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Tories accused of ‘unleashing chaos’ after conflicting advice given on travel restrictions

Confusion over the easing of travel restrictions led to thousands flying to amber and red-list countries

THE Tories were accused of unleashing dangerous chaos today after confusion over the easing of travel restrictions led to thousands flying to amber and red-list countries. 

Ministers gave conflicting advice on whether holidaymakers can travel to amber-list countries, with Environment Secretary George Eustice saying it was permitted to visit “family and friends.” 

But he was later slapped down by Downing Street, which said holidaymakers must not travel to amber countries except in “exceptional” circumstances.
 
Confusion reigned after international restrictions on travel were lifted on Monday, meaning it is no longer illegal to leave the country. 

Shadow health secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said: “The Conservatives’ border policies have unravelled into dangerous chaos within a matter of hours since international travel was opened up.

“There is a lack of strategy, which has meant the UK government and their own ministers are giving out conflicting and confused advice about whether people are allowed to travel, especially between amber-list countries.

“Labour has been clear that there should be a pause on international travel to guard against further importing of dangerous strains, setting back hopes for ending restrictions.”

Experts have argued that the easing of restrictions should have been delayed in light of concerns over new variants. 

Dr Zubaida Haque, a member of Independent Sage, told Good Morning Britain today:  “What the government should have done was to stall this stage of the road map, particularly because we didn’t pass test four.

“Test four of the government’s road map said that if we think that there’s any further risk from new variants of concern, we should stall: they completely ignored that and have gone ahead.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed today that there was currently “no conclusive evidence” to delay Britain’s road map out of lockdown, but ministers said they were not ruling out the option of applying local restrictions. 

Their statements came amid growing concerns over rising cases of the Indian variant. In the Commons on Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that there were 2,323 confirmed cases of the Indian strain in Britain, with 86 local authority areas recording at least five. 

  • The PM’s former aid Dominic Cummings threatened to release “crucial” documents on the Covid crisis today and claimed that secrecy at the heart of government “contributed greatly to the catastrophe” of the pandemic in Britain. In a series of posts on social media, Mr Cummins said: “Openness to scrutiny would have exposed government errors weeks earlier than happened.”

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