Covid: 'Too early' to think about summer holidays, vaccine minister warns

Nadhim Zahawi, the UK's vaccine minister, said it was 'too early' to speculate on summer holidays. Credit: PA

Britons have been warned it is "too early" to start making summer holiday plans abroad, as the UK looks set to impose mandatory hotel quarantine for some arrivals back into the country.

Nadhim Zahawi, the UK's vaccine minister, said: “I would say it is too early to begin to speculate on summer holidays.

“I think the right thing to do now is to continue with our vaccination drive. I think on Saturday we got to half a million first dose jabs in a single day – we continue to make great progress.”

He told Sky News: “At the moment we have reached Base Camp, if I could describe it as that – over 6.5 million people now with the first dose. There is a long way to go.”

The UK is expected to make an announcement later today that arrivals into the country will be forced to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days due to fears about mutant Covid strains.

While full details on what arrivals may have to face enforced quarantine, various options are said to be on the table.

It may be that only arrivals for certain countries would need to quarantine, but a final decision is set to be made at a meeting between ministers later today.

People arriving from some foreign destinations will likely face mandatory quarantine in hotels. Credit: PA

The new measures would likely be a hammer blow to the aviation industry if the new proposed quarantine measures remained in place during the summer.

Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt said the UK may need to go further than applying mandatory quarantine on only those countries where new variants have been discovered.

Pressed on whether his comment means he supports a universal approach to quarantining international arrivals, Mr Hunt added: “I think it is a big logistical exercise to do that and it is not going to be possible to do it overnight anyway.

A fence surrounds the Holiday Inn hotel near Heathrow Airport, which has been reserved for people arriving from abroad to self-isolate. Credit: PA

“But I think the real question is buying us enough time, and we don’t know which countries these variants are arising in. We have much better genomic sequencing in this country than in most other countries – in fact, any other country – so we are better at tracing these things than other places.

“But I think we just have to be very cautious, because if we can get this vaccine distribution up to sufficient levels, we can really cut down the transmission in this country and transform the battle against the virus.

“If we do have to go further, I hope it would only have to be for a temporary period.”

Covid: UK set to impose forced hotel quarantine stay for arrivals into country