Foreign holidays ‘are unlikely to be legal until AUGUST’ amid warnings people booking trips for June and July are ‘very optimistic’
- Boris Johnson’s roadmap has May 17 as earliest for foreign holidays to return
- Scientists have been warning keeping borders tight could be price for unlocking
- Sources say international travel looks ‘unlikely’ before August amid pandemic
Foreign holidays are unlikely to be back on the cards until August, it was claimed today despite plans to lift the domestic lockdown in June.
Britons booking trips abroad have been warned they are being ‘very optimistic’, with signs ministers will keep the legal ban on non-essential travel in place longer to minimise the risk of importing mutant Covid strains.
Even once the restrictions are eased destinations with higher infection rates are expected to face extra rules such as quarantine.
The grim message comes as Europe faces another wave of the disease, amid its struggling vaccine rollout.
Scientists have been cautioning that tougher borders might be the trade-off for loosening the lockdown, with households set to be allowed to mix outside from tomorrow for the first time in month.
Britons booking trips abroad before August have been warned they are being ‘very optimistic’. Pictured, a beach in Tenerife
Boris Johnson said yesterday that he is wary of the prospect of rising coronavirus infection rates, but sees ‘absolutely nothing in the data’ to change his roadmap
A new law coming into force this week means anyone who tries to leave England before June 30 without ‘good reason’ faces a £5,000 fine.
The government is due to unveil a plan for international leisure travel before May 17, the earliest point at which it could resume.
However, one source told the Sunday Times that the restrictions are set to last much longer: ‘August is looking like the most likely moment.’
The indication came as the nation was warned not to ‘squander the gains’ made against coronavirus as the rules ease.
NHS England national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said that Covid-19 still has the capacity to ‘wreak more havoc and ill health on a significant scale’, citing concerns over new variants.
Groups of up to six, or two households, will be able to socialise in parks and gardens from tomorrow as outdoor sports facilities reopen and the stay-at-home order ends in England.
Boris Johnson said yesterday that he is wary of the prospect of rising coronavirus infection rates, but sees ‘absolutely nothing in the data’ to change his roadmap.
The PM acknowledged cases could again spiral as restrictions are relaxed but said the ‘key difference’ this time is that the rise in prevalence should be ‘sufficiently mitigated’ by the successful vaccine rollout.
Prof Powis said the prospects ‘look immeasurably brighter and more positive’ but said that the easing ‘does not mean job done’.
‘We’ve made enormous progress that we need to build on and not squander the gains we’ve made,’ he wrote in the Sunday Telegraph.
‘We need to hold our nerve and drive for the line, so everyone can get back safely and soon to our normal lives.’
In more signs of hope for emerging from the crisis, the Mail on Sunday revealed today that the first 500,000 doses of Moderna vaccine should arrive within the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, it has been claimed the UK is ready to offer 3.7million jabs to Ireland after Easter, partly to help ease lockdown restrictions in Northern Ireland.
During a discussion at the Conservatives’ virtual spring forum yesterday, the Prime Minister said that a ‘third wave’ is being witnessed in parts of Europe and ‘bitter experience’ has taught him that this could hit the UK ‘three weeks later’.
But he added: ‘There’s lots of promising evidence that a lot of people who could be vulnerable are now protected against death and serious disease, that’s my hope, my hunch.’
Mr Johnson remained optimistic that his road map to easing England’s restrictions can continue, saying there is a ‘good chance’ of allowing non-essential retail reopening on April 12, when hairdressers are also earmarked to reopen.
‘In just a few days’ time, I’m finally going to be able to go to the barbers,’ he said in a subsequent speech.
‘But more important than that, I’m going to be able to go down the street and cautiously, but irreversibly, I’m going to drink a pint of beer in the pub.
‘And as things stand, I can see absolutely nothing in the data to dissuade me from continuing along our road map to freedom, unlocking our economy and getting back to the life we love.’
Government data up to Friday showed that 29,727,435 people in the UK have received a first jab, a rise of 411,305 on the previous day.
The Government said a further 58 people had died within 28 days of a positive test for Covid-19 as of Saturday, bringing the UK total to 126,573.
In Wales, lockdown restrictions were eased when the ‘stay local’ requirement was dropped on Saturday and people were allowed to stay in self-contained holiday accommodation.
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