Travel news latest: Summer holidays pose ‘no risk’ to UK’s infection levels

Foreign summer holidays will pose ‘no risk’ to the UK’s own infection rate, provided that the destination’s case rate is not higher than our own, a leading epidemiologist and Government advisor has said.

“[If] by the summer, infection levels in France and Italy are the same sort of levels that they are here, then there is no risk associated with travelling overseas,” Professor Neil Ferguson told Radio Four’s Today programme.

“The risk comes from going from a place like the UK, with very low infection levels, to a place with much higher infection levels – and therefore having the risk of bringing infection back.”

Referencing the UK’s advanced inoculation programme, Professor Ferguson said the country is in a “good position to stick to the Government’s roadmap”, which aims to restart international travel on May 17. 

The Government is to release its ‘traffic light’ list this week, with travel industry leaders expecting Spain, Greece and France to be given the green light for restriction-free travel by June. The EU, too, plans to approve vaccinated visitors in time for summer getaways.

However on Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson played down hopes of an immediate mass getaway, saying that putting a significant number of countries on the “green list” from May 17 would risk an “influx of disease”

Scroll down for more on this, and today’s other top travel stories.

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10:10AM

Airlines praise EU for ‘game-changing’ approach to travel bans

The EU’s plans to welcome vaccinated tourists in time for summer have been welcomed by Airlines UK, which represents UK-registered carriers.

Chief executive Tim Alderslade commented: “This is an extremely important announcement that will pave the way for the reopening of the EU’s tourism and travel industry in time for the peak summer season.

“The EU should be congratulated for recognising that the success of the vaccine rollout – coupled with sensible vigilance around variants – is a game-changer that can and should enable a risk-based and proportionate system of international travel to resume.”

However, he added: “It is frustrating that the UK has not gone down the same road, with ministers here still reluctant to acknowledge that we can be more ambitious with our own plans, taking advantage of one of the most impressive vaccination programmes in the world, alongside quicker, cheaper testing and our globally renowned genomic sequencing capability.

“It’s about getting the risk balance right and we don’t believe the UK has done that yet.”

9:50AM

Travel traffic lights: What does the data say?

The UK Government is set to publish its ‘traffic light list’ this week, with Iceland, Malta, Israel and Gibraltar expected to be among the very few ‘green light’ destinations. So how are their vaccination and case rates looking – and which other countries might make the cut?

These are the latest figures:

9:36AM

Amazing UK hotels that will make you feel as though you’ve travelled far away

Itchy feet? These family hotels in Britain will transport you to the places you can’t go.

Here’s a sneaky peek:

It’s hard to believe you’re in Kent, not Kenya, at Port Lympne

It’s hard to believe you’re in Kent, not Kenya, at Port Lympne

Credit:
Port Lympne Hotel and Reserve

Portmeirion or Portofino?

Portmeirion or Portofino?

Credit:
iSTock

9:17AM

Boris Johnson: Lifting travel rules must be ‘cautious’

On Monday, the Prime Minister played down hopes of an immediate mass getaway, saying that putting a significant number of countries on the “green list” from May 17 would risk an “influx of disease”:

Placeholder image for youtube video: PIdqYBN1lA4

Johnson was immediately accused of an “overly cautious” approach by Tory MPs and travel industry chiefs after the European Commission proposed that fully vaccinated Britons could travel freely to Europe without any testing or quarantine requirements from as early as the start of June.

9:07AM

Spain’s Balearic isles ‘very optimistic’ for summer restart

Playa de Palma, in Mallorca, was free of its usual Easter crowds this year

Playa de Palma, in Mallorca, was free of its usual Easter crowds this year

Credit:
Getty

British tourists could be welcomed back to the Balearic Islands as soon as this month, according to a senior Spanish official.

Rosa Ana Morilla Rodriguez, director general of tourism for the islands, said she was “very optimistic” that a deal could be agreed to open Mallorca, Ibiza, Menorca and Formentera to British holidaymakers.

She said she was hopeful that they could be included on the UK’s “green list” of countries, which is due to come into force from May 17.  Britons returning from these countries would not have to quarantine when they get home.

“We have the right numbers, we have the right measures in place that will allow us to be considered ‘green’,” said Ms Morilla Rodriguez.

8:56AM

Hope for summer holidays to Spain, Greece and France

British holidaymakers are expected to be freed to travel to Europe’s top holiday destinations next month, after the EU opens the door to vaccinated travellers from the start of June.

Spain, Greece and France are among countries that could be added to the safe “green list” by the end of June under the traffic light system being drawn up by Downing Street for international travel, The Telegraph can disclose.

However, when the first iteration of the list is published this week, it is expected to comprise of only a “tiny handful” of fewer than 10 highly vaccinated countries, such as Gibraltar, Malta, Israel and Iceland, which Britons will be able to visit from May 17 without having to quarantine on their return. Most of the rest of Europe will be on an “amber list”, requiring quarantine.

However, a government source said the three-weekly review of the “green list” would mean more countries, potentially including some of the most popular European holiday destinations, would be added to the list through June.

Charles Hymas has the full story.

8:42AM

Monday’s headlines

Welcome to today’s live travel blog. It has been a busy bank holiday weekend for travel, so let’s start with a quick recap of yesterday’s news: 

  • Portugal and Spain on green list? Thomas Cook boss hails ‘great progress’ of popular destinations
  • Foreign Office minister: Travel traffic light system will be done ‘at a pace that is safe’
  • Holiday islands expected to be kept off UK’s ‘green list’
  • Restrictions continue to ease in Wales
  • Leisure travel should be ‘discouraged’ this summer, more than 60 MPs say

Now, on with today’s headlines. 

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