MATT Hancock today announced that India has been put on the UK’s travel red list over the emergence of a variant of concern there.
The Health Secretary said the Government is banning almost all travel from the country to protect the vaccine rollout here in Britain.
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In an address to MPs he revealed there have been 103 cases of the new variant detected in the UK.
Mr Hancock said that “the vast majority have links to international travel and have been picked up by our testing at the border”.
Scientists are worried the Indian variant could be resistant to current vaccines, meaning it would put the UK’s roadmap out of lockdown at risk.
The health secretary said: “After studying the data, and on a precautionary basis, we’ve made the difficult but vital decision to add India to the red list.
“This means anyone who is not a UK or Irish resident, or a British citizen, cannot enter the UK if they’ve been in India in the previous 10 days.”
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All those who do return to Britain will need to completely a 10-day hotel quarantine, with the rules coming into force at 4am on Friday.
Mr Hancock said: “India is a country I know well and love. Between our two countries we have ties of friendship and family.
“I understand the impact of this decision, but I hope the House will concur that we must act Because we must protect the progress we’ve made in this country at tackling this awful disease.”