Labour MP Yvette Cooper has reiterated the message of home secretary Priti Patel, warning that it is too soon to book summer holidays.
The chair of the home affairs select committee told the BBC that the government risks “over-promising” on the potential for summer holidays to go ahead this year.
Last week, Patel insisted it was still “too early to book” holidays and told the home affairs committee: “There are too many factors to consider before we can even speculate in a binary way, yes or no, if people should be travelling.”
Cooper’s comments came in the wake of the discovery in the UK of a new variant of Covid-19 from Brazil.
Speaking on Radio Four’s Today programme, Cooper said: “There is a concern about whether the government is raising expectations over summer holidays that they may not be able to meet.”
She added: “We need stronger measures at the border rather than reducing them.
“The trouble is, at the moment, the government is encouraging people to think that summer holidays are all going to be possible, and international travel is going to return.
“The Home Secretary, when we pressed her on this, said it’s ‘too soon’. It’s too soon for people to be booking holidays.”
Cooper called on the UK government to expand the hotel quarantine system and to look at measures introduced in other countries, such as testing at the airport, as in South Korea.
Flights from Brazil were banned after the variant was identified in January but Cooper said travellers travelled [to the UK] by indirect flights.
She said only 1% of international travellers are covered by the hotel quarantine system.
The Guardian reported comments by shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds, who said: “It is deeply concerning that the Brazil Covid variant has been found in this country.
“It is now vital that we do everything we can to contain it. But this is further proof that the delay in introducing a hotel quarantine was reckless and the continuing refusal to put in place a comprehensive system leaves us exposed to mutations coming from overseas.”
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