Far too early to think about summer holidays, says UK minister, as PM to rule on quarantine hotels

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The UK’s vaccine minister has warned Britons against making summer holiday plans just yet, despite the progress made in the Covid-19 inoculation programme, adding that caution is needed with regard to new variants.

Speaking on Tuesday, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi, told Sky News the government was carefully reviewing its border policy to prevent new Covid-19 variants coming into England. 

“I can only say to you that as we vaccinate more of the adult population, if there are new variants, we need to be very careful. It’s important we continue to review our announcement,” Zahawi said.

“Countries have to review their borders. We did this in January and tightened up on pre-departure testing,” he noted, adding that a new variant could undermine the progress made in the vaccination campaign.

Asked whether Britons could think about booking a summer holiday soon, Zahawi said: “Absolutely not.”

It’s far too early. There are currently 37,000 people in hospital with Covid. It’s far too early to think about summer.

The vaccines minister said an announcement was likely to be made today as to whether people entering England would be required to quarantine in a designated hotel. On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the idea of so-called quarantine hotels was something the government was “definitely looking at”. 

“We have to realise there is at least the theoretical risk of a new variant that is a vaccine-busting variant coming in, and we’ve got to be able to keep that under control,” Johnson told reporters. 

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The move would mean people entering England would be forced to isolate in designated hotels rather than in their own home or other domestic setting. There has long been concern that travellers arriving from overseas are not adhering to the country’s self-isolation rules.

Compared to its European neighbours, the UK has made good progress in vaccinating people against Covid-19. As of Monday, more than 6.5 million people across Britain had been vaccinated. 

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