Nadhim Zahawi said that British travellers should not book summer 2021 holidays yet.
Those looking forward to jetting off this summer are warned that it is still ‘far too early’ to be thinking about going away given the rate of the virus in the UK.
When asked if it was too soon for the public to book holidays, vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi said:
“Absolutely. I think it’s far too early.
“There’s still 37,000 people in hospital with Covid at the moment. It’s far too early for us to even speculate about the summer.”
He later spoke to Times Radio where he said it was still ‘too early’ to know if summer holidays will go ahead.
There will be a meeting with senior ministers held today to consider further travel restrictions including the possibility of requiring travellers to quarantine at a designated hotel.
It is not clear the exact details of such a measure including how long this would be in place for.
“There will be an announcement on this issue later on today,” Mr Zahawi said.
The BBC reports that ministers are expected to approve the plan to require UK citizens to quarantine in a hotel if they arrive in the country from a high-risk country.
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Zahawi said: “We review our border policy like any other responsible country would – Germany and Canada did a similar thing in January.
“We’ve done that with the pre-departure testing that is now required to enter the UK and of course with passenger locator forms.
“There will be an announcement on this issue later on today, so I can only say to you that it is the right thing to do, because I am the vaccines minister, that as we vaccinate more of the adult population, if there are new variants like the South African or the Brazilian variants, we need to be very careful.
“We acted on those very quickly and of course dealt with travel from those countries, and from Portugal and elsewhere, rapidly so it is important we continue to review our border policy and an announcement will be made when a decision has been taken.
“And of course the industry itself will be engaged with heavily, including (Health Secretary) Matt Hancock engaging with the industry to explain the decision making at health, as well as of course the business department with the Business Secretary.”
Chief executive of Best Western hotel groups told the BBC that the hotel industry was ready to assist the government if they did opt for such a policy. He said the sector was ‘familiar and accustomed to managing Covid-positive customers in our hotels’.
Mr Paterson added: “From the hotels’ perspective, we would have to treat each of these customers as Covid-positive, so we would have to have strong infection control and protocols around security in the hotel to ensure we can deliver safely.”
An announcement on this from the government is expected to be made on Wednesday.
Up to 24 countries could be added to the green list this week, according to travel expert
Good news for those wanting a last minute get-away this year…
As many as twenty-four countries could be removed from the red list and put onto the green list, a travel expert has predicted this week.
Paul Charles, a former radio and TV presenter turned travel PR specialist, shared his prediction today as to which countries will be removed from the red list and replaced onto the green list.
As it stands, the government’s traffic light system organises countries into three categories – green, amber, and red – to determine what safety measures are needed in order to travel to those places. For example, countries on the red list are deemed as too unsafe and impose full travel bans.
Those on the amber list, however, require travellers to take a Covid test before travelling, and prove that it tested negative. On their return, people also have to take Covid tests on days two and eight – and quarantine for ten days.
Countries on the green list, alternatively, are deemed as safe enough for travellers to not need to take any Covid tests or self-isolate upon both their arrival and their departure.
And this week, a massive number of red list countries are predicted to be upgraded to the green list travel status, according to Charles. He tweeted: “There have been no new Covid Variants of Concern since 11th May.
“Our analysis shows 24 countries should come off the UK red list immediately including Argentina, Egypt, Kenya, Namibia, Oman, Pakistan, South Africa, Uruguay, Zambia.”
Other countries expected to make the move are Paraguay, Rwanda, Colombia, Malawi, Chile, and Indonesia.
Charles also said that Turkey should be taken off the red list, explaining: “It has some of the best Covid safety policies in place, especially in hotels and other tourist areas and has worked hard to reduce its infection rates.”
The government’s traffic light system is set be scrapped all together next month and will be replaced with a system based off vaccinations. For more information, visit the Gov.uk website.
