Covid-19: Ministers doing everything to allow summer holidays, Matt Hancock says

Covid-19: Ministers doing everything to allow summer holidays, Matt Hancock says

Ministers are doing everything possible to make sure people can have a summer holiday this year, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said.

He warned “people will have to be patient” amid the uncertainty of the pandemic, but the government “will bring more certainty when we can”.

Amid warnings it is “too soon” to plan holidays, Mr Hancock admitted he booked a break in Cornwall “months ago”.

He also said Covid vaccine take-up has been much higher than expected so far.

Mr Hancock said 90% of people have accepted an offer of a jab – much higher than predictions around 75% would get the vaccine.

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged two million people who have yet to accept their offer of a jab to “come forward” this week.

Meanwhile, an infection expert warned that the virus variant first detected in Kent is likely to “sweep the world”.

Prof Sharon Peacock told the BBC Newscast podcast the new variant has “swept the country” and “it’s going to sweep the world, in all probability”.

Mr Hancock told BBC Breakfast he understood people wanted to be able to make plans for later in the year.

“I know that people are yearning for certainty over whether they can have a summer holiday, but pandemics are difficult times and there is a lot of uncertainty so I am afraid that people will have to be patient before we can get that certainty,” he said.

“We are doing everything that we possibly can to make sure that people can have a holiday this summer but the vaccine rollout is absolutely essential to that.

“We will set out more in more detail when we can, but at the moment unfortunately there is that uncertainty still.”

His comments came after both Mr Johnson and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps pleaded with people not to “go ahead and book holidays”.

Mr Shapps said on Wednesday: “I simply don’t know the answer to the question of where we’ll be up to this summer. It’s too early to give that information. The best advice to people is: do nothing at this stage.”

The prime minister told a Downing Street briefing: “I understand why people want to make plans now but we’re just going to have to be a little bit more patient.”

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