British holidaymakers may have the option of jetting off to a handful of European hotspots from next month.
And the UK government’s “green list” of countries to which people can travel without having to isolate for 14 days on their return is expected to be released this week, although it is understood details are still being finalised.
Reports suggested the list could include about a dozen countries, although some newspapers suggested it could be fewer than 10.
Both The Times and The Guardian said destinations likely to make it onto the list for travel from May 17 include Portugal, Malta and Gibraltar, while the Telegraph said Spain, Greece and France could be added by the end of June.
It comes as Boris Johnson said the approach to foreign travel this summer will be sensible and cautious to avoid “an influx of disease”.
The Prime Minister said there will be “some opening up” on May 17, the next milestone in the Government’s road map for restrictions to lift, but that things must be done in a way “to make sure that we don’t see the virus coming back in” to the UK.
The European Commission said it is proposing “to allow entry to the EU for nonessential reasons not only for all persons coming from countries with a good epidemiological situation, but also all people who have received the last recommended dose of an EU-authorised vaccine”.
It was not said which countries would be on its list, but one unnamed EU official said the UK remains a “question mark”.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock, meanwhile, expressed certainty over a “great British summer” ahead as he confirmed that a total of 50 million Covid-19 jabs have been given out across the UK.
The Government said one further person had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Monday, bringing the UK total to 127,539.
However, there is always a lag in reporting deaths – greater at weekends and bank holidays – and the latest figures do not mean that only one death has occurred in the past 24 hours.
The Government also said that, as of 9am on Monday, there had been a further 1,649 lab-confirmed cases in the UK.
Some people believe the success of the vaccination roll out and the much lower death figures mean UK restrictions should end sooner, with Robert Syms the Tory MP for Poole, telling the Daily Mail: “We need to push the Government to get on with it.”