Birmingham Airport only expecting handful of red-list quarantine passengers

Richard Vernalls, PA

Birmingham Airport is only expecting to welcome a handful of the passengers returning to Britain from red list countries, according to policing leaders.

Waheed Saleem, West Midlands’ deputy police and crime commissioner, said the airport, one of five nationally announced by the Government to handle the arrivals, was expecting “about 2% of those flights, so about 20 (passengers) a month”.

UK nationals or residents returning to England from 33 “red list” countries will be required to spend 10 days in a Government-designated hotel from Monday.

Travellers from countries on the banned list can only arrive into one of five airports in England, also including Heathrow Airport, Gatwick Airport, London City Airport, and Farnborough Airfield.

Guidance says that anyone from one of those countries with a booking that brings them to a different “port of entry” from February 15 must change it to one of those specified.

Speaking to reporters during a briefing of West Midlands political, local government and health leaders on Friday, Mr Saleem said the numbers in Birmingham were “not going to be as much as other areas, like Heathrow, for instance”.

Mr Saleem added: “It will be private security and Border Force policing this with support from us, the police, where there are particular issues.”

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said “a number of hotels have been identified” around Birmingham Airport to take passengers arriving from red list countries, but they had “not become public knowledge yet”.

He added: “The number of people arriving from red list countries at Birmingham Airport is actually very low.

“There are not direct flights (to Birmingham) from the red list countries – there are flights from people connecting from red list countries.”

He added: “My personal view is it’s better that number, however small, are in these places of quarantine, rather than straight into the community.”

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