Too soon to say if Britons can travel abroad for summer holidays, says Johnson Prime minister Boris Johnson. (Photo by Paul Grover – WPA Pool/Getty Images)
“WE are not there yet”, British prime minister on Monday (5) said on the prospects of outbound summer travels, and suggested international travels could be pushed back beyond May 17.
Elaborating on summer travels, Johnson said he did not want the virus to be reimported into the United Kingdom from other countries so it was not possible to give more clarity as the global situation was evolving so fast.
“Obviously we are hopeful that we can get going from May 17th, but I do not wish to give hostages to fortune or to underestimate the difficulties that we are seeing in some of the destination countries that people might want to go to,” he said.
“I wish I could give you more on that, I know that people watching will want to know exactly what they can do from May 17, but we’re not there yet,” Johnson said. “As soon as we have more solid information, more solid data, we’ll let you know.”
When non-essential international travel starts, Britain will be using traffic-light risk system. But the government says it is too early to say which country will fall under the green light that would only require Covid-19 tests before and after travel.
Countries on the amber list would require self-isolation. Those on the red list would require quarantine.
Airlines such as easyJet, Ryanair and British Airways, including holiday groups such as TUI, hope to avoid a second lost summer as continental Europe sees a surge in Covid-19 cases.
Moreover, big airport and travel companies say a “clearer timeline for the return of international travel is needed” from the Johnson government.
“It’s disappointing that the opportunity has been missed to provide more certainty to reunite families separated by travel restrictions, to give sunseekers the confidence to book ahead for their summer getaway,” Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said.
“A clearer timeline for the return to international travel is needed,” Holland-Kaye added.
Noel Josephides, chairman of travel group Sunvil, told Reuters before Johnson spoke that the industry would need weeks of notice to reopen hotels and resume flight routes.
“It is not possible to launch a tour operation with one or two weeks’ notice,” he said.