Britons’ summer holidays abroad are “extremely unlikely” due to the risk of travellers bringing coronavirus variants back to the UK, a government advisory scientist said.
“I think that international travel this summer is, for the average holidaymaker, sadly I think, extremely unlikely,” Xinhua news agency quoted Mike Tildesley, a member of the government’s Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, as saying to the BBC on Saturday.
“I think we are running a real risk if we do start to have lots of people going overseas in July, for instance, and August because of the potential for bringing more of these new variants back into the country.
“What is really dangerous is if we jeopardize our vaccination campaign by having these variants, where the vaccines don’t work as effectively, spreading more rapidly,” he added.
According to the government’s “roadmap” to exit the lockdown, the earliest date people in England could go for a holiday abroad is May 17.
Currently for Britons, foreign holidays are not allowed and returning travellers have to quarantine.
More than 26.2 million people in Britain have been given the first jab of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the latest official figures.
in a tweet on Saturday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “I’m delighted to be able to say that we’ve now vaccinated half of all adults in the UK.”
However, there are concerns that the variants such as the ones first emerged in Brazil and South Africa, may spread more easily or that vaccines might be less effective against them.
The National Health Service (NHS) England has warned that the country is going to face a “significant reduction” in vaccine supplies from March 29 onwards.
Last week, Hancock had said that a need to retest 1.7 million vaccine doses as well as delays to doses arriving from India are the reasons why the UK is facing a “tighter” supply in Covid jabs next month.
But the government has insisted that the country is on course to offer all adults a dose by the end of July.