International holidays will be allowed 'within limits' this summer, says expert, as travel green list set to be announced

People will be able to go on holidays “within limits” this summer, a leading expert has claimed, while ministers said the travel green list will be coming soon.

Sunday, 2nd May 2021, 3:12 pm

However, Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, said it was vital people did not drop their guard because there were likely to be further outbreaks of coronavirus.

Prof Openshaw, who is also a member of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nertag), told the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday the UK needed to be cautious and prepare.

When asked if people will be able to start going on holiday, he said: “Yes, within limits.

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The UK Government is on the verge of announcing a green list of countries for international travel. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

“It’s so important that we do not drop our guard completely.

“We know it’s perfectly likely there will be further outbreaks unless we use this time to be very cautious and prepare sensibly.”

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His comments come as foreign secretary Dominic Raab said the list of nations where international travel would be permitted was “coming shortly”.

Mr Raab told The Andrew Marr Show: “We said we’d make the changes on May 17 and we would set out the details of the new system, which is a traffic light system, before then. So it’s coming shortly.”

The ban on foreign holidays is expected to be lifted for people in England from May 17 as part of the next easing of coronavirus restrictions.

The traffic light system will be risk-based, with different rules for people returning to England depending on which list their destination is on.

Many people are eager to discover what countries are on the green list to avoid the need to self-isolate.

May 17 is the earliest date international travel could be permitted under the UK Government’s road map for the easing of lockdown.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has previously said non-essential international travel from Scotland was unlikely to resume from May 17.

The Department for Transport missed a deadline set by a committee of MPs for grading countries under the new traffic light system for international travel.

The Commons’ Transport Select Committee issued a report which stated the green, amber and red lists of destinations must be published by Saturday “at the latest”, but this has not happened.

Instead, the Department for Transport (DfT) has only said the lists will be made public in “early May”.

Earlier in the week, transport secretary Grant Shapps said holidaymakers in England would be able to use the NHS app to prove their coronavirus status to destination countries.

Any plan for the rollout of vaccine certificates is still being considered in Scotland.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said earlier this week: “Scottish Government officials are continuing to carry out work, including scoping the equality and ethical issues relating to Covid status certification, with a view to offering advice to the new administration after the election.”

Mr Shapps said the app, which is currently used to book medical appointments and order repeat prescriptions, would display evidence that someone had been vaccinated or recently tested.

He told Sky News: “In terms of vaccine certification, I can confirm we are working on an NHS application.”

The European Union has previously set out plans for coronavirus vaccine certificates that could be used by UK holidaymakers this summer.