No plans to put all of Europe on travel ban 'red list', says Matt Hancock

HEALTH Secretary Matt Hancock said the government has no plans toto "red-list" all of Europe.

Yesterday, it was suggested that all holiday hotspots could all be placed onto the high risk list this summer, which would include popular destinations such as Greece, Spain and Portugal.

Health minister Lord Bethell said Britain’s neighbours could be put on the no-go list as he accused them of “rejecting” vaccination.

He said: "We are watching with enormous sadness the sight of our European neighbours rejecting the vaccine policy.

"They are not embracing the opportunity that a vaccine provides for driving down infection rates and protecting their populations.

"But we are all aware that the possibility lies that we will have to red list all of our European neighbours."

However, Mr Hancock said on the BBC Today programme: "We don't want to [close all of Europe]. We have hope on the horizon and can see the way out.

"At the moment, the measures at the border are proving successful in keeping this country sage.

"New variants here are very low and is very important. We want to get to a point where we can release these restrictions."


He was positive that the vaccine rollout in the UK could protect the country from another Covid wave: "We are seeing rising cases in our near neighbours in Europe and a third wave which appears to be taking hold.

"We also saw in the first and second wave, a rising number of cases in the continent was a precursor to rising cases here.

"This time, we have as a defence our vaccine programme – 30m vaccines have been done since yesterday – but we have to be cautious to protect the success of the rollout here."

The Global Travel Taskforce will announce on April 12 when holidays abroad can go ahead, depending on four major changes in the pandemic.

Mr Hancock added: "There are two concerns – one is the sheer number of cases if international travel brings home more cases.

"The other is the risk of a new variant which the vaccine cant deal with -effectively both of those are unknown.

"Therefore it's reasonable to take a precautionary careful approach.

"That will stay until at least May 17, the earliest date which we will take step 3.

"We are working on what may be safe to do and will set out details for that for when we can have safe international travel next month."

It comes as Brits face an official holiday ban in law from Monday – with the risk of a £5,000 fine for escaping.

Under new Covid laws, which were published by ministers today, people across the country will be officially banned from leaving the country without a reasonable excuse.

People will face a fine of £5,000 for breaking the new law, however.

Brits already have to also fill out a form if they do want to leave the country, stating their permitted reason to do so, or they will face a £200 fine for not having the right paperwork.

Full list of red list travel ban countries

  • Angola
  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Burundi
  • Cape Verde
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Ecuador
  • Eswatini
  • Ethiopia
  • French Guiana
  • Guyana
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Oman
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Qatar
  • Rwanda
  • Seychelles
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • Suriname
  • Tanzania
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Despite this, countries in Europe have been vocal in wanting Brits back on holiday, through vaccine passports.

Spain, Greece and Cyprus have all backed allowing vaccinated travellers to go on holiday without restrictions.

France may be the only European country added to the UK travel ban list due to rising cases along with the South African variant.

Domestic holidays are seeing a boost as they can go ahead from April 12, followed by group trips and hotels from May 17.

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