People can start thinking about traveling abroad again, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said this morning.
It did so after the government’s Global Travel Taskforce’s plans to resume international travel were criticized by the industry for lack of clarity and calling for use of £ 120 worth of Covid-19 coronavirus tests.
However, Mr Shapps said the overseas vacation resumption framework was a “cautious step” to prevent variants of concerns from entering the country.
He said the government will provide more information on when foreign holidays might be allowed before May 17. This is the earliest possible point on the roadmap for resuming international travel.
“I’m not telling people not to book a vacation now. It’s the first time in many months that I can say that anyone who does this understands that there are risks associated with coronavirus,” Shapps told Sky News.
“For the first time, people can think about visiting relatives abroad or maybe during the summer vacation, but we’re doing this very, very carefully because we don’t want to see the coronavirus return in this country.”
“What we have today is a framework for that. So there is a traffic light system that you were talking about – red, amber, green,” he told Sky News.
“And in the” Green “category, we will try to make travel as affordable as possible.
“But be careful because we don’t want to throw away the good work of these bans and the people who sign up for vaccines by picking up worrying variants or anything else.”
“So it’s a cautious move, but at least it provides that framework for the people.”
Mr Shapps also said he wanted to cut the cost of coronavirus tests required to resume international travel.
“Cost is definitely an issue, it is one of the factors this year and we have to accept that we are still facing a global pandemic,” he told Sky News.
“And so we have to be careful and I’m afraid that this will require some tests and the like.
“But today I am committed to cutting the cost of these tests and looking into some innovative things that we could do.
“For example, whether we can help provide the side flow test that people must take before they leave the country they are in to return to the UK.
“And also reduce the cost of the test when you get home if it’s in the green category, which is just a single test.”
Mr Shapps also said that countries deviating from the “green” list should receive “a little more attention”.
“The green watchlist is designed to help people get a forward lead,” he told Sky News.
“Now I can’t guarantee that this will always be 100% available. We may have to make very quick decisions like we had to last year.”
“For example, if you have a variation of the coronavirus, you usually have at least a couple of weeks while you sequence it to see if it’s actually a questionable variation where the mutation is more significant.
“And so that people have a certain amount of time to potentially know. That is the first thing we should pay attention to a little more this year.”
However, Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said the government had not provided enough details about its traffic light travel system to be properly scrutinized by MPs.
At the BBC breakfast he said, “The problem I have is that the system has not been described in detail.
“The government has talked about factors such as vaccination rates, infection rates, the position with variants and also the degree of genome sequencing – but I have no idea how high these are in each case so that the government puts countries in the green category, amber or red.
“And instead we have this week once again that this system is being dripped into the media every day.
“We then announced it on a day when Parliament was not meeting. So we cannot go to the Commons and ask neither the Home Secretary nor the Minister of Transport to explain the details.” It’s extremely frustrating. “
Mr Thomas-Symonds added that since the government introduced “a very limited form of hotel quarantine” on February 15, 150,000 people “have entered the country, who, according to” media reports, are “completely neglected.