You can stay in a tropical boutique narrowboat with its own pink gin bar in Manchester
A Manc staycation never looked so good
Last month, we thought we’d seen it all with the arrival of Manchester’s first ever luxury barge – but had we ever envisioned a green oasis narrowboat with its own gin bar?
The short answer is no, no we did not.
But low and behold, the tropical and gin-fuelled narrowboat none of us knew we needed exists, and it’s ready for you and your mates to hire here in Manchester’s city centre.
Parked up in the picturesque waterways of Castlefield and just a stone’s throw away from Deansgate, the ‘Boutique Narrowboat’ is described on its Airbnb listing as an ‘adorable pet-friendly floating hideaway.’
The boat features quirky interior – we’re talking animal print walls, unique artwork and an abundance of greenery, kind of quirky – and a lovely outdoor seating area perfect for enjoying the city while remaining sequestered from the outside world.
But the best part of the boat is located inside – there, guests can find a pink honesty bar complete with a vast selection of gin, wines, beers and soft drinks. There’s even games and fancy dress to make for the most fun staycation of your lives.
As well as a fully functional bar and outdoor patio area, there is one bedroom with a small double bed, one bathroom with a fully functioning toilet and shower, a fireplace and a kitchen with amenities like a fridge. Breakfast items, wifi and parking also come included.
The boat’s Airbnb page is inundated with glowing reviews, with one happy guest writing: “It’s the best place I have stayed in a long time. All the little touches make the place feel really cosy and special. The honesty bar is the best addition – sitting there with the back open was perfect!”
Another former boat dweller commented: “Absolutely gorgeous boat in a perfect location in the heart of the city. The boat was beyond our expectations and Sara the host was on hand with any queries we had throughout our stay. The outdoor section and bar area were really such lovely additions to the stay. Couldn’t rate or recommend it higher!”
The boat is priced at £91 per night (excluding cleaning and service fees), and sleeps strictly two guests.
As you’d expect, demand is incredibly high for a stay in Manchester’s coolest boat, so the next available dates are at the end of August and the end of the September.
To book your own staycation and for more information, visit the Airbnb listing here.
You can now stay in the original Spice Girls ‘SpiceBus’ on Airbnb
This bus will truly spice up your life…
Calling all Spice Girls fans: You can now spend a night (or two) in the actual bus from the 1997 Spice World film.
The SpiceBus, which one graced Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice), Emma Bunton (Baby Spice), Mel B (Scary Spice), Melanie Chisholm (Sporty Spice) and Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice), is now listed on Airbnb for Spice Girls fans far and wide to hire.
The bus has since had an incredible makeover since its glory days in the ‘90s and now resides in the Isle of White, right on the doorstep of a stunning marina.
Though the owner of the bus did stress that, as a Spice Girls fan herself, she has kept it as authentic to the original design as possible. On the bus’ listing, she wrote: “The outside of the bus looks exactly as it did in the Spice World movie, with its iconic Union Jack-painted exterior.
“I’m a huge fan of the band and have tried to include as many little touches as possible inspired by the girls and their music, to make the inside just as iconic as the outside!”
Guests will have full run of the double-decker bus, which can sleep up to three guests across two bedrooms and one living room. For those wanting to snack and keep their tipples cold, a mini fridge is included.
Towards the back of the bus, visitors will also find a spacious seating area with a table and three Union Jack cinema-style chairs for relaxing in front of the TV or listening to music (Spice Girls preferred) on the old school CD player.
Shops, restaurants and bars are within walking distance, and there are bathroom and kitchen facilities on site.
The bus has proven to be a huge hit with guests so far, with one happy Airbnb user writing: “The best Airbnb i have ever stayed in. The attention to detail, the facilities, the location and easy check in was all amazing. If you are a spice girls fan PLEASE book this!”
Another wrote: “This is the perfect place to stay with your bestie if you are spice or 90s obsessed. So many lovely little nostalgic touches. Was such a joy, would absolutely recommend.”
This will definitely be a trip to remember – for more details and to make your own reservation, visit the Airbnb listing here.