UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has advised Brits to “do nothing at this stage” and refrain from booking summer holidays ahead of the government’s planned announcement on 22 February about easing some of the lockdown measures.
Until everyone is vaccinated, the government won’t lift travel restrictions, according to Shapps.
The vaccination program is expected to be completed in autumn.
“We’ll need to wait for other countries to catch up as well, in order to do that wider international unlock,” the minister added.
While Britain appears to be ahead of its neighbours in securing jab supplies, it remains unclear when European countries will all be on the same page as the UK in terms of their vaccination programme speed.
At the same time, UK Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi stressed on Sunday that Britain will not introduce coronavirus vaccination passports.
Mr Shapps went on to advise against booking summer holidays and reminded the public it was illegal to do so under current circumstances.
“Until you know the result of a lockdown which we can’t know until we have more data, more information, more information on vaccines as well, please don’t go ahead and book holidays for something which at this stage it is illegal to actually go and do – whether it’s here or abroad,” he said.
Mr Shapps, who has been doing media rounds on Wednesday, has his father in hospital, battling Covid-19.
Mr Shapps said in an interview that there is no way of telling when the country “will be able to unlock.”
“The truth is we just don’t know how the virus will respond both to the vaccines and of course how people will respond and therefore to the social distancing and those kind of measures, and therefore exactly when we will be able to unlock. So I’m afraid I can’t give you a definitive, will there or will there not be the opportunity to take holidays this next year either at home or abroad,” he said.
The minister’s statements follow the Tuesday announcement about travellers from 33 high-risk countries, who as from 15 February will have to observe a 10-day quarantine in hotels designated by the government. Those who lie by giving false information on the locator forms upon arrival would face up to 10 years in prison.