International travelers need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 “for evermore,” warns top UK secretary
By Arsenio Toledo // Aug 09, 2021

A leading government minister in the United Kingdom has warned that people will need to be fully vaccinated against the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) to travel internationally "for evermore."


This comment was made by the U.K.'s Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps. He warned that the pandemic has created a "new world" that will permanently alter the way people travel.

Shapps said he expects countries to require passengers for international travel to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before they leave their home countries. He added that the travel and tourism industries must now create extra rules to make sure only the fully vaccinated can board their flights.

"I think double vaccination or full vaccination is going to be a feature for evermore, and most countries, probably all countries, will require full vaccination for you to enter," he said during an interview with BBC Radio on Thursday, Aug. 5.

Shapps added that the British government does not want to mandate the vaccines for passengers. But he claimed without evidence that the vaccinations were necessary to "protect the domestic gains" made in tackling the post-vaccine outbreak caused by the delta variant.

The government secretary is ignoring the fact that the vaccines caused the outbreak, and that fully vaccinated people spread the virus. (Related: British mainstream media insists coronavirus vaccines are effective even though most COVID-19 deaths now occur in vaccinated people.)

During his interview, Shapps even warned young people that if they do not get vaccinated soon the government may take away their freedom to travel.

"It's important to understand that there are simply going to be things that you will not be able to do unless you're double vaccinated or have a medical reason not to be, including going abroad," he said.

"If you're perhaps in your twenties and you feel like, 'Oh, this doesn't really affect me,' well, it is going to, because you won't be able to leave the country."

UK coercing travelers to get vaccinated with fewer travel restrictions

Shapps' statement was made just as British government ministers announced the rolling back of travel restrictions for several countries starting on Aug. 8.

The changes allow fully vaccinated passengers returning to England from France to skip quarantine on arrival.

Several changes were also made with the U.K.'s traffic light system of gauging COVID-19 infection risk.

Countries like Germany and Australia have been moved to the "green" list. This allows passengers from those countries to travel to England without the need for quarantine, including unvaccinated people.

Travel hubs like the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and India have been taken off the "red" list. This allows travelers from those countries to quarantine in their residences of choice rather than in government-approved quarantine hotels.

The airline and tourism industries have welcomed the changes in the U.K.'s travel restrictions. But they urged the British government to go even further. They are lobbying the country to amend the testing rules that require everyone returning to England from abroad to take two COVID-19 tests, including at least one expensive and unreliable polymerase chain reaction test.

"The U.K.'s economic recovery is reliant on a thriving travel sector and right now we're lagging behind Europe, with our most stringent testing requirements and a red list significantly broader than our European peers," said British Airways CEO Sean Doyle.

Shapps defended the testing requirement and said it would be "irresponsible" to amend it to require fewer tests.

"It would be irresponsible for us not to … to be testing people when they do travel before they leave and when they get back," he said. "That's how you can guard against the next big variant that none of us know about yet."

"We want our travel industry to be successful, and in the ideal world … I wish that people could just travel freely without any of this burden or tests or anything else," he added. "We have to live in the reality which is that different variants of the coronavirus can spring up anywhere."

Similar travel policies are being considered in other countries. In the United States, White House officials said they were drawing up plans to require all foreigners entering the country to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The World Travel and Tourism Industry, a nonprofit that represents the interests of the travel and tourism sectors, warned that implementing COVID-19 vaccination requirements for travel would create "effective 'no-go' areas for vast tracts of the world."

Learn more about how governments are trying to use the pandemic to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations by reading the latest articles at

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