Govt’s deputy chief medical officer says other countries’ vaccination programmes may determine UK residents’ ability to travel this summer
The government’s deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, has warned there remains "great uncertainty" over whether summer holidays will be able to go ahead later this year.
Speaking at a government press briefing on Monday (1 March), Van-Tam said a combination of the emergence of new Covid-19 variants and the progress of other countries’ vaccination programmes would play a key role in UK residents’ ability to travel for leisure this summer.
Asked by Sky’s Thomas Moore to "level with the British public" on the prospect of a foreign holiday this summer, Van-Tam said: "I think we are still in a zone of great uncertainty about what the virus will do next.
"On top of that, many of the vaccination programmes in Europe, which is a place where we frequently go on holiday abroad, are running behind ours."
Van-Tam also stressed it would be a decision for destinations to determine the extent to which they reopen to foreign tourists this summer. "Whether we can go on holiday abroad to places such as Europe depends on what other countries will say and do in terms of foreign tourism,” he said.
"That’s the best I can do to level with you, I’m not going to give you a firm answer as I genuinely don’t think there is one at this point. I think I would just say that there has to be great uncertainty at the moment."