Summer holidays suffer another blow as ministers warn trips abroad ‘unlikely until August’

Travel: Govt looking to avoid 'open and shut' plan says expert

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Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has flagged “challenges around international travel” as Europe is gripped by a third wave of coronavirus. Signposting in England’s roadmap out of lockdown had provisionally suggested May 17 as the earliest return date for international travel.

The new week, starting with Monday’s lockdown easing, sees new legislation threatening fines of up to £5,000 for those leaving the country without “good reason”.

Fines apply to anyone leaving England before June 30.

A Government source also suggested May 17 as a “very optimistic” date for lifting restrictions on international travel.

They told The Sunday Times: “August is looking like the most likely moment”.

Mr Dowden said “all options” are being looked at to ensure Brits can go abroad on holiday this summer as part of a review of foreign breaks.

The Culture Secretary also indicated a traffic light system for international travel is being considered by the Government, with shorter quarantine periods and increased testing.

He said: “We consider all options as part of the travel taskforce.

“You would expect when the Government formulates policy, the way we do this is we look at all the different options, we weigh them up, we come to a position and then when we come to that position, we publish that position and that’s the position that we’ll be setting out at the beginning of next month.”

Speaking to Sky News’ Sophy Ridge yesterday, Mr Dowden referenced Europe’s rising coronavirus cases as why travel restrictions cannot be eased faster.

He said: “Clearly there are challenges around international travel, you only have to look across the continent and see the rising case rates in many of our nearest neighbours.

“It has been in the past the case that those rising infection rates have seen their way through to the UK; we’re hopeful that won’t happen this time round because of our progress with the vaccine and so on, but we do need to be cautious about that.

“That is why we have got this review; we’re looking at it carefully and you will get the results of that at the beginning of next month.”

The UK has administered more than 33.02 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine, with 30,151,287 million being first doses.

Yesterday saw the UK record 3,862 cases and 19 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test.

In total, the UK has recorded 4,333,042 cases and 126,592 deaths.

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