United Kingdom must be 'realistic' about restart of foreign holidays, Boris Johnson says

Rodiano Bonacci
Aprile 6, 2021

The prime minister also said vaccine passports would be a "fact of life" for people travelling internationally in future.

Mr Johnson said: "Obviously we are hopeful that we can get going from May 17, we are hopeful".

When will pubs and restaurants reopen in the UK?

With the vaccine rolling out rapidly across Britain and infection numbers falling, Johnson said England could proceed to Stage 2 of his roadmap out of lockdown from April 12.

Chief executive Johan Lundgren claimed passengers should not face "more complexities and cost" for visiting "green" destinations.

In the document published on Monday, the Government said that when non-essential worldwide travel is allowed it will be based on a traffic light system, with those returning from "green" countries not needing to isolate on their return to the UK.

While returnees from red and amber countries will need to comply with quarantine rules, those arriving from green countries will be able to avoid a period of self-isolation if they pay for coronavirus tests.

"We don't want to see the virus being reimported into this country from overseas".

He went on: "I don't think that is fair, I don't think it's right, and I don't think it is necessarily established from a medical and scientific point of view that is the right thing to do".

"I do want to see worldwide travel start up again".

"But I do not wish to give hostages to fortune or to underestimate the difficulty we are seeing in some of the destination countries people might want to go to".

"We can't do it immediately, but that doesn't mean we've given up on 17 May". We'll be saying as much as we can, as soon as we can, about worldwide travel.

Asked about the comments, and whether cheaper lateral flow tests could replace PCR tests in the plans, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "I do think we want to make things as easy as we possibly can. Where we hoped confidence would start to pick up, and more people would be interested in booking holidays... that just won't come this week".

He has encouraged people to take tests at local sites after it was announced earlier today that everyone in England will be given access to two rapid COVID-19 tests a week from Friday.

Earlier on Tuesday, easyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said keeping the current testing rules for those returning to the United Kingdom would only reopen worldwide travel "for people who can afford it".

"If travellers are forced to pay for those tests, then you wouldn't open up global travel for everyone, you would open up worldwide travel for people who can afford it", he said.

He told Sky News of the of planned traffic light system: "If you are categorised as a "green country". there should be no restrictions at all really because what I'm afraid about is that if the government are now adding cost complexity, even if you are in the "green" bucket, that's going to make it out of reach for many families if you look at what the cost would be".

Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic chief executive Shai Weiss has called on the government to enable people to return from "green" countries without the need for tests. If you think you have the virus, don't go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and get advice online. In Scotland anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days.

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