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Holidays are likely to be up for discussion today as Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses the British public about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and specifically regarding plans for travel restrictions as the UK continues its efforts to vaccinate its population. A key minister discussed summer holidays in 2021 – but should you book a holiday for this summer?
Millions of Britons were today advised not to book a summer holiday abroad this summer as ministers undertook discussions about introducing quarantine hotels.
When asked if people should wait to book holidays for summer 2021, the vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “Absolutely.”
He added: “At the moment, we have reached base camp, if I can describe it as that, with the vaccine deployment programme, over six and a half million people now with the first dose..a long way to go.
“We have had a tremendous performance, the NHS family, our armed forces, the private sector, and the brilliant volunteers have come together to deliver this deployment.
“It’s far too early, there are still 37,000 people in hospital with Covid at the moment, it’s far too early for us to even speculate about the summer.”
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The UK Government’s target is to vaccinate the top four priority groups outlined by the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation (JCVI) by mid-February.
This would mean vaccinating a total of 15 million people in the UK.
Up to and including January 24, 6.5 million people have received the first dose of the vaccine, with 470,000 having been given the second dose as well.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to announce new restrictions and rules concerning travel in the news briefing on Tuesday.
He is expected to unveil plans to force some travellers to quarantine in designated hotels upon returning to the UK from high-risk countries.
These plans, already in effect in countries such as Australia and New Zealand, propose to ensure self-isolation for a fixed duration to limit the spread of the new Covid variants which have been detected thus far.
Whitehall sources suggest ministers may opt for a more limited system after aviation leaders warned that introducing tougher border rules would be “catastrophic” for the industry.
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Can you book a holiday this summer?
Lockdown restrictions are currently in place across Britain until the middle of February at the earliest.
These lockdown rules may be extended beyond this period, depending on the rate and spread of the virus at that time.
Lockdown rules in England and other UK regions prohibit domestic and international travel, with the exception of a limited set of essential reasons such as for work or medical need.
This means leisure holidays abroad or outside one’s local area are currently in breach of lockdown rules.
For those who want to book a holiday, there are a number of ways you can safely book a 2021 holiday which protects you from almost any disruption which may take place in the future.
You are advised to book a package holiday, rather than flights and hotels separately.
Doing this will protect your money if the company fails and mean you will be able to get a full refund as package holiday operators pay into an insurance fund managed by the Civil Aviation Authority.
Booking package holidays can also protect travellers from changing rules regarding travel corridors and national lockdowns both at home and abroad.
Anyone looking to travel is also advised to use a provider who makes it clear they will refund you money in case the holiday is cancelled.
Furthermore, it is a good idea to use a local travel agent as you will be able to get in touch with them more easily.
Many customers have struggled to contact travel companies who have failed to keep them informed of changes to their bookings, about cancellations or the progress of their refunds during the pandemic.
You should take steps to buy travel insurance as soon as you book and book a hotel which offers a free cancellation policy.
To gain more financial protection, you should pay for your holiday using a credit card as Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act makes card issuers equally responsible for the delivery of a service.
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