Matt Hancock and Van-Tam provide update on holiday advice
Holidays haven’t been possible for most people for an alarmingly long time. Travel is currently banned due to the Covid pandemic but many hope measures will have eased up by the summer. Today Matt Hancock and Professor Jonathan Van-Tam issued the latest travel advice – and it wasn’t as positive as one might hope.
Van-Tam cautioned it was simply too early to tell what the lie of the land will be when it comes to summer getaways.
“I think it’s just too early to say,” he said in today’s press conference.
“We don’t yet have the readouts on the success of the vaccine programme, though I expect we will start to see those within one to two weeks.
“Public Health countermeasures, non-pharmaceutical interventions, social distancing restrictions – they will have to be released gradually.
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Van-Tam continued: “How quickly they can be released will depend upon three things – the virus, the vaccine, and the extent to which the public obey the rules that are in place, which thankfully the vast majority always do.”
He also addressed the question of whether Britons will be able to go abroad or jet-set with other households.
“Really, the more elaborate your plans are for summer holidays in terms of crossing borders, in terms of household mixing, given where we are now, I think you just have to say you’re…making guesses about the unknown at this point,” he said.
“I can’t give people a proper answer at this point because we don’t yet have the data, it’s just too early.”
Hancock, who previously has sounded upbeat about summer holidays also issued words of warning
“We need to protect the country from new variants,” he said.
“Hence the toughening that we took last month to measures at the border.
“And we’re on track to deliver on the stronger border measures still from countries, particularly of concern by next Monday.”
Hancock continued: “The reason it’s important to get this set up now is that the proportion of cases coming from abroad at the moment is obviously very low, not least because it is currently illegal to go on holiday anyway.”
He explained that the tough new rules can only be removed when it’s right.
“Of course we want to lift these measures as with all the other measures as soon as is safely possible,” said the Health Secretary.
“But until we know more about the impact of the vaccines on all these different variants, and therefore, for now, the precautionary principle is the right approach.”
A recent study of 2,000 adults revealed that four in 10 Britons say the past year is the longest they have ever gone without a holiday.
In the past year, 58 percent have had to cancel three or more planned trips away.
This has impacted their wellbeing, with 49 percent believing that trips away positively impact their physical and mental health.
The research, commissioned by IHG Hotels & Resorts, also found 38 percent of those who travel for work feel business trips improve their working mood and make them more motivated.
An optimistic 57 percent plan to or have already rebooked trips, with family holidays and visiting loved ones topping travel wish lists for 2021.
And 47 percent believe it’s important to have something to look forward to.
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