Dominic Raab refused to comment on the response US President Donald Trump adopted to the coronavirus outbreak after his Labour counterpart Emily Thornberry criticised the US leader. Ms Thornberry took issue with the US President originally referring to the coronavirus pandemic as a “hoax” before rushing to unleash protective measures over the past week. The Foreign Minister hit out at Ms Thornberry for focusing on “sniping” at Mr Trump rather than on the substance of the crisis.
Responding to Ms Thornberry in the Commons today, Mr Raab said: “She did her usual routine of sniping at the US President.
“I have to say that is no substitute for a serious question on the substance, let alone a serious policy answer.”
Ms Thornberry had previously condemned international communities reacting unilaterally to the COVID-19 pandemic instead of “pooling” experience together to work through the crisis.
The shadow Foreign Secretary said: “We have again seen individual companies and countries working in silos.
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Dominic Raab scolded Thornberry for “sniping”
Dominic Raab updated the FCO’s travel advice saying Britons should stay put for 30 days
“And the shameful attempt by Donald Trump to buy the German company in the lead when it comes to discovering a vaccine not just to steal the glory of the vaccine for himself but to hoard it for the Americans alone.
“The challenges posed by the coronavirus are fearful enough for the world without world leaders compounding them through their incompetence and their inaction.”
President Trump at the weekend was reported to have attempted to buy the coronavirus vaccine Tübingen-based pharmaceutical company CureVac has been in the process of developing.
Mr Trump reportedly offered “large sums of money” to ensure the vaccine could be exported to “only for the US”.
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Emily Thornberry took a pop at Donald Trump’s first reaction to the pandemic
Mr Raab also updated the Foreign and Commonwealth (FCO)’s travel advice, urging all Britons to avoid travel globally for the next 30 days.
Mr Raab explained: “The situation is moving very rapidly.
“The Foreign Office made more than 200 changes to our travel advice over the last weekend alone.
“We’ve also published a checklist to help British travellers think through the challenges and questions they should ask about international travel. We are in contact with the airlines for insurance reasons.”
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The Foreign Secretary is expected to make a further statement on travel insurance support for holidaymakers soon.
As fear around airlines and travel firms going bust in the coming months, the government has also assured it is gearing up to deal with a repatriation effort, as well as offering support to those who find themselves trapped without accommodation.
“We do want to avoid a more and more UK nationals, particularly vulnerable ones, being trapped overseas,” said Mr Raab.
The news comes as airports across the UK are asking the government for support during this turbulent time for the industry.