Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has doubled down on his claim that Brits must get vaccinated against Covid “if they want to travel internationally again”. On Thursday, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that needing proof of vaccination to travel abroad “is a reality… in this new world”.
He said that “double vaccination” will be “a feature for evermore”, but seemed to correct himself by following the words “double vaccination” with “full vaccination”. Is this a hint that the ability to travel abroad will, further down the line, be contingent on booster shots too? The Guardian has more.
Grant Shapps predicted people would be required to prove they had been fully vaccinated for some time to come, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It is a reality that in this new world, we’re living with coronavirus… I think double vaccination or full vaccination is going to be a feature for evermore, and probably all countries will require full vaccination for you to enter.”
He said in an ideal world ministers would not have to impose quarantine restrictions or demand people pay money for multiple, expensive tests, but said the current system was likely to remain in place after summer.
That was because the threat of vaccine escape – meaning a variant emerging that current vaccines are less effective against – was the big worry on ministers’ minds, Shapps said.
“It would be irresponsible for us not, therefore, to be testing people when they do travel before they leave and when they get back – that’s how you can guard against the next big variant that none of us know about yet,” he said.
“So I think we’ll have to settle down into knowing that this will happen, but as the world opens up and international rules are adopted for travel, which will certainly include full vaccination, I think things will will start to become more routine for people who travel.”
Shapps said quarantine restrictions did not block the importation of variants completely, but said slowing down their arrival was helpful. …
Shapps defended having singled out France as the only Amber List country where travellers still had to quarantine for up to 10 days regardless of whether they had been fully vaccinated, after the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, had suggested it was partly due to the number of cases of the Beta variant in Réunion, a French overseas territory, thousands of miles away from mainland France.
He said there were “very close links” between Réunion and France, meaning high levels of the Beta variant on the island in the Indian Ocean had spilled over into the mainland’s north, but that these had since “descended”.
Worth reading in full.