Brits warned holidays could lead to ‘mutant’ Covid strains and more lockdowns

Brits are on the cusp of being given the green light to travel abroad for a holiday for the first time this year – but a group of MPs may be looking to scupper those plans by advising that international travel should be "discouraged".

Hopes are high that the Government will finally confirm that from May 17 international flights will once again be allowed to take eager holidaymakers to sunny destinations.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps have confirmed that the UK will adopt a traffic light system that will determine how long travellers have to quarantine for when they arrive in the UK.

Holidaymakers travelling back to the UK from a "green status" country will not have to quarantine whereas amber countries will undertake 10 days of isolation.

Which countries are given the magical green status will be down to their infection levels and the proportion of the population that are vaccinated.

Early betting on green status countries include Portugal, Malta, New Zealand and Israel. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show that details of the traffic light system were “coming shortly”.

On Monday (May 3) the all-party parliamentary group on coronavirus (APPG) issued a report saying that even if holidays are legal they should be discouraged, reports The Guardian.

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The report states: "The UK government should discourage all international leisure travel to prevent the importation of new variants into the UK, in order to reduce the risk of a third wave, further lockdowns and ultimately more deaths.

“This recommendation should be implemented immediately and reviewed on a quarterly basis.”

Prof Rowland Kao, an epidemiologist at the University of Edinburgh and member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling who was not involved in the report, said new “escape mutant” variants may have the ability to cause greater illness and infect more people.

He said: “As the numbers of infections here go down, this is most likely to occur through the importation of variants from countries which have not yet been so fortunate.”

The MPs also advice better Covid security in arrival halls at UK airports and not delaying adding new countries to the red list.

The groups vice-chair MP Dr Philippa Whitford said: "Ministers must act on these recommendations and learn from the mistakes made last year, when the premature reopening of international travel contributed to a second wave.

"With the threat of importing dangerous new Covid variants, we must not throw away recent hard-won progress made through the sacrifices and efforts of the public.”

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