Holidaymakers across Britain could be set for further disappointment, as their travel plans could once again be at risk due to Covid. This warning comes after SAGE officials warned the Prime Minister that allowing summer holidays abroad to go ahead this year could result in another lockdown.
At the start of this year, several travel companies announced that bookings for holidays abroad this summer had rocketed. This included bookings by vaccinated seniors looking to enjoy a summer break after the distress of lockdown. After Boris Johnson announced the roadmap out of lockdown last month, there was a further surge in bookings, with many believing that lockdown would be a distant memory by the summer.
However, at the time, many MPs and other officials warned that making bookings was risky due to the situation's unpredictability. It now appears that the Prime Minister could scupper summer holiday plans once again due to fears of another lockdown next autumn and winter.
An increase in variants due to holidays abroad
One of the things that SAGE officials have warned is that allowing holidays abroad could lead to a rise in the number of new variants entering the UK. There are also fears these variants will not respond well to the vaccines in use, putting the country in a very worrying situation.
Officials have also expressed concerns over the current surge in cases across Europe. Some have pointed out that surges in infections across Europe are typically seen a little later here, so the nation may already be in line for another wave of the pandemic.
SAGE member Professor Kamlesh Khunti said, “I don’t think people should be planning on summer holidays abroad until next year. It’s been a hard lockdown, we are doing so well, we cannot jeopardise this now. Our rates are coming down, our vaccination [rate] is fantastic, and the biggest fear we have is new variants that the vaccines don’t work as well against.”
Another professor, Rowland Kao, from the University of Edinburgh, echoed these concerns. He added there were several reasons the Prime Minister needed to think twice about opening up overseas travel corridors, including the significant risk of vaccine-resistant strains of the virus being brought into the UK.
Too soon to book holidays abroad
Over recent weeks, many have taken to the internet to snap up holiday deals for the summer. In addition to scientists' comments, officials have been warning against this because of the uncertainty surrounding the situation. Some have said that Brits should not be considering going abroad until 2022 at the earliest.
Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, is among those warning it is far too soon to book holidays abroad. He said that travel restrictions could carry on throughout the summer and beyond. He also warned the situation in Europe could not be ignored, and we could not put the country's efforts at risk for the sake of a couple of weeks in the sun.