Matt Hancock discusses plans for Europe travel restrictions
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Matt Hancock played down Lord Bethell’s statement who said there was a “possibility” to red list our “European neighbours” in light of the new national lockdowns and coronavirus wave that grips the continent. Many airlines have reduced their summer flights to EU countries in response to the statement and new measures to punish non-essential travel. But the Health Secretary appeared to disagree with the statement from Lord Bethell saying the decision could be made if situation changes but there are no plans to put it in place.
Appearing on LBC, host Nick Ferrari asked: “Do you think Brits will be travelling overseas in July for holidays?”
Mr Hancock said: “Well we don’t know this decision ahead of May 17 which will ask absolutely that question.
“And we have a structure in place called the Global Travel Taskforce to come to a conclusion on this.
“But we’ve got to protect this country in the progress that we’ve made but at the same time I totally understand that lots of people want to travel abroad this summer especially considering the year we’ve all had.”
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Mr Ferrari asked a follow-up question: “Indeed, now Lord Bethel one of your colleagues said that the whole of Europe could be added to the red list.
“How real a possibility is that Secretary of State?”
Mr Hancock bluntly replied: “Well we don’t have any plans to do that, we do have this red list and the amber list.
“And at the moment that is working well and so we don’t have plans to do that.”
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Mr Ferrari asked then why did Lord Bethell say that in the House of Lords.
Mr Hancock said: “I think if you look at the entire context of what he said it makes it go clear he was being asked to do that.
“And we don’t rule it out but we don’t have plans to do that now.”
Lord Bethell said to the House of Lords: “We are watching with enormous sadness the sight of our European neighbours rejecting the vaccine policy.
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“They are not embracing the opportunity that a vaccine provides for driving down infection rates and protecting their populations.
“I don’t know how that will play out and it’s certainly above my pay grade to speculate.
“But we are all aware that the possibility lies that we will have to red list all of our European neighbours.”
The UK is, however, considering adding France to the red list after a third Covid wave sweeps across the neighbouring country.
The red list bans entry to the UK if the traveller has visited any of the red-listed countries within ten days.
However, UK nationals can return to the country from these locations but are required to isolate in a hotel for ten days.
British Airways, Easyjet and other airlines have reduced the number of flights this summer in reaction to the statement.
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