Covid: International travel could resume from May 17, Transport Secretary tells Peston

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has confirmed there is a chance foreign travel will go ahead from May 17.

Mr Shapps told ITV's Peston that the global travel taskforce report, due to be published on April 12, will set out whether international travel can resume safely ahead of the summer holidays.

Asked whether there is a chance flights could resume from May 17, in accordance with the prime minister's roadmap to easing lockdown, Mr Shapps said: "Yes, although it depends on lots of factors, many of which are not in our control.

"One of which is the vaccine rollout, which is going great. Over 18 million people have been vaccinated in the UK.

"That, unfortunately, is not the same everywhere else, we're way ahead, and one of the things we need to look at is if other places aren't as vaccinated.

"And also lots of people who aren't able to get vaccinations, who make up 21% of our population.

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"We can't have a situation where it's OK if you've been vaccinated, but you can't elsewhere if you haven't been. Things like testing can form a part of that."

The Transport Secretary reiterated May 17 would be the "earliest" international travel could resume, as laid out by the road map laid out by the prime minister earlier this week.

He also added there were concerns about foreign variants when it comes to travel abroad.

  • Peston on the possible easing of lockdown and summer holidays

Asked if there would be high-risk countries where restrictions would remain in place once international travel restrictions were lifted for the UK, he said: "It's not just about the prevalence, how many cases there are, nowadays of course we're much more, or as interested, perhaps even more interested, in the variants rather than just the prevalence.

"And what we're interested in is where those new variants might create problems with people being able to be protected. And so we need to look at all of those factors."

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