Social distancing 'is here to stay' says Home Secretary Priti Patel

Home Secretary Priti Patel warned the country social distancing is 'here to stay' when she joined Lorraine on Good Morning Britain today.

Ms Patel explained that the country recognises social distancing will be in place for the long term and that public life is going to be very different because of that.

On the day the government's plans to get people back into work kicked into effect, Ms Patel added the country needed to work together to enable a safe reopening of society.

She said: "I think we all recognise social distancing is here to stay. Our lives are going to be very different. But as we open society up, and that is effectively what we are speaking about now, I think it's really important.

"People's lives have been on hold, our children are not getting the education they want, they are not even getting to see their friends. We are not getting to see our friends and family, that's hard. We've got to work together be really responsible, support each other. No one has the answer to any of this, there's no silver bullet."

On why people arriving into UK airports aren’t being tested, Ms Patel said: “At the beginning of the year, we were asking people to self isolate. It’s slightly different now to what it was back then, we’ve now got the R value down in the UK and obviously we want to contain the virus in the UK and keep the numbers low and we are actually looking at quarantine measures. That is what I’m working on because we have to stop a second wave.” 

On having been faced with criticism, Ms Patel said: “My main priority is to serve my country and to serve the Prime Minister who’s put me in this role and to do the best job that I possibly can. I cannot let that criticism get to me. We’re in a national emergency and all of us, collectively, are doing our utmost to stop the spread of this virus… I’m here to serve, to deliver for the British public.”