Matt Hancock says ‘no plans’ to red list all of Europe but admits it can’t be ‘ruled out’

Matt Hancock discusses plans for Europe travel restrictions

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Across Europe, some nations are experiencing what is being described as a “third wave” of coronavirus. This has caused some concern for overseas travel, particularly as the Government has outlined plans to extend its “red list” on Monday.

The good news is, at the time of writing, Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock says all of Europe will not be placed on the list.

Arrivals from nations on the “red list” are banned from entering the UK, with only those travelling for essential reasons as set out by the Government granted entry.

Those who are able to enter the country must self-isolate, at their own expense, in a Government-approved hotel.

With COVID-19 figures beginning to surge in countries, including France and Italy, some suggestions of a Europe wide ban were speculated within the media.

However, Mr Hancock said this is not part of any “plans” in the coming days.

“We don’t have any plans to do that,” he told LBC radio.

However, he admitted: “We don’t rule it out but we don’t have plans to do that now.”

Furthermore, the health minister took a rather wary approach to the topic of summer holidays.

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He added that he was unsure whether travel would be able to resume by July.

“We don’t know,” he said.

“|We’ve got to protect this country and the progress that we’ve made, but at the same time I totally understand that lots of people want to travel abroad this summer.”

Speaking on BBC News earlier in the week, Mr Hancock said eager holidaymakers would have to “wait and see” whether international travel will be possible.

The Government is due to unveil its plans for travel on April 12.

This is when the Global Travel Taskforce is also due to resume meetings to discuss the possibility of travel.

“Until then, I’m afraid, as we’ve as people have got used to over the last year, frankly, it is a wait and see,” said the health minister.

He added: “We only make steps that we think are safe, but on the other hand we do understand…how people want to be able to get away in the summer.”

According to experts, the red list is due to expand on Monday 29 March.

Ireland’s Health Minister Stephen Donnelly spoke at a briefing on Tuesday to explain plans for quarantine.

“I fully expect the number of countries will be expanded,” he said.

“We are seeing variants around the world so the public health team are keeping an eye on that and certainly I expect we will be adding to it.”

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