Lifting the ban on foreign holidays in the coming months could risk another stalemate next winter, Boris Johnson is warning, amid growing alarm over a third wave of infections sweeping across continental Europe.
Scientific experts and opposition politicians are urging the government to be extremely careful before releasing travel restrictions, with their concerns about the prevalence of new overseas virus variants increasingly being shared by Whitehall.
I do not think people should plan summer vacations abroad until next year, said Prof Kamlesh Khunti, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage) and Sage Independent at the University of Leicester.
It has been a difficult blockage, we are doing so well, we can not risk it now. Our rate is dropping, our vaccination [rate] is fantastic and the biggest fear we have is new variants against which vaccines also do not work.
We knew from the beginning of the pandemic that our border control was not good: we had people coming from Spain and Italy and that raised rates in the UK, and in the summer we have more cases. We can not allow this now, he said, adding, Does this risk another blockage? Absolutely.
Rowland Kao, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh who contributes to Sage’s Spi-M modeling subgroup, said there were several reasons to be cautious about opening the trip, in particular, the risk of importing Covid variants that may be resistant to vaccines.
The remarks echoed those of Spi-M member Mike Tildesley, who said on Saturday that foreign travel for the average vacationer this summer seemed extremely impossible.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace gave a cautious tone when asked about the likelihood that travel restrictions could continue well into the summer, saying it was too early to book foreign holidays.
We cannot be deaf and blind to what is happening outside the UK. “If you look at Europe and the rise in infections, we can not risk the huge amount of effort, from the taxpayer, from the NHS, from our scientists, to develop this vaccine,” he told Sophy Ridge on Sky News.
Vaccinations set another record of 844,285 on Sunday. The number of new cases of coronavirus was 5,312, while 33 other people were reported to have died within 28 days of positive testing for the disease.
The Prime Minister’s Guide said that foreign travel for all, except for some specific purposes, would not resume until May 17th. Whitehall insiders said the government is very carefully considering case norms in destination countries.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is overseeing a global travel force to consider how holidays and other travel can be facilitated, which is expected to be reported within three weeks.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet Office is conducting a special review on whether any form of Covid certificate can allow travelers to indicate that they have been vaccinated or have received a recent negative test result.
Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas Symonds said: Covid’s new growth across Europe is really worrying. The UK’s first priority should be to protect the progress made by the vaccine, which means we need a comprehensive hotel quarantine system without further delays.
Of course we all want international travel to resume, but safety must come first. It is too early to say whether there may be a change in travel tips on May 17, as numbers in many European countries are growing so fast. We should be guided by science, not arbitrary dates.
In a further blow to possible summer vacation plans, a series of European governments appear to be imposing further restrictions due to a rise in infections, and European Commissioner Didier Reynders said on Sunday he did not expect a vaccine passport. EU that potentially facilitated the trip to be available at least until July.
Ahead of a videoconference Monday for Germany’s national and regional leaders, the Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases announced that case levels had passed a key indicator. The number of infections per 100,000 inhabitants reached 103.9 on Sunday, the institute said, above the 100 threshold at which it is thought that Germany’s intensive care units will no longer be able to cope.
Meanwhile, in light of evidence of a third wave of infection on the continent, Belgian Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke spoke on Sunday of the need for additional measures despite the country having been in a second difficult national stalemate since November.
We have set ourselves a very important ambition by fully opening schools after Easter and food from May 1, Vandenbroucke said. With this increase in pollution, there is a risk of not achieving these objectives.
A personal summit of EU heads of state and government scheduled to take place in Brussels on Thursday was canceled on Sunday. Leaders will discuss the new wave of coronavirus cases through on-site videoconferencing. A spokesman said the decision was taken after the rise of Covid-19 issues in member states.
The focus of EU leaders has shifted in recent weeks from the question of how to safely reopen economies before the tourist season to protect health services from overcrowding.
In Greece, a popular tourist destination for the British, the government warned on Sunday it could seek out private sources of healthcare as its public system was facing strains.
However, any extension of travel restrictions in the UK that currently means vacation are not allowed, and travelers must complete a form stating the purpose of each trip, likely to anger Conservative backwarders who are already stepping into the length of the current blockade.
The House of Commons will hold a pair of votes Thursday to decide whether to extend the powers of governments to impose severe restrictions on daily life for another six months, and a number of Tory lawmakers have warned they intend to rebel. .
Steve Baker, vice president of the backbench MPs’ Coronavirus Recovery Group, said, with so many vulnerable people vaccinated now, people may wonder why the restrictions the government is bringing in this coming week are tougher than they were last summer. when we did not have a vaccine.
A government spokesman said some aspects of the Coronavirus Act, which is expected to be renewed this week, will be allowed to expire as they are no longer needed, but noted that the act also supports support measures such as the enterprise scheme and changes in the statute the salary of the sick.
The Prime Minister has said that the aim is for our guide to be careful but irreversible, so we need to evaluate the data against our four tests before proceeding with each step. We do not want any restrictions to last longer than necessary, the spokesman said.
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