30 Jul COVID-19: Grant Shapps defends France’s position on the ‘amber-plus’ travel list as French ministers accuse the government of ‘disproportionate’ action | UK News
Grant Shapps has defended France’s position on the UK’s ‘amber plus’ travel list, saying the decision was made due to cases of the Beta coronavirus variant in the north of the country.
On Wednesday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the move was made because of the “prevalence of the so-called Beta variant, in particular in the Reunion bit of France”.
But the transport secretary told Kay Burley the variant is also “an issue” in northern parts of the country.
“The Beta variant, it is not just – as has been reported – on an island thousands of miles away, it was also an issue in particular in northern France. So it has been an overall concern,” Grant Shapps told Sky News.
“And look, the big concern is that we don’t allow a variant in which somehow is able to escape the vaccine programme that we have got.
“We don’t want to have got this far with vaccinations, with just getting towards 90% of all adults having been vaccinated, and then throw it all away because a variant that the vaccine perhaps couldn’t handle came in.
“Now all the evidence on all of that has been pulled together – the latest research on how the vaccine works with the Beta variant, the scale of the Beta variant and France and the rest of it – and then these decisions will, of course, be constantly reviewed which is exactly what will happen.”
It comes after a French minister described the UK government’s decision to keep quarantine measures for travellers coming from France while removing them for all other European countries as “discriminatory” and “excessive”.