Great Britain

Tough restrictions on international travel ‘should stay’ this summer to keep variants out

Tough restrictions on international travel should remain in place this summer because of the danger from Covid-19 variants in countries around the world, a senior parliamentarian has warned.

The chair of the House of Commons home affairs committee, Yvette Cooper, said the government should be taking “a much stronger and cautionary approach” to borders to prevent the arrival of new variants in the UK.

Ministers have already announced a “green list” of 12 countries - including Australia, Israel and Portugal - which will not require quarantine for arrivals in England from Monday, and more are expected to be added by the summer holiday season.

But Ms Cooper told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show: “As we are now, I don’t think that this is possible to be lifting the restrictions at a time when we’ve got so many new variants.”

The senior Labour backbencher said she would favour a South Korean system involving a much stronger system of home quarantine than in the UK, alongside hotel quarantine for travellers from the most high-risk countries.

But asked if it was safe for travel to be opened up further this summer, Ms Cooper said: “Most people want to be able to hug their relatives, they want to be able to go out, the kids stay in school, to be able to go out to the pub.

“If the price of that is having stronger restrictions at our border, I think most people would say that is the right thing to do for this summer.”

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