Tui chief executive Fritz Joussen called for rapid Covid testing for travellers as he hailed EU approval of a second vaccine.

The European Medicines Agency approved the vaccine of US group Moderna for use in EU states on January 6. EU members have already begun vaccinations with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

The UK regulator also approved the Moderna today (January 8), making it the third vaccine soon to become available in Britain.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which has yet to be approved in the EU, is already in use in the UK.

Joussen said: “European approval for [the] Moderna [vaccine] is another important step in the fight against the pandemic.

“The more safe vaccines are approved, the more people can be vaccinated and hopefully get back to a normal life.

“BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna are the first [in the EU], with Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca and other international pharmaceutical companies waiting in the wings.”

He said: “There will be more suppliers and more vaccines available. That will lead to a real ramp-up and significantly more vaccinations.

“Once a significant number of people are vaccinated, then the average mortality risk drops significantly.

“Extensive travel restrictions and even more so a complete lockdown would then no longer be proportionate.”

In an online comment, Joussen acknowledged: “We still need to be cautious and vigilant.”

But he argued: “The potential of rapid tests should be exploited to a greater extent.

“The reliability is now enormously high, they are inexpensive, the result is directly available and significantly more [people] can be tested.”

He said: “Tui has already had very good experience with quick tests for cruises.”

The group carried 40,000 German passengers on cruises in the North Sea following a resumption of operations in summer 2020.