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UK coronavirus live: Hancock defends quarantine policy ahead of possible Portugal restrictions









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Hancock defends quarantine policy ahead of possible Portugal change

Good morning and welcome to the UK live blog. This is Archie Bland, on duty until Andrew Sparrow takes over later this morning.

On this morning’s agenda is the news that the UK may reimpose quarantine on travellers returning from Portugal, plans to trial routine weekly Covid testing of the population as part of preparations to head off a possible winter second wave, and a morning media round from the health secretary, Matt Hancock. Later on National Crime Agency officials will be appearing at the home affairs select committee to discuss concerns over migrants crossing the Channel and there will be an urgent question on the government’s kickstart scheme, aimed at creating job placements for people aged 16 to 24.

We begin with Matt Hancock on Sky News, where he says: “The quarantine policy has protected this country… I think the policy has absolutely proved its worth.”

Asked about travelling to Portugal tomorrow, he doesn’t answer directly but says that in general people should only travel if they are prepared to stay at home when they come back. “We follow the data and make these announcements in an organised way at a Friday lunchtime,” he says.

He is also asked about Tony Abbott’s possible new role as UK trade ambassador, and whether his history of homophobic and sexist remarks is compatible with the role.

Hancock says he “bows to nobody” in his support for the LGBTQ community but adds that Abbott has “a huge amount of expertise” on trade policy and adds: “We need to have the best experts in the world working in their field”. “He’s a homophobe and a misogynist,” says Kay Burley. “Well, he’s also an expert in trade,” replies Hancock, to Burley’s disbelief, before Hancock adds: “What I’m saying is we need experts in different areas… it doesn’t change my views.” Then he says he’s focused on coronavirus.

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