel Tunnel is a critical connection and plays a key role in the movement of a range of important goods, such as fresh produce, high-value manufacturing and just-in-time goods. Eurotunnel shuttles continue to fully operate to keep the critical goods transported through the Tunnel moving. Measures have been put in place to enable social distancing and safeguard health.

The Government recognises the importance of maintaining the health and safety of key workers. Freight operators continue to implement the latest health and safety measures, including social distancing both at borders and during crossings. The Government is reminding Eurotunnel of its health and safety responsibilities and the importance of enabling social distance measures, both at the UK and French terminals, and also during crossings through the Channel Tunnel.

Ferry and lifeline operators provide critical passenger and freight services across the UK and other European countries. These operators ensure that essential goods continue to arrive into our country. This helps to protect our economy, and connect remote UK communities to essential services, ensuring their survival. The Government is aware of the major impact that COVID-19 is having on all these operators, and continues to work closely with the sector to understand how the measures announced by the Chancellor and the Bank of England can be applied.

You can read more about Governments advice for the freight transport industry here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-freight-transport

You can read more about the Governments latest travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus

During this difficult time for the country, we recognise the extreme disruption the necessary actions are having on people’s lives, their businesses, their jobs and the nation’s economy. The Government is asking everyone to stay at home – unless for one of the reasons that have been set out.

Department for Transport

Other parliamentary business

Petitions Committee questions Government on its response to coronavirus

Last week the Petitions Committee put some of the most popular questions from the public about coronavirus to the Government Minister for Schools, the Minister for Disabled People and the Deputy Chief Medical Officer. These included:

  • How long will schools be closed for and what will the impact be on exams and grades?
  • What financial support will be available for the self-employed?
  • What financial support will be offered to people who are unable to pay their rent or bills due to self-isolation or loss of work?
  • What support will be offered to the events, creative and hospitality industries now that pubs, clubs and cultural venues have been closed?
  • What clear, practical steps can people take to make sure they are following Government guidance on social distancing, household isolation and self-isolation?
  • Who is being tested and why, and will tests be made freely available to everyone?
  • What is the Government doing to ensure that everyone is getting the right information?

Watch the session on YouTube: https://youtu.be/aPLXJcZEfi8

Read the transcript: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/192/the-governments-response-to-coronavirus/publications/written-evidence/

Because of the large number of petitions that we continue to receive on coronavirus we have sent more questions to the Government to answer.

Read our letters to different Government Ministers: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/publications/3/correspondence/

Some of the questions we’ve asked include:

  • When will testing capacity will be increased; who will testing be available for and will it be free?
  • What is being done to tackle the spread of disinformation?
  • How quickly will support for self-employed people be made available?
  • What will happen to the school year? Will summer holidays be cancelled so that children can catch up?
  • How are foodbanks being supported to continue operating during the outbreak?
  • What is being done to address panic buying and prevent price hikes of key items?
  • Will trains, buses and flights continue to operate? For how long?

We’ll email you again to let you know when we get a response to these questions, and to let you know about any more action the Committee takes.

Who are we?

We are the House of Commons Petitions Committee. We are a cross-party group of MPs that looks at e-petitions submitted on petition.parliament.uk. We are independent from Government. You can find out more about us and our work on our website.

You can follow the Petitions Committee on Twitter: @HoCpetitions.

Further information

You can read impartial House of Commons Library information about coronavirus here: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/coronavirus/

You can find out more about coronavirus and how you can protect yourself and others here:

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

You can read NHS tips to help if you are worried about coronavirus here: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-anxiety-tips