Afghans arriving in the UK after fleeing Taliban to be offered Covid vaccine

Credit: PA

Afghans arriving in the UK following the Taliban's takeover will be offered the Covid vaccine.

The Department of Health and Social Care announced that as part of the Afghanistan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) scheme, vaccination points will be set up at quarantine hotels, where arrivals must isolate 10 days as Afghanistan is on the travel red list.

Health secretary Sajid Javid said: "My focus is on the health and wellbeing of families from the moment they touch down in the UK. 

"This includes giving everyone a first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, if they have not already received one, doubling our medical provision to ensure everyone can access support round the clock and reuniting families who arrive on different flights where we can."

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Arrivals from Afghanistan will also be offered provisions such as mental health support, toys for children and clothing for those who left Afghanistan with very little.

So far the UK has secured the evacuation of 1,615 people since Saturday, including 399 British nationals and their dependents, 320 embassy staff, and 402 Afghan nationals under the ARAP scheme.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We are proud to bring them to the UK, and this additional support will help make sure that those arriving from Afghanistan receive the housing and healthcare that they need as they start to build a new life here.” The government also announced that funds totalling £5 million will be available to local councils to help Afghan refugees. 

Chaotic scenes at Kabul airport have made it difficult to facilitate evacuations. Credit: AP

Councils in England, Scotland and Wales will use the money to help provide housing and support to Afghans who have worked for the UK in jobs such as interpreters in Afghanistan and now face threats to their safety.

The scheme was launched in April this year and was created to help workers, such as translators, move to Britain after the government announced it was withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.

Many on the ground in Afghanistan desperately hope to be resettled in foreign countries like the UK.

On Friday, footage showed Afghan soldiers firing in the air and pushing crowds outside Kabul airport away as civilians tried to flee the Taliban-controlled country.