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New travel rules are going to be introduced in weeks, says Sajid Javid

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A new “framework for international travel” is expected to be released in weeks, the Health Secretary confirmed.

Sajid Javid addressed the Commons on Tuesday afternoon where he explained Transport Secretary Grant Shapps would provide further updates on international travel ahead of the formal review point on October 1.

Since May, a travel traffic light system has been in place which lists each country as green, amber, or red with different practices for each one.

Mr Javid teased PCR tests could be binned for travel and double-jabbed travellers could be asked to use cheaper lateral flow tests.

Tory MP Huw Merriman, who chairs the Transport Select Committee, asked if Mr Javid would “entertain the idea of moving to lateral flow tests, which are cheaper, and then only the small proportion of positive cases will then need to take up a PCR test”.

Mr Javid said: “I don’t want to pre-empt the statement by the transport secretary but I believe that when he makes that statement, he will be pleased.”

At the weekend, he had said the PCR tests should not be in place “for a second longer than is absolutely necessary” and he wanted to get rid of them “as soon as I can”.

Watch: COVID-19: Two-thirds of travel firms plan job cuts when furlough ends, industry body warns

Elsewhere, Boris Johnson addressed the travel system in a press conference on Tuesday.

He said: “I appreciate that people are very frustrated about the travel rules but it is vital that we do whatever we can to stop the virus being reimported and particularly to control new variants when they are at risk of coming in.”

The next travel update is expected on Wednesday or Thursday.

It comes as the Health Secretary said a surge in Covid-19 cases this winter could see people in England ordered to wear face masks and show passes to prove their vaccination status.

Mr Javid said the measures are part of a "Plan B" if efforts to control the spread of coronavirus - including a massive booster vaccination programme - are not effective.

The contingency plans will only be activated if there is "unsustainable" pressure on the NHS in England, Mr Javid said.

As part of "Plan A" for autumn and winter, a booster vaccination campaign will begin next week for millions of people who received jabs in phase one of the rollout.

People will be encouraged to meet outdoors or open windows if indoors, wear a face-covering in crowded and enclosed settings, wash their hands frequently, and use the NHS Covid-19 app.

Businesses are also urged to consider using the Covid pass to check the vaccination or test status of customers.

Mr Javid told MPs: "The plan shows how we’ll give this nation the best possible chance of living with Covid without the need for stringent social and economic restrictions."

But he added: "We have seen how quickly this virus can adapt and change so we have prepared a Plan B of contingency measures that we can call upon only if they are needed and supported by the data to prevent unsustainable pressure on the NHS."

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