BRITS have been urged not to book foreign holidays until the Government has formally announced its plan to drop travel restrictions.

Trade secretary Liz Truss urged people to "wait a bit longer" before planning trips abroad so they know which countries are safe to visit.

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The senior Cabinet minister said she expects details of the new "traffic light system" for opening up borders to be laid out imminently.

Her remarks come after the EU yesterday announced it will be ready to welcome back British sun seekers from the end of this month.

A number of top destinations like Greece, Spain, and Portugal have already vowed to forge ahead and open up to UK tourists within weeks.

And there are hopes of a "Big Bang" reopening with those countries, as well as France and US, on course to make the green list by the end of June.

Travel giant Thomas Cook has reported that its bookings for foreign holidays have leapt by 50% in the space of a week.

But the PM struck a more downbeat tone yesterday and insisted the UK must protect itself against importing new variants of the virus.

During a visit to Hartlepool he vowed to "very, very tough" and "as cautious as we can" when restarting international travel.

And today Ms Truss was similarly reluctant to give the green light for sun-starved families to book a trip away.

She said: "We won't have much longer to wait to get the full announcement from the travel taskforce. I would suggest that people wait for that.

"Of course we're doing all we can to make sure we follow our roadmap, that we open up the economy and travel gradually.

"But the really important thing is we don’t move too fast and jeopardise the progress we’ve made.

"People will have to wait a bit longer I'm afraid to hear the news on exactly what's happening on the travel front, but I can assure you the Government is working very hard."

Ms Truss said she understood millions of families' desire to get away after a "very, very tough year" at home.

And she insisted all the necessary measures will be in place by May 17 so foreign travel can be opened up "in a very safe way".

She said: "What we don’t want to be doing is reimporting this virus after we've done such an excellent job in getting the levels down.

"Of course we fully support safe travel we want to make sure people have the opportunity.

"But we need to be cautious and we need to make sure we're not simply importing the virus after we've successfully dealt with it in Britain.

"We are doing this in a very safe way. We've got a very strong testing procedure in place.

"We have a strong quarantine regime and any opening up of travel will be made fully safe. That's why we're taking our time.

"It’s absolutely right that once we are able to, we do open these corridors up.

"First of all it’s important for trade, for economic opportunities, for jobs and growth here in Britain.

"It’s important for people with family connections around the world to be able to visit and see their families.

"And if we are able to have people go on holiday I don’t see any reason they shouldn’t provided it’s safe."

Last week vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi insisted the UK would have vaccine passports ready to go in time for the reopening of travel.

And today Ms Truss added: "People can have confidence when we make the announcement we’ll have everything in place."

GMB'S Dr Hilary Jones said the Government is right to be taking a cautious approach to reopening borders.

He said: "It can give us confidence going forward but new variants are still emerging and we need to be cautious. Higher rates are still in Europe.

"Everyone wants to go on holiday, I want to go on holiday but I think it's right to be cautious.

"What you're allowed to do and what you're sensible and practical are all different things.

"Even if you're allowed to go what will the queues be like at the airport, will it take twice as long? "We just need to be really cautious.

"People want to think that the pandemic is already over, but it isn't, it's still raging in other parts of the world."

"My heart and my head are saying different things. Of course I don't want to be a killjoy but we mustn't forget."

Ministers are expected to announce this week which countries will initially make the green list when travel reopens on May 17.

Malta is certain to make the cut straight away whilst Portugal is also on the "cusp" of being included.

Under the new system, Brits returning from green countries will be able to use a cheap lateral flow test before they board the plane back home.

But they will still have to pay for a more accurate PCR swab on their second day – at an average cost of around £128.

People coming back from amber destinations will have to quarantine for up to 10 days and take two PCR tests.

And those arriving from red nations – from which only British citizens and residents are allowed to travel – have to hotel quarantine for 10 days at a cost of £1,700 each.

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