'Too early' for Brits to book summer holidays, Dominic Raab tells LBC

17 January 2021, 11:13 | Updated: 17 January 2021, 14:32

By Megan White

It is "too early" for Brits to book summer holidays for this year, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has told LBC, urging the public to "follow the guidance we're putting out.

Speaking to Swarbrick on Sunday, Mr Raab said the rules were "very clear" that people should not be travelling without "very exceptional reasons."

He also denied that new arrivals to the country would be made to pay to quarantine in a hotel, but said the Government would “keep other measures under review.”

Read more: Matt Hancock says UK is 'nearly on the home straight' of Covid pandemic

His comments came after the Sunday Times reported that ministers were considering new border measures - including the creation of quarantine hotels at airports.

Asked whether he would encourage people to book a summer holiday despite the current restrictions, Mr Raab told Tom Swarbrick: “I think at the moment it’s too early, I think you have to follow the guidance that we’re putting out.

“The rules now are very clear that people shouldn’t be travelling domestically, or certainly internationally, unless there are very exceptional reasons.

“I’m afraid until we’re in a position to give the reassurance, I think it’s very difficult to plan.”

Mr Raab said the removal of travel corridors is a “temporary, precautionary measure” and said that “until we know we’re through the winter months where we protect the NHS, until we’re confident that we can reinsert those travel corridors, lift those quarantine measures safely and responsibly, I’m afraid they will stay in place.”

Asked what the plans are for quarantining arrivals into the UK, Mr Raab denied that new arrivals to the country would be made to pay to quarantine in a hotel, but said the Government would “keep other measures under review.”

He added: “The end of the transport corridors and the reimposition of the self-isolation measures, coupled with the sandwich of the two negative Covid tests, is the system that we are announcing this week.”

Mr Raab said: “The measures that we’ve just put in place and let’s be clear, we’re doing this to protect the NHS as it’s still coming under immense pressure and to protect our vaccine rollout.

“We’re saying that on top of the negative Covid tests you have to have 72 hours before you leave, on top of the Passenger Locator Form and the increased checks that we’re going to have when people come into the country to make sure that they’re quarantining, they then have to go into self-isolation for ten days unless you’ve had a further negative test.

“I think it’s important to say that in terms of making it more workable and effective, we’ll be increasing the Border Force checks at the border but also increasing, through Public Health England, the checks that people are respecting the quarantine in their homes.”

Asked why stricter border control measures were not introduced at the start of the pandemic, Mr Raab said: "Because really they're targeted at protecting the NHS through the latter end of the winter months and the new variants, if you like, are the game changer.

"What we don't want to see is either more lethal versions of the virus coming into the UK."

He added: "The advice which we followed all along was that it wasn't an effective measure to take at the point where we had the virus swelling around the UK.

"What changes now as we start to get a grip and there's some positive evidence that we're getting a grip back on the virus, is you don't want to see that progress undermined by a receeding effect from abroad, with new variants coming in and undermine the progress we've made and undermining the protection that the vaccine affords."