Coronavirus in the UK: ‘We're doing everything we can to allow summer holidays this year, says Matt Hancock

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines is “absolutely essential” for summer holidays to take place – and he urged Britons to be “patient” over the prospect of getting away.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said it is too early to know which coronavirus restrictions will still be in place by the summer.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said it is too early to know which coronavirus restrictions will still be in place by the summer.

Mr Hancock, who has already booked a break in Cornwall, told BBC Breakfast on Thursday: “I know that people are yearning for certainty over whether they can have a summer holiday, but pandemics are difficult times and there is a lot of uncertainty, so I am afraid that people will have to be patient before we can get that certainty.

“We are doing everything that we possibly can to make sure that people can have a holiday this summer but the vaccine rollout is absolutely essential to that.

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“We will set out more in more detail when we can, but at the moment unfortunately there is that uncertainty still.”

He told Sky: “We are doing everything we can to make sure people can have that holiday in the summer and, even before then, to be able to see their loved ones.

“Even before we get to whether we’re going on holiday or where we’re going on holiday, how soon we can see and hug our loved ones is important.”

He said because take-up of the vaccine was so high, “that will all help us get out of this and help us get back to normal”.

His comments come a day after Boris Johnson warned it was “too early for people to be certain about what we will be able to do this summer”, and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps claimed “people shouldn’t be booking holidays right now”.

Holidays are banned under the UK’s Covid-19 lockdown, but the travel industry is desperate for rules to be relaxed in time for the vital summer season.

Devi Sridhar, professor of global public health at the University of Edinburgh, said there needs to be a debate about what restrictions should be eased first during the pandemic.

She described how vaccines could be used to enable schools to reopen and people to visit crowded bars and restaurants, but “the cost is restricted movement internationally”.

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