Vaccines and testing could replace travel quarantine, Hancock tells LBC

22 June 2021, 09:04 | Updated: 22 June 2021, 09:09

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Matt Hancock has said he hopes quarantine for holidaymakers returning to the UK can be replaced by testing and two Covid jabs.

The Health Secretary said he wanted to move “forward in this area”, with the current traffic light system, which places countries in green, amber and red categories, coming under intense criticism.

He told Nick Ferrari: “The whole point of the vaccination programme is to be able to remove restrictions and for people to be able to be kept safe by the vaccine, rather than by these rules.

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“So we are working on a plan for double vaccinated people, using tests and to have that testing regime in place, instead of having to have to quarantine in some circumstances.”

When told by Nick that mixed messages over what can be expected from international travel were causing confusion, Mr Hancock said: “The position is very straightforward isn’t it... we’ve discussed before that we’re cautious about international travel and we’re cautious about international travel because we want to protect the freedoms we have at home.”

He added: “Because of the success of the vaccination programme at home we want to be very careful about international travel.”

But after raising the possibility of vaccines and testing being able to replace quarantine, he continued: “We’re working with the clinicians because we want to make sure the plan is safe and secure.”

The Health Secretary said he was unable to say when such a system might be in place, but added: “What I can tell you is that I’m in favour of moving forward in this area, I think it’s just another important part of replacing the protections from restrictions with the protections from a vaccine.”

“The main takeaway for every single person that’s listening, is that if you haven’t had the jab yet go and get the jab because that’s the best way you can make us all safe,” he said.

Mr Hancock said at this time the Government’s advice was still that people should not go on holiday to any countries except those on the green list.