Boris Johnson says it will be a ‘difficult year’ for international travel
Boris Johnson has warned it will be a “difficult year” for international travel as the government discusses exempting fully vaccinated people from quarantine when coming back from amber list countries.
The Prime Minister said today that there will be “hassle, there will be delays” when it comes to international travel this year as “the priority has got to be to keep the country safe”.
The vast majority of countries are currently placed on the travel amber list, with people forced to quarantine for 10 days on arrival from these destinations and take several expensive PCR Covid-19 tests.
Analysis from the Times today showed only 89 of 23,465 passengers who travelled to the UK from the amber list between 20 May and 9 June tested positive for coronavirus.
There were no positive cases identified in passengers returning from 151 of the 167 countries on the list, while no variants of concern were identified at all.
The findings prompted the airline industry to renew calls for an overhaul to the current system, which they warned risks a second “lost summer” for travel and tourism businesses.
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of trade body Airlines UK, said: “No cases from green, zero variants from amber, and a very low positivity rate. And lots of countries with no cases at all. This is clear evidence of the government treating international travel differently from the domestic economy.”
Speaking to Sky News today, Johnson said: “I want to stress this is going to be whatever happens a difficult year for travel.
“There will be hassle, there will be delays I’m afraid because the priority has go to be to keep the country safe and to stop the virus coming back in.”
There have been reports that people who have had two Covid jabs could be exempt from quarantining on arrival, which would provide a major boost for the ailing aviation sector.
Fully vaccinated EU residents are currently allowed to travel more freely than people in the UK and former PM Theresa May has called for similar allowances.
When asked about this possibility, the Prime Minister said: “We’re looking at it, but I want to stress that the emphasis is on making sure we can protect the country from the virus coming back in.”
Health secretary Matt Hancock also said today that the government would consider giving travel exemptions for people who have had two jabs.