Transport Secretary says there are no ‘cast iron guarantees’ that summer holidays will go ahead
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said it’s currently still too early to book summer holidays and that there are no "cast iron guarantees" they will be able to go ahead.
Coronavirus lockdown restrictions remain in place across the UK, with travel still banned, apart from a small number of exceptions.
But when might people be able to travel overseas again?
The Global Travel Taskforce is set to lay out its report in the middle of April, with international travel remaining illegal for those in England until at least 17 May.
Mr Shapps was asked by Mishal Hussain on the BBC Today show: “Still too early to book foreign holidays?,” to which he replied: “Yes, in as much as we know that the Global Travel Taskforce that I’m running reports on 12 April.
“We’ve said that it will remain illegal to travel internationally till at least 17 May. That’s an ‘at the earliest’ date,” he added.
Although the Global Travel Taskforce is set to announce their report in April and travel is banned in England until the middle of May at the earliest, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have not yet indicated any dates when travel abroad may be permitted again.
‘We can’t provide cast iron guarantees on it’
Mr Shapps also said that although he is “hopeful” that people will be able to travel abroad this summer, there were no “cast iron guarantees”.
The Transport Secretary told Times Radio: “I am hopeful but, as with everything to do with this virus, you can’t say for certain.
“There are a lot of issues that we need to work around but I am working with international partners, both governments and organisations, to try to make it happen. We can’t provide cast iron guarantees on it.”
This comes as both Cyprus and Greece have indicated they plan to welcome vaccinated holidaymakers from the UK back to their countries.
Cypriot ministers announced last week that they had told officials in Westminster that from 1 May travellers who had had two doses of a vaccine would not need to quarantine or be tested upon arrival. However, travel to Cyprus from the UK at the beginning of May will still not be permitted as the travel ban remains in place.
Greece is also planning on welcoming foreign tourists who are vaccinated against Covid-19 or test negative for the virus from 14 May, but this depends on the status of the Covid pandemic.