Summer holidays all but cancelled as PM warns of European third wave

Summer holidays all but cancelled as downbeat Boris Johnson warns ‘things are looking difficult on the continent’ with a new wave of Covid and refuses to confirm if he will go abroad with his family

  • The Prime Minister faced a wide-ranging grilling from senior MPs this afternoon 
  • Foreign travel due to restart no earlier than May 17 but he was more pessimistic 
  • He refused to confirm if he would take a foreign holiday this summer 

Boris Johnson dealt another blow to Britons’ hopes of foreign summer holidays today.

The Prime Minister warned that things were ‘looking difficult on the continent’, where there is a third wave of Covid cases, as he faced a grilling from senior MPs this afternoon.

Under his roadmap out of lockdown, foreign travel can restart no earlier than May 17. But the surge in cases in mainland Europe have raised threats that many countries will have to be put on the Covid red list, meaning people visiting them will have to go into a fortnight’s hotel quarantine.

Mr Johnson even refused to confirm if he would take a foreign holiday this summer, when he appeared at the Liaison Committee this afternoon.

Questioned by Tory Huw Merriman about the summer in prospect, the Prime Minister said: ‘On April 5, we’ll get the findings of the global travel taskforce and I’ll be setting out what I think may be possible from May 17.

‘Things are looking difficult on the continent and we’ll have to look at the situation as it develops.’ 

The Prime Minister said the ‘natural wanderlust’ of Britons would lead to a ‘miraculous change’ in the desire to go abroad once it is safe to do so.

The Prime Minister warned that things were ‘looking difficult on the continent’, where there is a third wave of Covid cases, as he faced a grilling from senior MPs this afternoon.

Under his roadmap out of lockdown, foreign travel can restart no earlier than May 17. But the surge in cases in mainland Europe have raised threats that many countries will have to be put on the Covid red list

Asked how the Government could help reverse foreign holidays being a ‘dirty word’ since the coronavirus outbreak, Boris Johnson said: ‘I think do not underestimate the natural wanderlust, spirit of inquiry, general dynamism of the British people that has served us for hundreds and hundreds of years.

‘As soon as people feel it is safe, you will see a miraculous change in the mood and what happens. That is what this is all about.

‘We’re getting there step by step, jab by jab – we’re not there yet but I’ll be saying more on April 5 and then on April 12, and we will do what we can.’

Questioned on whether he would be looking to go abroad if it is declared safe this summer, Mr Johnson added: ‘I think whatever I do, I will be making sure to tell the British public what I think is safe and sensible, and I certainly won’t be doing anything other than that.’

It came after Care Minister Helen Whately urged Britons to ‘hold off’ on booking a foreign trip this year, saying it would be ‘premature’. She echoed comments made over the weekend by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, who said summer holidays were ‘potentially risky’.

A spike in coronavirus cases in some European countries and the spread of variants of the disease have sparked fears of the May 17 date being pushed back.

But some Tory MPs are concerned a delayed return to foreign travel could harm the vaccine roll-out because holidays abroad are the ‘main reason’ many younger people will get the jab.

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