PRITI Patel threw worried Brits a holiday lifeline last night – saying “change is coming” to the hated foreign travel ban.
The Home Secretary Priti Patel said she hadn’t booked a break herself, but gave the clearest indication that the illegal holiday laws would not last the summer.
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Speaking to HOAR she said: “Of course I haven’t booked a holiday.
“Follow the guidance of the roadmap… change is coming.”
Her words are a hint that Boris Johnson’s plans to lift the rules on foreign holidays will happen within months.
No final call has yet been made, with ministers set to unveil their plans to get Brits back abroad on or around April 5.
The PM said last night it was still “too early” to book one yet and things “look difficult for the time being” due to rising cases in Europe.
He added: “A lot of people do want to know about what’s going to happen on the holidays front.
“I know there’s a great deal of curiosity and interest. All I can say is it’s just too early to say.
“And so my advice is to everybody to wait for the global travel taskforce to report.
“We’ve heard already that there are other European countries where the disease is now rising.
“So things certainly look difficult for the time being.
“But we’ll be able to say more, we hope in a few days time, and that’s I think the best, the best you can hope for.”
The Global Travel Taskforce is looking at whether people will be allowed to venture off for a sunny getaway this summer, with the date pulled forward from April 12 to match with the roadmap decisions.
No one is expected to be allowed to go abroad from May 17 at the very earliest.
Holidaymakers in England and Wales will face a £5,000 fine from next week for sneaking off to go abroad after the ‘stay at home’ measures are lifted.
It’s been illegal to go on holiday anyway during the third national lockdown, but this is the first time it will be specifically put in law in this way.
Only people travelling for a list of specific exceptions will be allowed to board a flight, and have to have the right paperwork.
The Covid regulations will be in place until the end of June, but ministers will tweak the legislation to allow holidays if they get the green light.
People across England have been told not to book holidays just yet as it’s too soon to know if they will be allowed.
And ministers are worried about the impact of variants being imported from overseas – which could impact on our vaccine rollout.
France, Poland and Italy are among EU nations forced to reimpose restrictions or extend the lockdowns amid soaring cases.
Last night Professor Neil Ferguson, one of the architects of Britain’s first lockdown, said holidays should be delayed until all over 50s have had both doses – which is expected to be by mid-July.
He told the BBC: “I’m in favour of relaxing border measures at a slower rate than we relax controls in the country and doing all we can against the importation of variants which might undermine our vaccine progress.
“It means, [when we] have finished vaccinating everyone over 50, which will be late summer, and having vaccines in our stockpile which we know work effectively against the variants.
“Being risk averse at the moment, we should be planning on summer holidays in the UK, not overseas.”
Yesterday the Health Secretary Matt Hancock reassured the nation that Boris Johnson’s roadmap, which sets out the road to freedom “has not changed” – despite new laws coming in from Monday.
He said: “I entirely understand people’s yearning to get away and have a summer holiday, and we’re looking at that question right now as part of the global travel taskforce, which will report in the middle of next month.
“The earliest that will take any steps will be May 17 but, obviously, we’re taking a cautious approach because we want any openings that we make to be irreversible.”
But earlier No10 had stressed the roadmap to easing the lockdown remains “on course” despite the PM warning that the third wave from Europe may end up on our shores.
Downing Street hailed the “very extensive” vaccination programme, which has dished out 27.9million doses so far – way ahead of Europe’s jabbing plan.
Yet there are growing concerns that a fresh wave of cases from across the Channel might derail plans for summer getaways.
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