Blackburn: ‘We won't waste vaccine’ says vaccination director
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New health laws were passed today fining Scots if they travel Blackburn with Darwen, Bedford or Bolton, where cases of the variant have surged. The Indian variant is 50 percent more transmissible than the Kent variant of coronavirus, the strain of COVID-19 that started a second wave at Christmas.
SNP led Scottish Government ministers said Scots could be fined £60 up to to a maximum of £960 if they repeatedly break the rules.
But Middlesbrough MP Simon Clarke criticised the ban and said: “We all need to take Covid seriously.
“But last time I checked, we were all citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and free to act accordingly.”
A Scottish Government source told the Express last night: “We are putting these restrictions in place respectfully.
“These areas are of concern due to the high prevalence of the April-02 variant so we need appropriate measures in place which will be enforceable by Police Scotland.”
Last night, the Scottish Government also refused to rule out introducing the regulations to other parts of England.
This publication understands public health officials are “monitoring” areas in England including parts of London where surge testing has had to take place.
UK Government ministers have also updated official guidance to advise against all but essential travel in Bedford, Blackburn and Darwen, Bolton, Burnley, Kirklees, Leicester, Hounslow, and North Tyneside, where the variant is growing fastest.
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However, the guidance appears to have been changed last week without an official announcement.
Oxford East MP Layla Moran said the change risked causing “confusion and uncertainty” without a lack of consultation.
The Lib Dem politician said: “This is a major change to policy that will have a huge impact on people’s lives. Simply updating the Government website without an official announcement is a recipe for confusion and uncertainty.
“Local people and public health leaders in these areas need urgent clarity from the Government. Matt Hancock must come before Parliament and make a public statement to explain these new rules.
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“It seems crucial lessons have still not been learnt about the importance of clear messaging during a pandemic.”
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus has called on the Government to provide “urgent clarity” on restrictions in areas where the Indian variant is spreading.
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