BRITS are being warned to not book holidays abroad due to the soaring cases of different Covid strains in Europe.

Social Care Minister Helen Whately said families should be 'cautious' until at least next month when the government will announce when a foreign trips can go ahead.

She told BBC Breakfast: “I know everybody feels like it’s time for a holiday. We all need that.

“My advice would be to anybody right now is just to hold off on booking international travel.

“The Prime Minister launched a taskforce to look specifically at international travel. That will be reporting back shortly. It just feels premature to be booking international travel at the moment.”

She added: "As anybody can see, we are in a situation where there are rising rates in many countries in Europe.

“We know also something that comes with rising rates is increased risk of variants that's why it's so important that we are going to be able to test more rapidly for variants of concern. So I would say to people just hold off.”

The Global Travel Taskforce will announce on April 12 when holidays abroad can go ahead which was hoped to be from May 17.



However, this is likely to be pushed back, as experts warn that it risks bringing new variants into the UK.

Professor Calum Semple, a member of Sage told BBC: "The issue is really high prevalence of the virus in Europe.

"The UK has really got its house in order with stiff lockdowns and brilliant vaccination roll out, but sadly in European countries they're seeing third wave, and no reason to expect that to go down at all.

"When there is a high prevalence of virus, there is more risk of mutations and a big fear is one of the new variants will be brought back into UK.

"Until prevalence is low in other countries, we really don't want viruses being brought back to this country."

Last week, Paris reported 35,000 new Covid cases in one day with as many as 10 per cent being the South African variant.

Italy imposed new Covid restrictions on March 15 to slow another wave, while reporting around 22,000 cases a day. while in Germany – where fewer than 10 per cent of people are vaccinated – a lockdown imposed in December has been extended to the end of March.

When asked about whether it's going to be possible to jet off abroad, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the Government "can't be deaf and blind" to what is going on in Europe and warned against being "reckless in any way".

He made the claims just a day after Government scientist Dr Mike Tildesley said holidays abroad are "highly unlikely" this year.

He said allowing holidaymakers to flock to foreign countries could "jeopardise" the UK's vaccination campaign and let new Covid variants in.

Instead, a “traffic light” system could allow Brits to go on holidays to low risk destinations.

The scheme being considered by ministers will make it easier for holidaymakers to flock to lower risk “green” areas.

The three-tiered system could see passengers flying to certain countries exempt from pre-departure tests and a mandatory quarantine when they return.

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