Health secretary ‘more optimistic than ever’ about Britons enjoying staycations this summer
Written by Hitmix News on 5 March 2021
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said he is “more optimistic than ever” that Britons will be able to enjoy staycations this summer.
Mr Hancock said the “speed and effectiveness” of the coronavirus vaccine rollout means he is “confident” that UK travel will be permitted this year.
Live COVID updates from the UK and around the world
Image: Matt Hancock spoke during a visit to a lab in Glasgow
Under the government roadmap for easing lockdown, self-contained holiday rentals with the people you live with will be permitted from 12 April.
The health secretary has previously said he has already booked a holiday in Cornwall with his family – even though that was back when he was still stressing it was too early to be certain about domestic travel plans.
On a visit to a laboratory in Glasgow on Thursday, Mr Hancock said: “I very much hope that as we are able to lift restrictions, then we are all able to travel across the UK.
“I’m confident, because of the vaccine, we will be able to make that progress and then be able to, all of us, to travel freely wherever we are within these islands.”
He cautioned that new variants of COVID-19 could threaten the roadmap, with vaccine manufacturers forced to alter their jabs to ensure they are effective against them.
So far, the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines have proved effective against the UK variant of the virus first discovered in Kent last year, but question marks remain over ones from South Africa and Brazil.
However, some pharmaceutical firms are working on producing vaccines with built-in insurance against potential mutations that would mean they would not have to be altered and the vaccine programme not interrupted.
Subscribe to the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker
Despite the concerns, Mr Hancock added: “I’ve said before that I’m optimistic for a great British summer and I’m now more optimistic about having a great British summer than I have been at any time, thanks to the speed and the effectiveness of the vaccine rollout.
“By great British summer, I absolutely mean people being able to enjoy travel across the whole of the UK.”
The government roadmap only applies to England. Travel restrictions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are determined by the devolved administrations.
Mr Hancock did not mention foreign travel, which could be permitted from 17 May, pending a government review.