Brits' holiday hopes dashed AGAIN as Matt Hancock warns new variants are ‘biggest challenge’

BRITS' holiday hopes have been dashed AGAIN as Matt Hancock warns that the new variants are the "biggest challenging" to our domestic freedom.

The Health Secretary today told MPs that restoring international travel is an "important goal" – but is one that will be "challenging and hard."

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Health Secretary Mr Hancock said the return to domestic freedom must be "protected at all costs".

It comes after he confirmed that over-25s in England will be invited to receive their Covid jabs from Tuesday as the Delta variant "made the race between the virus and this vaccination effort tighter".

Matt Hancock told the Commons this afternoon: "Restoring travel in the medium term is an incredibly important goal.

"It is going to be challenging, it's going to be hard because of the risk of new variants and new variants popping up in places like Portugal which have an otherwise relatively low case rate.

"But the biggest challenge, and the reason this is so difficult, is that a variant that undermines the vaccine effort obviously would undermine the return to domestic freedom.

"And that has to be protected at all costs."

The Health Secretary added: "No-one wants our freedoms to be restricted a single day longer than is necessary.

"I know the impact that these restrictions have on the things we love, on our businesses, on our mental health.

"I know that these restrictions have not been easy and with our vaccine programme moving at such pace I'm confident that one day soon freedom will return"

This comes as desperate Brits have flooded airports as they race against the clock to get back to the UK before Portugal is slapped onto the amber travel list.

Holidaymakers are in a final mad dash to return as the 4am deadline looms just hours away – with countless tourists snapped looking fed-up as they hurry home after shelling out for pricey plane seats.

Anyone landing after then will have to quarantine for ten days — and spend hundreds of pounds on more Covid testing.

The sunny European country was on the green travel list – meaning holidaymakers could freely fly for a holiday there without any need to quarantine.

But last week, the government announced Portugal would be moving onto the amber list, sparking a mad dash of people trying to get back without the need to isolate.

Thousands have been forced to slash their holidays short, with airports in Portugal pictured packed out today as Brits rush home.

And with thousands landing back in the UK, Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted airports have been full to the brim with arrivals.

Despite Portugal making the criteria that government set out for a green list country – with low hospitalisations, daily deaths near zero and nearly all elderly citizens vaccinated – the country was taken off the green list just weeks after being added, due to the threat of new variants.

Portugal's Prime Minister Antonio Costa has slammed the UK for its removal from the list, telling reporters yesterday: "We can't have this system of instability and changes every three weeks.

"It isn't good for those who plan their holidays, nor for those who have to organise the tourism industry to receive tourists in good conditions."

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