Video report by ITV News Correspondent Richard Pallot
Just a «few days» remain before the British public finds out if it can book holidays abroad this month, a senior minister has said, after Boris Johnson gave hope that «some» foreign trips will be permitted.
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said government plans set out «very shortly» will «cover what is happening from May 17 onwards», so people have the «details they need» to book a holiday.
A traffic light system for travel destinations is expected to be revealed in «early May», according to the government, ahead of England taking its next step out of lockdown on May 17 – as set out in the PM’s roadmap.
Asked when people can begin to start planning holidays, she said: «I’d urge people to wait a few days until we have that announcement.»
Liz Truss on when people can book holidays:
Although the list of nations that will be on the green list has not yet been announced the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) downgraded its travel advice for several popular holiday destinations on Tuesday.
The FCDO has now stopped advising against non-essential travel to Portugal (excluding the Azores), Spain’s Canary Islands or the Greek islands of Rhodes, Kos, Zante, Corfu and Crete.
The change in travel advice has led to speculation the holiday destinations could be on the green list when it is revealed.
Ms Truss’s remarks follow those of the prime minister, who said on Monday that he does want to see «some opening up» of foreign travel on May 17,» but added: «I don’t think the people of this country want to see an influx of disease from anywhere else.»
He said the government will be «saying more as soon as we can».
During a visit to Hartlepool, where there’s a by-election on Thursday, Mr Johnson added: «I think that there will be some openings up on the 17th but we have got to be cautious, we have got to be sensible, we have got to make sure we don’t see the virus coming back in.»
When plans are set out, countries around the world will be designated either ‘green, amber or red’ depending on factors including a nation’s vaccination rates, coronavirus infection levels and the prevalence of new variants of Covid-19.
Watch: Boris Johnson says there will be ‘some opening up’ of foreign travel:
The rules for people returning from each category are:
Green: There is no need to self-isolate. Take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on day two of your arrival in the UK.
Amber: Self-isolate for 10 days, unless you receive a negative result from a test taken at least five days after arrival. Take a pre-departure test, and PCR tests on day two and day eight of your arrival in the UK.
Red: Spend 10 days in a quarantine hotel. Take a pre-departure test, and PCR tests on day two and day eight of your arrival in the UK.
Labour leader Sir Starmer said «the sooner we can start having holidays abroad again, the better, I think everyone wants that to happen but equally I think everybody says we mustn’t go back into another lockdown.»
He added: «Caution has to be the byword, you can see what’s happening in other countries with the virus still out of control – we’ve got to be careful.»
The PM’s spokesman said the Government would stick to the road map for easing England’s lockdown despite positive indications about the current state of the pandemic.
He told reporters: «The aim of the road map throughout is to be cautious but irreversible.
«We are approaching the earliest possible date for step three and we will say more about that soon.»
Newspaper reports claim Portugal, Malta and Gibraltar are likely to be on the green list, while more popular destinations such as Spain, Greece and France are likely to start off amber before moving to green. The European Commission said it would ease restrictions on travel to the bloc amid progressing Covid-19 vaccination campaigns and lower infection rates.
The EU is proposing «to allow entry to the EU for non-essential reasons not only for all persons coming from countries with a good epidemiological situation, but also all people who have received the last recommended dose of an EU-authorised vaccine».
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