The Health Secretary said that although nations like Spain, Italy, France and Greece can be visited if people are willing to quarantine at home afterwards, they should not unless it is ‘essential.
It came as ministers faced increasing questions over delays in putting India on the UK’s red list, which critics say allowed the current Indian variant to gain a foothold in the UK.
Under a traffic light system that comes into effect tomorrow, British holidaymakers can travel to a small list of 12 green list countries – including Portugal – without having to quarantine on their return.
But the vast majority of popular tourist destinations remain in the amber zone. This requires them to quarantine for 14 days at home upon return, but they avoid the expensive hotel quarantine required for people visiting red list states.
Speaking to Tom Newton Dunn and Daisy McAndrew on Times Radio today, Mr Hancock said: ‘We have a green list where it’s okay to go, and that’s why we’ve brought the green list in.
‘But what I would say is that people should not travel to amber or red list countries unless it’s essential. And certainly not for holiday purposes.’
Under a traffic light system that comes into effect tomorrow, most popular tourist destinations like Spain (Grand Canaria in the Canary Islands pictured) remain in the amber zone. This requires visitors to quarantine for 14 days at home upon their return.
Asked why the Government did not just add amber countries to the red list if they were that bad, Mr Hancock said: ‘There are lots of different reasons and acute reasons that people have to travel.
‘For instance, people have dying relatives abroad. And then we have the amber list and the red list for the type of isolation you need to go into when you come home.