Minister says people living in Indian Covid variant hotpots should consider if holidays ‘really are essential’


eople living in eight areas of England under new Covid-19 guidance –  including Hounslow – should consider whether a half-term break abroad “really is essential”, a Cabinet minister said today.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey was asked on ITV’s Good Morning Britain whether people in these areas should go on half-term holidays already booked to a “green” list foreign destination such as Portugal.

She responded: “I’m not going to give individual travel guidance..

“The guidance is very clear…that people need to consider whether it really is essential.”

The new guidance to combat the Covid-19 Indian variant B.1.617.2 includes:

* Avoid travelling in and out of affected areas unless it is essential, for example for work (if you cannot work from home) or education.

* Meet outside rather than inside where possible.

* Keep 2 metres apart from people that you don’t live with (unless you have formed a support bubble with them), this includes friends and family you don’t live with.

* Get tested twice a week for free and isolate if you are positive.

* Continue to work from home if you can.

* Get vaccinated when you are offered it, and encourage others to do so as well.

The seven other areas subject to the new guidance are Bedford, Blackburn with Darwen, Bolton, Burnley, Kirklees, Leicester and North Tyneside.

Meanwhile Sadiq Khan today raised with a minister whether advice not to travel to and from Hounslow apart from essential journeys could have an impact on Heathrow airport.

Mr Zahawi was also asked about the implications for boroughs around Hounslow.

He is understood to be raising these issues within Government.

Amid the confusion, Labour MP Ruth Cadbury, whose Brentford & Isleworth constituency includes parts of Hounslow borough, tweeted: “Hahaha Keep out of @LBofHounslow area?!

“Does anyone in @DHSCgovuk realise the Picadilly line & A4 through the borough are main routes between Heathrow and Central London? Was there any plan to actually discuss this with the Council (or even perhaps look at a map)?”



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