Would you be happy to visit Europe this summer?
The European Commission has said it will ease restrictions on travel as Covid-19 vaccination campaigns progress and infection rates drop
British holidaymakers could visit destinations including Italy and France this summer if Covid-19 cases there can be driven down to UK levels, a senior scientific adviser has said.
Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, whose modelling work informs Government scientists, said he had not yet booked a break abroad but the risks were focused on countries with higher infection levels than the UK.
It comes after the European Commission said it would ease restrictions on travel to the bloc amid progressing Covid-19 vaccination campaigns and lower infection rates.
The EU is proposing “to allow entry to the EU for non-essential reasons not only for all persons coming from countries with a good epidemiological situation, but also all people who have received the last recommended dose of an EU-authorised vaccine”.
The UK Government’s “green list” of countries to which people can travel without having to isolate for 14 days on their return is also expected to be released shortly.
Prof Ferguson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think if for instance, by the summer, infection levels in France and Italy are the same sort of level as they are here, then there’s no risk associated with travelling overseas.
“The risk comes from going from a place like the UK with very low infection levels and going to a place with much higher infection levels and therefore having the risk of bringing infection back.
“If the two places are at comparable levels, and that’s what the EU is saying, then there is no particular risks associated with travel.”
He said the risk of vaccines being less effective in the face of variants was “the major concern” that could still lead to a “very major third wave in the autumn” in the UK.
It was therefore “essential we roll out booster doses, which can protect against that, as soon as we’ve basically finished vaccinating the adult population, which should finish by the summer,” he said.
Prof Ferguson said he was “feeling fairly optimistic that we will be not completely back to normal, but something which feels a lot more normal by the summer”.
Meanwhile, Portugal’s secretary of state for tourism, Rita Marques, said the country is “taking the lead” at the European Council in negotiations aimed at opening up the European Union to UK holidaymakers.
She told BBC Breakfast: “We are really pushing hard to open up to third countries like the UK.”
But International Trade Secretary Liz Truss urged people to wait for an announcement from the UK’s travel taskforce, telling Sky News: “I would encourage people to wait until we make that announcement so that we can see exactly what the details are, based on the data, because what we don’t want to be doing is reimporting this virus after we’ve done such an excellent job in getting the levels down in the UK… we need to be cautious and we need to make sure that we’re not simply importing the virus after we’ve successfully dealt with it in Britain.”
Are you hoping to visit Europe this summer? If European borders are re-opened to non-essential travel will you be going? Do you think it is still too risky? Or perhaps you feel it is morally wrong when we have come so far?
What are your views?
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