Health Secretary Matt Hancock has given “clear” advice to people planning to travel to countries on the UK’s Amber List.
The Conservative former Health Minister Jeremy Hunt asked for “absolute clarity” on the amber list and asked in the House of Commons: “Should all of our voters go to countries on this amber list, even if it is no longer illegal?”
Mr. Hancock replied, “The answer is no. The official advice of the government is very clear that people should not travel to Amber List or Red List countries or areas. People shouldn’t travel to the countries on the Amber List for vacation. “
He added that the lists are under constant review, noting, “If they are not on the green list, you shouldn’t go there unless you have an exceptional reason”.
High-ranking Conservative MP Greg Clark, Chair of the Science and Technology Committee, asked what level of vaccination protection was needed in the UK in order for Mr Hancock to override “the rather strange advice” given by Mr Hunt and “allow people to be tested three times and Quarantine for 10 days to travel to places like France and Spain ”.
Mr Hancock said this was the most “relevant” question from a MP and replied, “To which we do not know the answer.”
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth described the country’s borders as “about as safe as a sieve”.
He told the Commons, “Yesterday [Mr Hancock] TV warned that variant B1617.2 could spread like wildfire among the unvaccinated.
“But does he accept that we could have avoided that? Our borders were about as secure as a sieve. The delay in getting India on the Red List is certainly a catastrophic misstep.
“A month ago I asked him in this house to react quickly to this variant. Today’s data from the Sanger Institute shows a rapid increase in this variant – 30% of all sequenced cases in the UK – and rules out travel and surge test cases.
“Alarm bells should be ringing because while he assures vaccines are effective, we also recently heard from Professor Anthony Harnden of the JCVI, who warned that vaccines are” almost certainly less effective “at reducing the transmission of this variant. “
Mr Ashworth said “a plan to urgently contain this variant is needed” and urged the Minister of Health to “consider vaccination against surges in all hotspot areas and take Leder to Hell to make vaccination available to everyone” .
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In response to Mr Ashworth, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Commons that the vaccination approach “is most likely to save the most lives”.
He told Commons, “I want to be absolutely clear about the vaccination approach because he asked about vaccination of all over 18s in Bolton and Blackburn. That is not our approach. I’ve looked at it in depth and we’ve received clinical advice.
“The approach is to make sure we get as many secondary vaccinations as possible, as many primary vaccinations among the vulnerable groups, and then as many vaccinations as possible for those eligible groups under the age of 50.
“The reason we took this approach is because it is most likely to save the most lives. This second blow is absolutely vital and of course the first blow could mean the difference between life and death for anyone over 50.”