Holidays 2021: Matt Hancock issues holiday warning for May foreign travel – can you go?

Matt Hancock says there will be 'further work' on international travel

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Matt Hancock appeared on BBC Breakfast this morning to discuss Boris Johnson’s ‘roadmap’ announcement last night. According to the latest travel advice from the Government: “Self-contained accommodation, such as holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can also reopen” in Step Two, “no earlier than April 12.” “The rest of the accommodation sector,” can reopen in Step Three, “no earlier than 17 May.”

International travel is not allowed before this May date, but the roadmap lists this as subject to review.

The Government’s Global Travel Taskforce will release a report by 12 April on how to restart foreign travel safely.

Johnson said this will “give people time to make their plans for the summer”.

After June 21, it’s hoped life can largely return to normal.

The roadmap has left many people optimistic they can go on a foreign holiday in May – but is this the case?

When asked about May travel on BBC this morning, Hancock said: “We’ve been absolutely clear that this is an area that we need to do further work on.

“We’ve put in the dates that we would like to see this opened up, but they are ‘not before’ dates, so, we are saying it won’t happen before then.

“We have also got this review into international travel which is important.”

Hancock explained that it was important to ascertain the vaccine’s impact on Covid variants before travel could be reopened entirely.

“The number of these new variants that might not be dealt with by the vaccine as effectively as the Covid that’s circulating in the large part here in the UK – all those variants, we need to see the impact of the vaccine on them,” he said.

“If that impact is perfectly good – if that stops the majority of hospitalizations and deaths, as the vaccine does against the variant that’s here, then great.

“But if there’s a variant that can get around the vaccine, then obviously, that would set us back.”

The Health Secretary continued: “We would need to be cautious against that.

“That’s why we’ve set out a review in that area because we just don’t know the science in that space yet.

“We’re working on it very hard, including with our colleagues in the South African government and the team at [defence laboratory] Porton Down who are absolutely brilliant on this and other scientists, but that is one of the unknown as yet.”

As for vaccine certificates, Hancock commented: “There’s clearly an important role for certification for international travel, and we’re working with colleagues around the world on that.”

ABTA -The Travel Association responded to the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of ABTA – The Travel Association said: “The Prime Minister’s announcement today sets an ambition to get people travelling before the summer – which will not only be crucial for travel businesses whose revenues have been wiped out, but also for the millions of people who are desperate to travel again, whether to see friends and relatives based overseas or for a much needed holiday.

“We’re pleased to see the Government has responded to our calls to engage with industry on a specific roadmap for travel, and we welcome that the Global Travel Taskforce will reconvene to work with ABTA and the wider travel industry on a plan for reopening travel.

“Even with the prospect of travel resuming, we renew our call to the Chancellor to use his Budget next week to provide tailored financial support to travel agents and tour operators, recognising the pressing need that travel companies have for financial assistance if they are to come through the weeks ahead.”

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