Asked whether the continued restrictions on overseas vacations were likely to be a compromise for more freedoms nationally this summer, the Culture Secretary told Times Radio: “We have to ensure that, if there is international travel, it is done in a safe manner.
“It is clear that the situation in the rest of Europe is very worrying, especially since in the past the increase in infections in Europe has led to an increase in infections in the UK.
“I think this time around, because we’ve made progress in rolling out the vaccine, we can hope that won’t happen. But that implies a more cautious approach. That’s why we have this working group on international travel that is going to report at the very beginning of April, and that will look at whether and how we can resume international travel safely. ”
Mr Dowden also suggested that ministers consider plans presented by Heathrow Airport to the global task force, which would see a four-tier traffic light system put in place.
According to the proposals, countries would be placed on red, orange, yellow and green lists based on their level of risk and the prevalence of Covid variants, with countries deemed low risk able to resume travel without restrictions.
“We are exploring all of these issues as part of the International Travel Working Group,” he told Sky News. “That will report back early next month. Grant Shapps, the secretary of transportation, is leading this, so we’re going to outline the next steps in that process. ”