Travel ban 'must continue as Europe faces terrible months ahead' due to Covid cases and slow vaccine, warns Sage expert

THE UK's travel ban must remain in place, a Sage expert as warned, as Europe is to face a 'terrible few months ahead'.

Many countries in the EU are currently experiencing a third wave, similar to what happened in the UK's second wave in January.

Sir Jeremy Farrar, who is also the director of the Wellcome Trust, said opening the borders would put the UK's progress at risk.

He told the BBC Today programme: "Europe is going to be very bad, I'm afraid to say.

"The UK had an awful January and February, with 50 per cent of all deaths in the UK happening then.

"Europe is going through a very similar epidemic curve now and will have a terrible month or two ahead."

He said that the government will have to think "very hard about summer holidays and travel", adding: "The biggest risk to the UK is outside the UK borders.

"I think the ban will have to continue until we can see progress in Europe with the epidemic coming down and vaccination rates going up in Europe."


The UK is world-leading in the vaccination rollout with more than 41 per cent of the population given the first jab, while European destinations such as Spain, Greece and Portugal lagging behind at less than 10 per cent.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said yesterday that the government hasn't ruled out closing the borders this summer like Australia has, prompting fears for foreign holidays.

She said: "We rule nothing out in terms of the approach we take when it comes to infection control and the safety and security of our public from this virus, and it's not for me to speculate what will happen in the summer.

"We have a roadmap, we have a plan, we're sticking to that plan and rightly so because we want to make sure we safeguard the rollout of the vaccine programme, protect more lives, protect the vulnerable people."

The government's Global Travel Taskforce will announce when holidays can go ahead next month, with the earliest date being from May 17.

However, due to the Covid situation abroad, experts have warned this is unlikely and could be much later in the year, scuppering summer holiday plans.

 


New rules being enforced from Monday will make holidays illegal with rule-breakers fined £5,000.

The current rules require Brits to also fill out a form if they do want to leave the country, stating their permitted reason to do so, or they will face a £200 fine for not having the right paperwork.

Here are the important dates you need to add to your diary regarding your summer holiday abroad.

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