Too early for Britons to book summer holidays abroad, minister says

FILE PHOTO: A plane takes off at Heathrow Airport amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in London, United Kingdom on Feb.4, 2021. REUTERS / Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) – It would be premature for Brits to book overseas summer holidays as the UK needs to avoid a situation where holidaymakers return with vaccine-resistant variants of COVID-19, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said on Sunday.

Half of all adults in the UK have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, well ahead of any other major economies and neighboring European countries where vaccine adoption is slow and chaotic.

Wallace said the UK should avoid tossing away the profits of its vaccination campaign by letting dangerous variants via returning tourists into the country.

“If we were in any way reckless and imported new varieties that were risky, what would people say? We’re going in good direction, we’re getting there and I think we have to make sure we keep that going at all costs, ”he said on Sky News.

Foreign holidays are currently prohibited. According to the government’s four-stage roadmap, they could not resume until May 17 at the earliest, although that could be later.

“I haven’t booked my vacation,” Wallace said in a separate interview on BBC television. “It would be premature to do that.”

According to the four-stage plan, a government task force is due to report to the government in April on the issue of foreign travel. Wallace said people should at least wait to hear that the advice will be that task force.

His comments were the latest in a series of similar warnings from scientists, public health experts and politicians that sparked fears of a second lost summer season in a row for British vacationers as well as airlines and travel companies.

“We cannot be deaf and blind to what is going on outside of the UK. If you look in Europe, the infections are on the rise, ”Wallace told Sky News.

Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; Adaptation by Catherine Evans and Pravin Char

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