British health minister Matt Hancock. File
Gulf Today Report
British Health Minister Matt Hancock on Thursday said the government is ensuring the public gets a summer vacation this year but didn’t confirm certainty.
Ministers have faced criticism, including from members of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's own party, about giving out mixed messages on whether people should arrange summer holidays in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The transport minister Grant Shapps warned against booking vacations either domestically or abroad until there is more information about the vaccination programme’s success.
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"I do understand the yearning for certainty, but certainty is hard in a pandemic. We are doing everything we can to make sure people can have that holiday in the summer," Hancock said.
Since the beginning of the vaccination drive, Britain has given the first vaccine shot to more than 30 million people. It has also imposed strict border restrictions to prevent new strains from entering the country.
Airlines and the travel industry have called for clarity and a clear route map out of restrictions, fearing this summer could make or break for many.
Heathrow Airport, Britain's busiest, said on Thursday passenger numbers had plunged 89% in January.
The UK's Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton have said that the coronavirus lockdown was "stressful" for many people and it was important to look after mental health.
The department of health said in a statement, “The government has today accepted the recommendation from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer-BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine for use."
Tighter COVID-19 lockdowns could be imposed on more parts of northern England by the British government on Thursday and Health Secretary Matt Hancock will address parliament, a minister said.
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