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Foreign holidays

How dare ministers ruin our summer?

Carbis Bay, where the G7 summit will be held. Hugh Hastings/Getty Images

Politicians are showing holidaymakers “utter contempt”, says Camilla Long in The Sunday Times. Ministers Matt Hancock and Grant Shapps can’t even decide what to call the new variant – Indian or Delta – but they agree that it’s scary, and that holidays abroad are “an act of complete selfishness”. So the 112,000 people who’ve gone on holiday to Portugal must find £711 for flights home after it was yanked off the travel green list last week. That hasn’t stopped ministers swanning off to Cornwall for a “three-day corporate jolly” with their G7 mates.

Why shouldn’t we pack our bags? There were three deaths from Covid-19 in the whole of Portugal last Thursday, and 18 in Britain. Shapps says the “positivity” rate in Portugal has doubled, but that’s less important when a high proportion of the population has been vaccinated. Our government seems “paralysed by fear and panic”, gripped by what the Portuguese president has called “health fundamentalism”. It is almost as if Boris Johnson “is writing two articles for every single decision he is making”. But the human impact of banning holidays is not considered. We live stressful lives; we want to see family and get away. “You simply can’t tell a northerly nation that’s been starved of daylight that it can go to Portugal, only to withdraw permission on some faint worry.” At least not from a five-star spa in Cornwall.

Read the full article here (paywall).