Boris Johnson ditches overseas summer holiday in favour of August staycation

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Boris Johnson stands next to Carrie Johnson during the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall - Boris Johnson stands next to Carrie Johnson during the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall
Boris Johnson stands next to Carrie Johnson during the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall - Boris Johnson stands next to Carrie Johnson during the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall

Boris Johnson has decided not to travel abroad for his summer holidays and will instead take a “staycation” in the UK later this month, The Telegraph understands.

The Prime Minister’s move matches scores of Britons who have opted to avoid the complexity of foreign travel given the Covid-19 restrictions in place.

“The PM’s going to staycation this year,” said a senior government source familiar with his holiday plans. The destination is yet to be announced. 

Mr Johnson faces mounting pressure to lift more travel rules as 10 Tory MPs called for the “wholly disproportionate and burdensome testing regime for travellers” to end.

The group wants all tests for travellers returning from green list countries and for the double-jabbed coming back from amber list countries to be scrapped.

Holidaymakers bringing back virtually no cases of Covid to the UK

Analysis of official data seen by The Telegraph shows that fewer than one in 60 people returning from countries on the amber or red lists are testing positive for Covid-19. 

Watch: Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye on Boris Johnson's potential amber list plans

No “variants of concern'' were found among the 324,000 passengers arriving back in Britain from the 200 red or amber countries in the three-week period between July 1 and 21.

The test and trace data showed just 4,432 (1.5 per cent) of the 298,603 people returning from amber list countries tested positive, and only 336 (1.4 per cent) of the 24,064 entering hotel quarantine from red list countries.

Fewer than one in 100 (0.7 per cent) of the 33,327 arriving back from green countries tested positive.

Former BA chief Willie Walsh, director general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said the Government’s testing strategy was a “chaotic mess”.

“These tests are unnecessary and have spawned an unregulated industry supported by Government. The cost of testing is doubling the price of the flight on many routes and until this scandal is addressed the UK’s aviation industry recovery will continue to lag behind other countries,” he told The Telegraph.

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) urged Britain to scrap amber, expand the green list and ditch PCR tests for double jabbed holidaymakers.

Virginia Messina, the WTTC's acting chief executive, said: “It’s time the Government removed the ambiguity by abandoning the discredited traffic light system and replacing it with a simple system including green and red countries only, so travellers know exactly where they stand.”

Karen Dee, chief executive of the Airport Operators Association, said the new data showed the Government had been “far too cautious” in reopening international travel and “must urgently move” to expand the green list.  

“They must also move to a greater use of affordable and rapid testing to ensure that expensive and burdensome PCR tests stop acting as a disincentive to international travel and a brake on the recovery of UK aviation,” she said. 

Germany and Austria set to be added to green list

Government ministers will meet this week to update which countries are on the green-amber-red lists in the travel traffic light system.

Germany and Austria are set to be added to the green list, according to well-placed government sources, which means returning travellers do not need to quarantine. 

Spain will also reportedly avoid being added to the red list and will remain amber after cases of the Beta variant fell.

Mr Johnson is likely to be joined on his staycation by his wife Carrie, who recently announced she is pregnant with their second child, and their son Wilfed. 

Dr Jill Biden smiles with Carrie Johnson and her son Wilfred on the beach during the G7 leaders Summit in Carbis Bay Cornwall - No10 Downing Street
Dr Jill Biden smiles with Carrie Johnson and her son Wilfred on the beach during the G7 leaders Summit in Carbis Bay Cornwall - No10 Downing Street

Mr Johnson holidayed in Scotland last summer and Mustique, in the Carribean, in winter 2019. The latter triggered a parliamentary probe over funding which eventually cleared him of a rules breach.

Heading overseas with much of the country unable to take foreign holidays due to the cost and complexity of the Covid rules this summer would have triggered a political backlash.

In a letter shared with The Telegraph today, 10 Tory MPs write: “We must build on progress by moving many more countries onto the international travel ‘green list’, made possible by the huge success of our vaccination programme and the great progress being made in many countries around the world.

“The wholly disproportionate and burdensome testing regime for travellers must now also be resolved, so that costs are not an unfair barrier to families looking to get away.”

The 10 include Sir Graham Brady, chair of the influential Tory 1922 backbench committee, Henry Smith, chair of the Future of Aviation group of MPs, Sir Peter Bottomley, a former transport minister, and former minister Crispin Blunt.

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