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Vaccine passports ‘probably’ won’t be ready when non-essential travel ban lifts

Vaccine passports may not be ready in time for summer holidays after the UK’s non-essential travel ban lifts on May 17, says one government minister.

It comes after Europe gave increased hope to sun-starved Brits in opening up borders to vaccinated travellers.

But, as Europe offered holiday hope for the summer, some say it will add more pressure on government to arrange travel passports in time – and the deadline would “probably” be missed.

The European Union revealed plans for dropping its blanket entry ban for non-EU countries with strong vaccine campaigns and low infection rates such as the UK.

Spain, Greece, France, Italy and their islands are expected to be kept off a ‘green list’ for travel when the Government’s ‘traffic light system’ comes into place.

Boris Johnson said social distancing measures could be axed next month
Boris Johnson said social distancing measures could be axed next month

The islands are reportedly going to be excluded from the ‘green list’ for quarantine free travel despite lower Covid rates than the mainland.

Only a ‘tiny handful’ of countries including Gibraltar, Israel, Iceland, Portugal and Malta are expected to be on the ‘green list’.

Iago Negueruela, the Balearic’s tourism minister, told The Telegraph : “The British Government [should] take the epidemiological situation of separate regions into account, rather than different countries.

Spain, Greece, France, Italy and their islands are expected to be kept off a 'green list' for travel
Spain, Greece, France, Italy and their islands are expected to be kept off a ‘green list’ for travel

“We have… the technology available to sequence the virus and its strains at a higher percentage than any other region [one of four factors set by the UK Government].

“We have made huge efforts to contain the pandemic, and the epidemiological figures for the Islands are among the best in Europe.”

The ban on foreign holidays is expected to be lifted for people in England from May 17 as part of the next easing of coronavirus restrictions.

The traffic light system will be risk-based, with different rules for people returning to England depending on which list their destination is on.

The traffic light system will be risk-based, with different rules for people returning to England depending on which list their destination is on
The traffic light system will be risk-based, with different rules for people returning to England depending on which list their destination is on

Many people are eager to discover what countries are on the green list to avoid the need to self-isolate.

Peter Openshaw, Professor of Experimental Medicine at Imperial College London, told the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday the UK needed to be cautious and prepare.

When asked if people will be able to start going on holiday, he said: “Yes, within limits.

“It’s so important that we do not drop our guard completely.

“We know it’s perfectly likely there will be further outbreaks unless we use this time to be very cautious and prepare sensibly.”

His comments come as Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the list of nations where international travel will be permitted is “coming shortly”.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed for the first time last month that Brits will be able to book foreign holidays for later this summer.

The “permission to travel” form, and £5,000 fine for travelling without a valid reason like work or bereavement, will be dropped in late Spring.



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