A furious Matt Hancock has taken aim at holidaymakers as he slammed ‘parties in Paris’ and ‘weekends in Dubai’ amid the UK’s Covid-19 international travel ban.
The Health Secretary on Sunday reinforced the government’s rule that international travel should not be happening unless it was ‘absolutely necessary’.
His comments come as many UK celebrities and social media stars have descended on Dubai and the Caribbean over recent months, escaping stringent lockdown measures at home, with many maintaining their trips were for business purposes.
A furious Matt Hancock has taken aim at holidaymakers as he slammed ‘parties in Paris’ and ‘weekends in Dubai’ amid the UK’s Covid-19 international travel ban
Speaking on the BBC this morning, Mr Hancock reiterated: ‘International travel, right now, should not be happening unless it’s absolutely necessary.
‘No parties in Paris or weekends in Dubai. That is not on and in most cases it’s against the law.’
Mr Hancock gave a ‘medical emergency’ as one example where travelling abroad would be deemed acceptable.
He quickly added: ‘Although frankly, with the NHS, you’ve got the best medical services you can possibly have in the world, right here in Britain.’
Under lockdown rules, people are not allowed to travel abroad aside for a few ‘legally permitted’ reasons including healthcare and work.
The government guidelines for international travel currently state: ‘Under current UK COVID-19 restrictions, you must stay at home. You must not leave home or travel, including internationally, unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so.’
A number of countries have banned travel to and from the UK completely as they try to contain the spread of the new coronavirus variant.
Hot spot: Dubai has been the primary hot spot for reality star ‘business trips’ throughout the pandemic, and stars continue to flock to the United Arab Emirates despite soaring infection rates
Exciting: Amber and boyfriend Dan Edgar shared multiple updates from their trip as they flew out of London’s Heathrow Airport for an ‘exciting business venture’
Living it up: Amid yacht trips and wild nights out, a host of stars have maintained their trips have been for business purposes with many confirming their work plans on social media or to publications through their representatives (Love Island’s Kaz Crossley and Ellie Brown, pictured)
On December 20, London and surrounding areas were plunged into Tier 4, which saw travel abroad for leisure ‘not permitted’, with exceptions only allowed for reasons such as work, education and childcare.
On January 4, Boris Johnson announced a new national lockdown following a rapid rise in infections, hospital admissions and case rates across the country.
While many Brits remained at home during this period with social media accounts as a key form of entertainment, Instagram feeds became littered with a legion of snaps of the great and good of the reality TV world – including stars of TOWIE, Love Island and Geordie Shore – soaking up the sun around the globe.
Social media stars including Sophia Peschisolido (left) and Chloe Ferry (right) have showed off their travels to Dubai after the city opened its doors as a pandemic-era party haven
A host of stars, including TOWIE’s Amber Turner, Dan Edgar, Yazmin Oukhellou and James Lock, have maintained their trips have been for business purposes with many confirming their work plans on social media or to publications through their representatives.
UK reality stars including Geordie Shore’s Chloe Ferry and Love Island’s Laura Anderson are thought to earn thousands of pounds for sponsored Instagram posts in Dubai.
Meanwhile, Celtic FC faced scrutiny from the Scottish government for travelling to the UAE for a warm-weather training camp which ended in two players testing positive.
Away from Dubai, the usual celebrity-magnet shores of the Caribbean have been lit up with celebrities despite the pandemic, with Vogue Williams pictured in St. Barts and Love Island star Montana Brown in Barbados.
Love Island stars Francesca Allen (left) and Laura Anderson (right) were also among those to head to Dubai, where a travel corridor to the UK was still open until last week
After throwing open its doors as a pandemic-era party haven for a host of glamorous influencers and reality stars, Dubai is refusing to stop the revelry even as it faces its worst-ever surge in coronavirus cases.
As Britain endures a grinding winter lockdown, life in the tourism-reliant emirate looks much like normal, with its restaurants, hotels and cavernous shopping malls all open for business and raucous yacht parties in full swing.
While many countries banned UK tourists because of the alarming new strain of the virus, the UAE kept its doors open with Emirates flying five times a day between Heathrow and Dubai over the holidays.
But reality is catching up to the big-dreaming city, with virus infections nearly trebling in the last month to reach unprecedented heights – forcing Britain to slam shut its travel corridor.