Boris Johnson to unveil plan to lift England’s lockdown and relaunch international travel

Scientific adviser Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, said the concern is that the spread of the South African variant in the EU could undermine the UK’s vaccination programme.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme:  “It’s 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.”

He added that the “real policy challenges” lie in “mitigating risks” around what the Government does about rules surrounding travel to Europe and back, rather than focusing only on ‘red list’ countries. 

He said that everyone travelling into the UK should be tested whether they are vaccinated or not.

He told the Today Programme:  “I think, where the real policy challenges lie in terms of mitigating risks is around what we do around travel to Europe and back, so that means at the very least then testing people – everyone who comes back from any of these countries.

“I think that will be sensible and to reconsider the exemptions in place at the moment.

“If you’re a truck driver or travelling for government business, then you don’t have to quarantine and you don’t even have to test.

“I think it would be sensible for at least everybody to be tested when they’re coming in.”