CONSERVATIVE MP Ian Liddell-Grainger has defended the extension of the Covid travel restrictions, warning against taking risks which could wind back progress in battling the pandemic.
The Bridgwater and West Somerset MP says he is getting a steady stream of approaches from constituents frustrated by the fact their spring and early summer holidays have had to be put on hold.
But, he stressed, controls were only being maintained in order to keep the country safe.
“And we have made such great strides in protecting the public that it would be madness to drop our guard before it’s prudent to do so,” he said.
Mainland Europe – where vaccination rates are woefully low compared to the UK’s – is facing a third Covid wave. Lockdowns are in force in Germany and in Paris, north-eastern France and the Cote d’Azur with the French government warning they could be extended to other parts of the country within days.
Mr Liddell-Grainger said he understood his constituents’ frustration.
“Many older people have been vaccinated and now believe they have total immunity,” he said.
“But travelling to mainland Europe at the moment carries the same level of risk as visiting a war zone. The mere fact of vaccination doesn’t protect people from getting the virus and transmitting it to others – and that, currently, is the Government’s great fear.
“It may be no comfort to say but I have to repeat the fact that we are all in the same boat. The restrictions mean I can’t do my job properly and, more importantly, I can’t see my family.
“But we have to stick with the science. We cannot gloss over the awful truth that Covid has cost us 126,000 lives already. We absolutely have to do whatever we can to prevent any further, avoidable deaths.
“And if that means waiting a few more weeks before heading off to the sun then so be it.”