Transport secretary Grant Shapps has warned the mass reopening of international travel could "screw up" the UK’s emergence and recovery from the pandemic.
Shapps on Thursday (10 June) told Sky News the restart must be delayed until other countries match Britain’s vaccination programme. He also denied claims that the government was close to placing more countries on the green list.
"What no one wants to see us doing now is to screw that all up by inadvertently reattracting the coronavirus into this country," said Shapps.
"I think most people agree we’ve got to be cautious. I am the transport secretary, I want transport to happen, I want international transport to happen, but I think most people appreciate that what we need to do is open up cautiously.
"I hope and I am sure that will happen as more and more people are vaccinated around the world."
In the UK, around 75% of adults and about 60% of the population have had one dose of the vaccine compared to around 40% of the population of many European countries such as Spain, Portugal, Greece and France.
"Of course, what happened was that the UK got well ahead of the game in terms of more people vaccinated than any other country in Europe and so we are just having to wait for countries to catch up," Shapps added.
The transport secretary will oversee a new Atlantic travel taskforce set up to explore how traval between the UK and the US can be restarted "as soon as possible".