I think the key thing is the risk of importing variants which might undermine our vaccination programme and the one we’re particularly concerned about at the moment is the South African variant called B.1.351.
The concern here … is the proportion of cases reported in a number of European countries which are this variant is now up to anywhere from 4-5% in France and up to 17%, nearly 20% up in Luxembourg.
So rather than some of the ‘red list’ countries which are far away, I think where the real policy challenge lies in terms of mitigating risk is around what to do around travel to Europe and back.
I think that (testing everyone from European countries) would be sensible and reconsidering the exemptions in place at the moment.
At the moment, there is a very long list of exemptions for jobs and professions – if you’re a truck driver or travelling on government business, then you don’t have to quarantine and you don’t have to even test.
I think it would be sensible for at least everyone to be tested when they are coming in.”