BRITS’ hopes of foreign holidays this summer were dealt a blow today as it emerged Wales is lobbying the PM to keep the international travel ban.
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said the idea of people jetting off abroad from as early as mid-May “fills me with horror”.
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Welsh first minister Mark DrakefordCredit: PA:Press Association
And he revealed he’s urging No 10 to keep restrictions on going abroad in place across the whole summer.
Scotland is also pushing Boris Johnson to take a tougher stance on border controls to keep new variants of the virus out of the UK.
Under the PM’s roadmap, international travel could be allowed again from as early as May 17.
But he is under pressure to postpone that date, and is thought likely to put it back until at least June 21.
Mr Drakeford said the second wave of the virus in Wales was “very significantly driven” by people returning from European holidays.
He told the i: “The idea that we will have international travel back as it was before in the middle of May fills me with horror, really.
“I just think there is such a risk that it will lead to the reimportation of the virus just as we’ve all worked so hard to get it under control.”
And he revealed the Government has reassured him it’s willing to put back the reopening of international travel to avoid a resurgence in cases.
His remarks come despite the fact a slew of holiday hotspots are now gearing up to welcome back Brits this summer.
Greece will open its doors to holidaymakers by May 14, and says tourists are welcome with or without a vaccine.
Many holiday hotspots are gearing up to welcome back Brits
Grant Shapps urged Brits to hold off on booking foreign hols until April 12 at the earliest
But yesterday a top minister urged Brits to hold off on booking overseas trips until at least mid-April.
He advised people desperate for a break in the sun it would “make sense” to wait until after April 12 – when a panel of experts will report back on how to restart tourism – before making bookings.
Mr Shapps told Times Radio: “I’m working on what’s called the global travel taskforce, which will report on the 12th of April and that will set out the route to unlock with regard to international travel.
“What we’ve already said is the unlock for international travel won’t happen until the 17th of May, at the earliest.
“It’s step three of the four part unlock, which means that we can’t guarantee it will be the 17th of May, because that depends on the trajectory of the virus.
“So if you’re thinking of booking, I would say it makes sense to see how the unlock proceeds.
“I’m hopeful, but as with everything to do with this virus, you can’t say for certain. There are a lot of issues that we need to work around.
“But I am working with international partners, both governments and organisations, to try to make it happen. We can’t provide cast iron guarantees on that.”
The Transport Secretary also warned Europe’s floundering vaccine rollout could have an impact on Brits’ holiday hopes this summer.
He said: “We, in the UK, having had this world leading vaccination going on here, we want the rest of the world to vaccinate as well.
“Europe and the rest of the world, which is going to go back to our conversation before about travel.
“We recognise that other places need to vaccinate as well. It’s in everybody’s interest for the world to vaccinate.”
The pair’s remarks will come as a blow to millions who are already eyeing up a jaunt in warmer climes, with Britain’s vaccination successful vaccination programme causing cases and deaths to plummet.
While the UK has now jabbed more than a third of its entire population, the EU is trailing miles behind on just nine per cent.
Talks over an EU-wide vaccine passport to reopen travel also risk descending into shambles, with European countries unable to agree on the scheme.