Boris Johnson ‘optimistic’ nation can go on summer holidays – but vaccine rollout MUST go well first


BORIS Johnson has said he is “optimistic” Britain can have a summer holiday this year – but ONLY if the vaccine rollout continues to go well.

He refused to make any promises but said he was hopeful people could go on a break – as he made a visit to Batley in West Yorkshire.

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Boris said he was optimistic about being able to take a summer holiday

Boris said it was too early to list lockdown rules yet

He said it was too early to be lifting restrictions just yet – but there were signs the lockdown was starting to have an effect.

The PM said this lunchtime: “I don’t want to give too much concrete by way of dates for our summer holidays. I am optimistic – I understand the reasons for being optimistic – but some things have got to go right.

The vaccine programme has got to continue to be successful. 

“We have got to make sure we don’t get thrown off course by new variants, we have got to make sure that we continue to keep the disease under control and the level of infections come down.”

He refused to say whether it would be UK holidays or foreign holidays that might be allowed this summer.

Matt Hancock has already booked his vacation in Cornwall for later this year – but it’s uncertain whether trips abroad will be allowed.

Yesterday Liz Truss played it down – saying it was too early to tell.

Ministers last week revealed plans for all arrivals from 30 hotspot nations to have to pay to quarantine inside special hotels.

If cases grow around the world, more places could be added to the list, which currently includes most of South Africa, South America, the UEA and several other destinations – but there’s no date when this will come in just yet.

The news comes as:

  • Two people who tested positive with the South African variant of Covid hadn’t travelled – raising fears of community transmission
  • Door-to-door tests will be dished out in Surrey to crack down on any more potential cases
  • Matt Hancock will lead a press conference tonight after the Government reached their target of offering everyone in care homes a vaccine
  • But they admitted that not all care home staff had yet been given their jab

Boris said the lockdown measures were working but it was too early to “take your foot off the throat of the beast” by easing restrictions.

The Prime Minister told reporters: “We are starting to see some signs of a flattening and maybe even a falling off of infection rates and hospitalisations.

“But don’t forget that they are still at a very high level by comparison with most points in the last 12 months, a really very high level.

“So the risk is if you take your foot off the throat of the beast, as it were, and you allow things to get out of control again then you could, alas, see the disease spreading again fast before we have got enough vaccines into people’s arms.”

The PM said “the fact is we are going to be living with Covid for a while to come in one way or another” but that it wouldn’t be as bad as the last 12 months.

He also said it would take “a while for our country to bounce back completely from Covid” but he was confident of a “very, very strong” recovery when it comes.

Boris made a visit to a mosque vaccination centre today

He said it would take time for the nation’s economy to recover from Covid

And he played down fears about vaccines being ineffective against variant coronavirus – saying scientists were working on adapting them if needed.

It comes as the USA could be bumped onto the “red list” of nations this week after a new covid strain rampaged through California. 

Officials in the Golden State think 36 per cent of new cases could be caused by their home grown CAL.20C strain. 

Ministers are understood to be monitoring the outbreak around Los Angeles to determine if hotel quarantine should be applied to all arrivals from the USA.

The PM’s official spokesman said: “We have one of the best genomic sequencing programmes in the world, and PHE alongside others continue to track variants of the virus. 

“We have done for some time and we will continue to do so going forward.”

On the potential border measures against the USA he added: “Obviously we keep the list under review.

“There were three countries added to it last week, but it remains the case we will keep those country lists under review, based on the latest scientific evidence.”

AstraZeneca will this week report on whether it’s jab works on the new South African variant strain.