The government have advised people not to travel to eight areas in England as cases of the Indian variant soar.
The government gave the advice on Gov.uk last week, but Boris Johnson or any Minister has not made this announcement publicly.
People across England must avoid travelling in and out of Bedford, Blackburn and Darwen, Bolton, Burnley, Kirklees, Leicester, Hounslow, and North Tyneside.
People are only allowed to travel in or out of these areas for work or to attend education and medical reasons.
The government website says, “In the areas listed… wherever possible, you should try to meet outside rather than inside where possible; keep 2 metres apart from people that you don’t live with [unless you have formed a support bubble with them], this includes friends and family you don’t live with; avoid travelling in and out of affected areas unless it is essential, for example for work [if you cannot work from home] or education.”
Kate Hollern, Labour MP for Blackburn blasted the government for introducing “lockdown-lite through the back door.”
Hollern said, “The guidance is likely to have major implications on businesses, schools and the hospitality sector and I am furious that the government hasn’t even bothered to consult the local authorities involved.”
Layla Moran MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus 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.
“It seems crucial lessons have still not been learnt about the importance of clear messaging during a pandemic.”
Yasmin Qureshi, Labour MP for Bolton South East and Shadow International Development Minister said, “I was not informed of this and I understand nor was anyone else in Bolton.
“I’m just gobsmacked. They’re making such an important announcement and they don’t even have the decency to tell us or tell our constituents.
“This is typical of this government’s incompetence.”
The Work and Pensions Secretary, Therese Coffey said on Tuesday morning that she is surprised to hear people believe that this has come out of the blue, “it hasn’t” she said.
Speaking to Sky News Coffey said, “The Prime Minister set out that we need to take extra caution in certain areas regarding the Indian variant.
“It is good practice to formally put that guidance on the record affecting those communities. We have been working in close contact, so I’m surprised to hear that people think this has come out of the blue, it hasn’t.
“It is about formalising on the record the guidance which we believe people can and should follow in order to make sure we tackle and don’t have more spread of the Indian variant.”
A Government spokesman said, “Working with local authorities, we took swift and decisive action to slow the spread of the B1.617.2 [Indian] variant by introducing surge testing and bringing forward second doses of the vaccine for the most vulnerable.
“We provided additional guidance for those living in affected areas when we became aware of the risk posed by the variant, to encourage people to take an extra cautious approach when meeting others or travelling.”