Holidays abroad should only restart when ‘all over 50s are vaccinated’ by end of summer, says Prof Lockdown
HOLIDAYS abroad should be allowed to go ahead when all over-50s have been given the vaccine, according to the professor who spearheaded the lockdown measures.
This would mean trips abroad would only resume from late summer, following the UK governments road map, scuppering summer holiday plans.
Professor Neil Ferguson told the BBC's World at One: "I'm in favour of relaxing border measures at a slower rate than we relax controls in the country and doing all we can against the importation of variants which might undermine our vaccine progress.
"It means, [when we] have finished vaccinating everyone over 50, which will be late summer, and having vaccines in our stockpile which we know work effectively against the variants.
"Conservatively, and being risk averse at the moment, we should be planning on summer holidays in the UK, not overseas."
He previously said he was "80 per cent sure" that Brits would be able to enjoy this summer in the UK as the vaccine rollout beats back Covid.
"It is highly likely that we will have driven Covid down to very low levels of case numbers, and we can begin enjoying summer," he said.
'We will still need to monitor things very carefully and there has yet to be a proper discussion about what we do in autumn.
"Certainly, I think it is highly likely we will have to roll out a booster vaccine to protect against possible new variants.
"So, while I am optimistic overall, I still think there is a 20% chance things could go wrong – with the possible appearance of dangerous new variants which undermine immunity given by vaccines."
Other experts have warned that trips are unlikely to go ahead before July, despite hopes of a May restart date for holidays abroad.
The UK's Global Travel Taskforce is to announce on April 12 about when overseas holidays can resume, with previous hopes this would be from May 17.
However, this is looking more unlikely due to the Covid situation abroad, which is seeing soaring new cases and the prevalence of South African variant.
Dr Mike Tildesley said that allowing holidaymakers to flock to foreign countries could "jeopardise" the UK's vaccination campaign and let new Covid variants in.
He said: "I think that international travel this summer is, for the average holidaymaker, sadly I think, extremely unlikely."
"I think we are running a real risk if we do start to have lots of people going overseas in July and August because of the potential for bringing more of these new variants back into the country.
"What is really dangerous is if we jeopardise our vaccination campaign by having these variants where the vaccines don't work as effectively spreading more rapidly."
Anyone who tries to go on holiday from Monday will face fines up to £5,000 under new laws.
Brits already have to also fill out a form if they do want to leave the country, stating their permitted reason to do so, or they will face a £200 fine for not having the right paperwork.
Other restrictions include a mandatory 10-day quarantine when returning to the UK as well as two negative Covid tests.
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