Transport secretary Grant Shapps has said there is a chance that foreign travel will go ahead from May 17 but warned of hurdles beyond the government’s control.

A taskforce set up by the government will report on the resumption of international travel on April 12 and the earliest that holidays can start is May 17.

Asked on ITV’s Peston if there is a chance flights could resume from May 17, Shapps said: “Yes, although it depends on lots of factors, many of which are not in our control.

“One of which is the vaccine rollout, which is going great. Over 18 million people have been vaccinated in the UK.

“That, unfortunately, is not the same everywhere else, we’re way ahead, and one of the things we need to look at is if other places aren’t as vaccinated.

“Also lots of people aren’t able to get vaccinations, who make up 21% of our population.

“We can’t have a situation where it’s OK if you’ve been vaccinated, but you can’t elsewhere if you haven’t been. Things like testing can form a part of that.

“These are all the things that we are looking into in this Global Travel Taskforce report on April 12.”


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The transport secretary reiterated May 17 would be the earliest that international travel could resume and added there were concerns about foreign variants of Covid-19.

“What we’re interested in is where those new variants might create problems with people being able to be protected. And so we need to look at all of those factors,” he said.

Sky News reported that EU leaders will decide on Thursday about certificates of vaccination for EU citizens who have had a coronavirus vaccine.

“Some governments, like those of Greece and Spain, are pushing for a quick adoption of an EU-wide certificate for those already inoculated so that people can travel again,” said the report.

“However, other countries, such as France and Germany, appear more reluctant, as officials there say it could create de facto vaccination obligation and would be discriminatory to those who cannot or will not take a jab.”