BRITS won't be able to go on foreign holidays until after Covid booster jabs have been rolled out in the Autumn, a Cabinet minister suggested today.
Environment secretary George Eustice said the PM is taking a "cautious" approach to travel because of fears over new variants.
🔵 Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest updates
He was challenged on why we won't let in double-jabbed visitors without quarantine when the likes of France, Germany, and Spain say they will.
And he denied suggestions the Government is acting in an "anti-vax" manner by failing to put enough faith in the effectiveness of the jab.
Mr Eustice told TalkRadio: "The greatest concern is in other countries you may get a variant of concern that emerges.
"In many of these countries they don't have quite the same capacity we do here to do the genome sequencing to be able to identify all these variants.
"If you had a variant that was able to get around the vaccine and then we had that back here, that would undo all the good work we've done.
"That's why we're taking a cautious approach."
He was asked whether that stance effectively means a permanent end to international travel because there will always be the threat of new variants.
The senior minister suggested reopening borders will be dependent on booster jabs, replying: "No, of course it's not the end of international travel.
"We're actually doing a lot of work looking at the issue, for instance, of booster jabs just as you have updates of the flu jab."
When it was put to him that new variants could also evade the booster jab, he said: "That's why you would have potentially the need for an annual jab."
Mr Eustice also warned there are unlikely to be any new additions to the green list soon because scientists say it's "too risky".
He said Brits should stay at home this summer as the spread of the Indian variant has wrecked plans to reopen travel.
He warned people not to go abroad "unless it's absolutely necessary" and those who do "have to understand there are obviously risks".
His remarks came after chaotic scenes at airports as Brits tried to rush back from Portugal before it was slammed on the amber list this morning.
Mr Eustice said it's up to people to "make their own individual judgements" whether they want to risk a trip abroad this summer.
But he insisted the PM will prioritise protecting the unlocking at home over opening up more destinations for holidays.
He said: "Basically now there are very few countries on that green list. Our advice all along has been don't travel unless it's absolutely necessary.
"We'd hoped the situation would be improving in other parts of the world, that we'd be able to progressively add other countries to the green list.
"Sadly that's not the situation, we do have this new variant of concern first identified in India that is now cropping up in other countries.
"We've got to take a very cautious approach. The most important thing is we can continue to open up our own economy get back to life as normal here.
"The biggest threat to that is we'd have a variant come from another country that would find a way of getting around the vaccine."
Mr Eustice said he'll be spending his summer break in Cornwall, and added: "My advice to people would be holiday at home.
"I will be staying at home – I have no intention of travelling or going on a holiday abroad this summer.
"Some people may but they have to understand there are obviously risks in doing so because it's a dynamic situation.
"I think most people this year will probably decide to stay at home, holiday at home."
The senior Cabinet minister also insisted no decision has yet been taken on whether Freedom Day will go ahead on June 21 as planned.
There have been reports Boris Johnson is ready to pull the plug and order a two week delay after a "grim" briefing from scientists about case numbers.
But Mr Eustice said: "The PM has always said he's going to take this a step at a time.
"We can't make the final assessment until June 14, and we obviously don't rule anything out. I'm not sure I would say it's grim.
"We've seen an increase in the infection rate, but what we're not seeing at the moment is that growth in hospitalisations associated with it."
He said the "critical test" would be whether people who have received both doses of the jab can still get infected with the Indian variant.
Mr Eustice said it was "encouraging" that so far only a small number of such instances have been recorded.
He said: "There have been a few cases of people who have had the double jab who have then gone on still to get infected again.
"That's why we need to look very closely at this. We're obviously making good progress on the vaccination but it's too early to say yet what we'll do."
Source: Read Full Article