Labor has said that plans to significantly ease restrictions for millions of travelers are “reckless,” warning that the move could lead to the importation of another, more infectious variant of Covid that could wreak havoc.
Concerns arose after The Guardian revealed that ministers were prepared to acknowledge people’s double-pang status if they were vaccinated in the US or the EU, allowing many expats living in amber list countries visit family and friends in England without the need to self-quarantine. .
A meeting to approve the proposals is scheduled for Wednesday morning, and an announcement is expected later in the day, although government sources stressed that it has not yet been closed.
While Labor Deputy Director Angela Rayner said she understood that people want to “get back to normal” and be able to go on vacation, she called the reported plans “reckless.”
“We know that the Delta variant came to this country and delayed the lifting of some of the restrictions and caused infections here,” Rayner told Sky News, referring to the strain first discovered in India.
He said the government’s delay in putting India on the red list due to Boris Johnson’s refusal to cancel a trip to the country to make a commercial announcement had allowed the variant to plant faster in the UK. Ultimately, this forced the prime minister to delay four weeks his final stage of unlocking initially scheduled for June 21.
Rayner said ministers should base the decision to allow millions more in on “proper data-driven analysis” and urged them to join forces with other countries to develop an internationally recognized vaccine passport.
He also noted that people with a double puncture can still catch Covid, the most notable recent example being Health Secretary Sajid Javid, so ensuring that everyone arriving in the UK is tested is “crucial too”.
“We believe that, at the moment, the government has not done enough to safeguard our borders,” Rayner said.
His Labor colleague Nick Thomas-Symonds, the shadow Home Secretary, echoed his criticism, saying that the traffic light system that classifies countries according to their case, the vaccine and the rate of variants should be revised.
“Too often, the changes have been chaotic, poorly planned and dangerous, causing confusion in the industry and travelers,” he said.
But airlines welcomed the decision to open international travel to more double-vaccinated passengers.
Shai Weiss, Virgin Atlantic chief executive, said the reports were “encouraging” but that the United States should also move to the UK green list. He added: “The UK is already lagging behind the US and the EU and a continued and overly cautious approach to international travel will further affect the economic recovery and the 500,000 UK jobs at stake. “.
EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren told LBC that the change was “correct” but would come “a little too late” and also warned that the high costs of PCR testing, which will remain mandatory, would alienate people. traveling to the UK.
Despite the UK’s interest in a reciprocal agreement, Washington maintains strict rules that will severely limit the number of people taking a transatlantic flight.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said this week that advice for those thinking about traveling abroad will remain the same. It tells Americans not to travel to the UK and prohibits non-US citizens who have been in the UK 14 days before their flight from crossing the border, due to the prevalence of the Delta variant.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism