The government has declined to comment on suggestions its hotel quarantine regime could start on 15 February, stressing the measures would come into force "as soon as possible".
It comes after it emerged the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) warned on 21 January that "reactive, geographically targeted" travel bans, like those now being enforced by government, could not be relied on to guard against the import of new Covid-19 variants.
Sky News reports it put the 15 February date for hotel quarantine to Number 10, but was not given a firm answer; a 15 February start date would come the best part of a month after the policy was first aired by ministers.
Labour on Tuesday (2 February) renewed its call for tougher measures, with shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds branding the government’s border proposals "inadequate".
"The vaccine is giving great hope to all of us," he said. "What would put at threat the sacrifices the British people have made for many months is if a mutant strain of the virus emerged [and] threatened the efficacy of those vaccines.
"We have to do everything we can to try to prevent that from happening. The current government measures are not enough. They are inadequate."