Foreign holidays could still happen this summer, says Matt Hancock


A HOLIDAY abroad this summer hasn’t been completely ruled out, depending on how well the vaccine works against the new variants.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said “the door is not shut” on international travel this summer, despite fears they may not resume until August.

Holidays abroad haven't been written off the summer just yet, according to the Health Secretary

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Holidays abroad haven’t been written off the summer just yet, according to the Health SecretaryCredit: Alamy

He told This Morning: “There may well be [international holidays this summer], I wouldn’t rule that out.

“The door is not shut, it’s just too early to say. But what we can say with confidence, is that the unlocking at home is on track.”

Speaking to the travel industry, he added: “I’ve got a lot of sympathy and I think we all want to get that going as soon as possible, but the most important thing is to protect the recovery here at home, to make sure people can see their loved ones and we don’t have to go into lockdown again.”

He said that the biggest problem is from variants, adding: “On the international side there are these new variants and they’re a worry, so we’re being really cautious on international travel.”

He added: “The biggest problem that we’ve got, in terms of holidays, is if there’s a new variant that the vaccine doesn’t work against, and we know that there’s a couple out there, where there’s hardly any in this country – we know the vaccine works against the type of Covid we’ve got in this country, that’s why numbers are coming down so far.”

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He also said that Brits may need a third dose of the vaccine in autumn do deal with new variants, which the government are currently working on.

The UK is one of the leading countries for the vaccine with more than 43 per cent of the popular having the first job – and more than 30m jabs given out.

Families are hoping to be able to return to popular hotspots including Spain and Greece by the summer

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Families are hoping to be able to return to popular hotspots including Spain and Greece by the summerCredit: Alamy
Countries like Greece have been vocal in wanting Brits back this summer

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Countries like Greece have been vocal in wanting Brits back this summerCredit: Alamy

He also pushed again for a great British summer, and was “confident” a UK trip would go ahead.

Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Modelling group (SPI-M), the modelling subgroup of Sage, said yesterday that while the UK vaccine is good for lifting restrictions in the UK, the situation abroad means holidays will be hindered.

He said: “Domestically it’s pretty easy for us to get back to a level of freedom given how well our vaccination campaign is going.

“But this is a global problem, it could be a long time before some countries get the vaccines they need to be able to fully unlock and start international travel again.”

The only restrictions currently lifted in England are allowing groups of up to six people being allowed to meet outdoors, although Wales holidays resumed from the weekend at self-catered properties.

Minister for Sport and Tourism Nigel Huddleston told Sky News said he also “encouraged people” to plan for a UK holiday, not a trip abroad.

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He added: “We do want to open up as soon as we can, that goes for domestic and indeed international, but we’ll do so cautiously based on the evidence and we’ll keep a very close eye on what’s happening in both the EU and elsewhere around the world.”

New rules being introduced today will enforce £5,000 fines for anyone breaking the rules and going on holiday.

The government is looking at other ways to allow travel to resume abroad which includes vaccine passports and traffic light systems for low-risk countries.

In response to the uncertainty, popular holiday destinations in the UK are selling out due to demand, with Cornwall families even placed onto waiting lists.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden says there are ‘challenges around international travel’ as August mooted for foreign trips





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