- Boris Johnson is hopeful of the prospects of summer holidays this year, but only if the vaccine rollout goes well.
- While the lockdown is working fine, it was too early to ease restrictions, Johnson said.
- The travel industry wants the government to come out with a clear-cut plan to emerge from the crisis.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson believes that the country will have a happy and free summer season if the ongoing vaccination programme is successful. While speaking during a visit to Batley, West Yorkshire, Johnson said that it needs to be ensured that the government plans are not thrown off course by the newly discovered variants and cases are under control.
(Image source: ©Kalkine Group 2020)
When asked about if the domestic or foreign holidays would be allowed this summer season, the PM refused to make any comment, but he highlighted that as the lockdown is working fine, things may look up though it is too early to ease the restrictions.
At present, no one can go for a holiday due to the ongoing lockdown.
Cases still high
While there are some signs of flattening and falling of infection rates, but it cannot be ignored that the overall number of cases are still very high as compared to most high points during the last one year, said Johnson.
So, it needs to be accepted that the nation will have to live with Covid-19 for a while before it goes away completely, he added.
Dr Susan Hopkins, Covid-19 strategic response director at the Public Health England, hoped that this summer would largely be similar to what it was last year. She wished that the infection numbers would come down and restrictions would be relaxed soon.
New variant fears
Johnson understated any fears regarding the vaccines being ineffective against the new virus variants, adding that the scientists were already working on adapting the shots if required.
Fears emerged as it came to be known that certain parts of Surrey will require door-to-door testing after two cases of the South African virus strain were found despite any travel history.
Travel industry woes
Helen Tustin, director of Wellbeing Travel, Bridgend, said the current uncertainty is hampering the consumer confidence. Vaccinations are still in the early stages and the companies are yet to see a noticeable surge in travel bookings, she added.
Tustin also said that the industry was in despair due to a lack of direction from the UK government. The government needs to come out with a clear plan on how we shall be emerging from this crisis, regardless of the timelines, she added.
For people planning to travel abroad this summer, the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has advised to go in for a package holiday as it will bring better protection. In fact, the research conducted by them revealed that people were 20 per cent more likely to book a holiday through a travel professional now as compared to before the pandemic.
Another advantage this season is that many ABTA members are proposing more flexible booking and cancelation policies.