Brussels offered hope for sunny breaks after revealing proposals to ease border rules for those vaccinated – as well as those in countries with low infection rates.
🔵 Read our live coronavirus blog for the latest updates
But in a blow to people from the UK planning a trip abroad, the Prime Minister suggested that only a few countries would be fully open for them in the coming weeks.
He is still thinking about his travel ‘green list’ – and it is likely that major holiday destinations, including Spain and Greece, will not yet be on that list when it is announced as early as this week.
It comes as:
He said today that his approach to overseas travel this summer will be sensible and cautious to avoid “an influx of disease”.
During a campaign visit to Hartlepool, he told reporters: “We want to make some opening on May 17, but I don’t think the people of this country want to see an influx of disease from everywhere else.
“Certainly not and we have to be very, very tough, and we have to be as careful as possible as we continue to open up. “
When asked if people should plan a vacation abroad, he said, “We will say more as soon as possible.
“I think there will be openings on the 17th, but we have to be careful and we have to be sane and we have to make sure that we don’t see the virus coming back. “
BORIS WARNS “WE MUST BE CAREFUL”
Under current EU restrictions, only people from seven countries, including Australia and Singapore, are allowed into the block for non-essential reasons.
But new proposals would mean that foreign nationals fully vaccinated or from countries with a “good epidemiological situation” would be allowed to travel.
People arriving from the UK, Russia and a number of other countries could meet the new criteria, it is understood. However, US citizens might not.
EU member states are due to start discussing the proposal tomorrow.
Despite this, here in the UK, top ministers are still fighting over how many countries will be added to the green list – meaning travelers won’t have to self-quarantine on their return.
It is understood that the list will remain small and will likely include Gibraltar, Malta, Israel and Iceland.
Portugal is the only major European holiday destination that could make the list, which is expected to be revealed this week.
Traditional holiday hot spots including France, Spain, Greece and Italy look set to be classified as amber at the moment as Europe battles a spike in cases.
And baffled Britons were hit with another blow last night, as it was announced that popular holiday islands would be among those likely to make the amber list.
The Balearics – which have a Covid rate less than a quarter of Spain’s – and the Canary Islands, which has vaccinated nearly a third of its adult population, should be on the list.
Meanwhile, a source claimed that even countries on the Green List could be replaced by the Red List with little warning if cases unexpectedly increase or if a worrying new variant is identified.
Under Red List restrictions, returning UK passengers must be quarantined in a government approved hotel for ten days at a cost of £ 1,750.
Those returning from Amber List countries will be required to quarantine themselves at home for 10 days and pass two Covid PCR tests, although travelers can pay for a third test to end self-isolation after day 5 .
And today’s announcement that the EU is preparing to reopen for the crucial summer tourist season will likely leave potential vacationers in the dark as they wonder if travel will be possible.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty are said to be among those pushing for green-rated countries to be kept to the absolute minimum.
Other high-level figures are calling for a more relaxed approach.
They say the outbreak is under control in the UK and the government has no right to continue to control the freedom to take sun breaks.
A source told The Times: “The government has no right to deprive people of freedoms.
SPAIN AND GREECE ‘ON THE AMBER LIST’
“He did it because we were in an emergency, but those rights do not belong to the government. “
Spain is among the countries hoping to open from June. France says tourists with a French Covid “health pass” will be welcomed from June 9.
Meanwhile, Greece’s Tourism Minister tweeted that tourism would reopen on May 14, albeit with five levels of security.
Portugal and Cyprus hope to welcome British tourists from mid-May.
A total of 40 countries are on Britain’s Red List.
These include Chile in South America – which has seen a horrific increase in the number of cases, despite a hugely successful jab roll – and India, where patients are dying on the streets outside hospitals. .
Meanwhile, a political row has erupted over whether the vacation should take place.
Countries on the “green” and “orange” list could still turn “red” at the last minute
Holidays abroad “should be discouraged” because of risk of third wave, warn MEPs
Holiday Islands in Spain and Greece ‘Not on Green Travel List’ Despite Low Covid Rates
Why Dubai is the perfect destination for couples
Britons face latest rush to book vacations when overseas travel ban is lifted
The all-party parliamentary group on the coronavirus has warned of “a deadly third wave and further lockdowns” if the ban on going abroad is relaxed.
He says the travel ban should continue with a review every three months, which would effectively rule out holidays until the end of August at the earliest.
MP Layla Moran, who chairs the group as well as the Liberal Democrats’ foreign affairs spokeswoman, said: “It is astounding that the government is even considering encouraging overseas vacations when airports are already overwhelmed. hard to keep virus and newer variants at bay. . “