Britons could be heading overseas for the summer if Covid conditions permit.
Britons could be able to travel overseas again by May under prime minister Boris Johnson’s four-step roadmap for the nation’s exit from lockdown. The roadmap was submitted to the House of Commons this afternoon.
It states that overseas holidays will not be allowed before May 17 at the earliest and a review into restarting international travel will conclude by that date. International travel is currently illegal for UK residents with very few exceptions.
Overnight stays and domestic tourism will not be allowed to restart until April 12 at the earliest, which is after the Easter break.
Dates for the lifting of restrictions are not set in stone, said Johnson, and would only happen subject to four tests being met. These include the vaccine deployment programme continuing successfully, evidence continuing to show that vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated, infection rates remaining in-check and pressure not mounting on the National Health Service.
According to Johnson, the lifting of lockdown would inevitably result in “more cases, more hospitalisations and sadly more deaths”, regardless of when measures are eased. But he said there was no credible route to totally eradicating the virus and that continuing restrictions would “debilitate our economy, our physical and mental wellbeing and the life chances of our children and cannot remain in place indefinitely.”
The four steps begin with all English schools reopening on March 8. Secondary students must wear face-masks in class and will be tested twice weekly.
From April 12 at the earliest, non-essential retail, hairdressers, nail salons, gyms and outdoor hospitality venues could reopen.
On May 17, pubs, restaurants, hotels and children’s play areas may be allowed to open.
And from June 21 at the earliest, all legal limits on social contact might be removed and the remaining sectors of the economy reopened.
There will be a five week gap between each step as scientists weigh up the effects on infections. A delay for one step will have a knock-on effect for following steps.
The United Kingdom has so far vaccinated more than 18 million people. Research led by Public Health Scotland published today found that there had been a “substantial” reduction in the risk of hospital admissions of up to 85% for the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine and 94% for the Oxford AstraZeneca jab.
The UK logged 178 coronavirus-related deaths today, the lowest recorded number of Covid fatalities since October 24 last year and a reduction of 50% on last Monday.
There is currently a compulsory ten-day home quarantine order for all arrivals into the UK and those from red-listed countries must enter designated hotel quarantine.