BRITS have been warned it’s “too early” to book a summer holiday, according a top government medic.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam warned that splurging on a sunshine getaway – either in the UK or abroad – was risky because of the state of the pandemic.
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Speaking at Downing Street last night he said: “The more elaborate your plans are for summer holidays, in terms of crossing borders, in terms of house mixing, given where we are now, I think you just have to say, you’re stepping into making guesses about the unknown.
He added: “We just don’t have the data, it’s just too early.”
It comes as canny Brits flying back from ‘red list countries’ have been landing into Dublin to avoid having to quarantine.
Ireland’s officials said they were planning on tightening up its own border after a flurry of Brits arrived from destinations like influencer’s favourite Dubai.
Boris Johnson banned all flights from the UAE which is a major hub for flights to southern Africa where the new vaccine busting strain is prevalent.
Irish border officials reported a major increase in passengers flying into Dublin since the ban was introduced with extra flights being put on by airlines to deal with the demand.
Irish Foreign minister Simon Coveney said he is open to sharing passenger data on people travelling from Dublin into Britain with Whitehall to start a crack down and close the loophole.
Labour said the government needed to shut the loophole immediately.
Conor McGinn Labour’s Shadow Minister for Security said: “Ministers must now urgently ensure point of origin checks at airports in the UK for passengers arriving on flights from Ireland, and work with counterparts in Dublin to close this back door.”
Yesterday it emerged formal contracts have been awarded to hotels to quarantine arrivals from countries on the “red list”, the Government has admitted, despite the policy entering into force next week.
Brits and residents returning from the 33 countries where the Government fears coronavirus variants have spread will be kept in hotels for 10 days from February 15. Currently they must self-isolate at home.
A commercial specification was issued on Thursday evening to hotels near air and sea ports, but Downing Street said on Monday that no formal contracts have been awarded.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Last week the Department of Health issued a commercial specification to hotels near ports and airports.
“This asked for proposals on how they could deliver managed quarantine facilities.
“No formal contracts have been awarded yet.”
Asked about introducing tougher measures, the Prime Minister told reporters: “They are most effective, border controls, when you’ve got the rate of infection down in your country.
“And at the moment we’ve greatly reduced the rate of infection from the peak, where it was a few weeks ago, but it’s still extremely high, and for border controls really to make that final difference, so you can isolate new variants as they come in, you need to have infections really much lower so you can track them as they spread.
“Don’t forget, we in the UK are capable of seeing variants arise here, just in the UK, the Kent variant arose here, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to be relying very much on border controls as we get the rates of infection down overall.”
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