Grant Shapps today said that being vaccinated against coronavirus will become a necessity for travel “forever more”, as the government loosened its restriction on international travel.
He also warned young people that they could find themselves unable to leave the country if they do not get vaccinated.
“I think double vaccination, full vaccination, is going to be a feature forever more and most countries, probably all countries, will require full vaccination in order for you to enter”, he told the BBC.
And, he said, the current travel restrictions were likely to remain in place beyond the summer in order to guard against a potential new variant of Covid-19.
“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,” Shapps said.
The transport secretary was speaking as the government announced further changes to its travel traffic light system, with a number of countries added to the “green list”.
Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway were all added to the quarantine-free list, while France was removed from the “amber plus” list.
India, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE will also be added to the amber list, meaning from 4am on Sunday fully vaccinated travellers will not have to isolate on return to the UK.
Talking to LBC, he said that young people who thought that the virus would not affect them could find themselves unable to do certain things.
“It’s important to understand that there are simply going to be things that you will not be able to do unless you’re double-vaccinated or have a medical reason not to be, including going abroad,” he said.
“So actually there are good reasons if you’re perhaps in your twenties and you feel like ‘oh, this doesn’t really affect me’ — well, it is going to, because you won’t be able to leave the country.”