//More exemption list changes likely
Croatia travel advice

More exemption list changes likely

Health secretary says officials are looking at exemption list “all of the time”.

Matt Hancock has said he has “absolutely no regrets” about the quick change in advice on Spain – and said more countries could be removed from the exemption list within days.

The health secretary said officials were looking “all of the time” at coronavirus cases in other countries.

There are currently concerns about the infection rates in Belgium, Luxembourg and Croatia, each of which are on the Department for Transport’s exemption list.

Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines were added to the list on July 24, but Spain was removed on July 25.

The government is under increased pressure to implement a testing regime at borders amid the confusion caused by changes to the travel corridors list.

In the wake of the Department for Transport removing Spain from its safe list and the change in FCO advice, which was subsequently extended to include the Canary and Balearic Islands, the chief executive of Heathrow has renewed calls for testing.

“As many of our customers have experienced, it’s difficult to plan a holiday that way, let alone run a business. Testing offers a way to safely open up travel and trade to some of the UK’s biggest markets which currently remain closed,” John Holland-Kaye told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

He said: “The UK needs a passenger testing regime and fast,” adding that “without it, Britain is just playing a game of quarantine roulette.”

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“I’d love people to be able to go abroad and I love travelling but in the middle of a global pandemic we just have to be realistic about the fact that these things change because the pandemic changes in other countries,” Hancock told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“That’s why we had to act so fast on Spain and I have absolutely no regrets in acting as fast as we did. It was incredibly important that we made that move so fast.”

“I’m the health secretary in the middle of a global pandemic and so you’ll excuse me for being concerned about the health of the British people. That is absolutely at the front of my mind,” he said.

“You can see the increases in cases. You can see the sharp increase we saw in Spain and hence we took the rapid action that we did. You can see increases in some other countries and we’ll take the rapid action that we need to should we do that.”