Ministers refusing to rule out tough travel restrictions from Europe as case surges creating holiday fears

  • Oliver Dowden of the Tory chair stated that vaccines are UK’s primary defense against Covid
  • In light of the increasing number of cases in Europe, however, they refused to rule out strengthening border controls
  • Austria has put a halt to unvaccinated people and those with infections rising within the EU  

Today’s ministers refused to rule out the possibility of imposing travel restrictions in Europe, citing fears about surging numbers.

Oliver Dowden, Tory chair, insists that vaccines are more important than border controls to protect the UK from the spread of the disease.

However, he said the situation is under review with an alarm at a rise in continent-wide cases.

These comments were made after Austria placed a new, severe lockdown on those who are not vaccinated. This was in response to a drastic increase in the number of infections.

It has also seen a notable increase in outbreaks in France, Germany and Italy.

Boris Johnson last week warned that “storm clouds” are gathering in Europe. This is a stage where the UK appears to be on a completely different level of the pandemic. 

Asked during a round of interviews this morning whether travel restrictions might need to be reintroduced, Mr Dowden said: ‘What is happening across the Channel is a constant reminder that this global pandemic hasn’t gone away.

The country will ensure that there is high vaccination coverage in the face of the pandemic. This is the right approach.

Tory chair Oliver Dowden insisted vaccinations was the UK's main line of defence against the disease rather than border controls

Oliver Dowden, Tory chair and chief advocate for vaccinations in the UK against disease was more insistent than border control on the importance of vaccines.

Germany, France and Italy have also been seeing a significant uptick in their outbreaks

France, Germany and Italy are also seeing an increase in outbreaks

When asked if the Conservative leader would make the same mistake as the previous government of not closing borders quickly enough, he replied: “Of course we monitor these matters all the time. Some of these restrictions have been removed.

“We don’t rule it out, but we’d have to reconsider it if things change dramatically.”

“But the most important thing we do in this country, is to get the vaccination…

If there was a new threat, Dowden stated that he would consider whether he needed to rethink his position. He also said that he had to look at what the borders of such an environment might be to ensure our safety as they have in the past.

He added that he was confident in Government’s decision to put their faith in the vaccination program.

While vaccinated travellers can travel to the EU from their home countries without being quarantined, they must pass two days of testing.   

Johnson last week stated that booster shots should be given to all citizens in order to prevent a British resurgence.

‘I’ve got to be absolutely frank with people, we’ve been here before – and we remember what happens when a wave starts rolling in,’ he said.

“If you’re able to get it, it can be a great thing. It gives you incredible protection, so we urge over-50s who are being called forward to get it.

He added that “if we do not act fast enough we will see the possible risks to our state of pandemic as a result of what is happening elsewhere in Europe.” 

Austria’s ban on unvaccinated children over 12 is now in effect. They are not allowed to leave their Austrian homes except for the most basic activities, such as shopping or going for walks – and getting jabbed.

The authorities are concerned about the ability of hospital staff to cope with increasing numbers of Covid-related patients.

Austria has the lowest level of vaccination in Europe with just 65 per cent of its 9.9 million population being fully vaccinated.

The country has been facing a disturbing trend in infection rates over the past few weeks. Yesterday’s report included 11,552 cases, but a week prior there had been 8,554 infections.