Holidays: Simon Calder reveals how travel situation is looking
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Diplomats and officials have claimed EU borders could remain closed to Britons until the bloc has fully vaccinated 70 percent of its 450 million population. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said this should be achieved by September 21 at the latest. But some European capitals already feel they are falling behind schedule as supplies of the life-saving vaccines are scarce across the bloc.
Overall the EU has vaccinated about six percent of its population since it started rolling out Covid jabs.
In contrast, Britain has delivered jabs to more than a quarter of all adults, with close to 19 million doses given out already.
One senior EU official said it was “too soon” to make a decision on welcoming British tourists to the continent.
And an EU diplomat said there was no hope that the bloc would be able to vaccinate most adults ahead of the Commission’s September target.
This will infuriate southern member states, led by Greece, who are pushing for vaccination passports to be used to reopen their tourism industries in time for the summer holidays.
“For the time being, non-essential travel needs to be restricted,” EU leaders will say tomorrow after a virtual summit.
Eurocrats are said to be in advanced talks over reopening the borders to tourists who have already received Covid jabs.
But it was claimed that the EU27 remains united behind a common approach and will push for the likes of Greece and Spain to keep their borders shut.
The diplomat said: “I think there is every intention to do this collectively as 27.
“I have not heard from my colleagues they want to do something differently.”
The EU has agreed a “safe list” of countries from where non-essential travel to the bloc is allowed.
It currently includes Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand, but not Britain.
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Brussels refreshes its list every two weeks based on the number of reported positive cases of coronavirus.
In the last 14-day cycle, Australia has only reported some 82 cases, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
In comparison, Britain has recorded more than 200,000 cases in the last fortnight.
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Meanwhile, Home Secretary Priti Patel warned it is “far too early” to book overseas trips.
She told MPs: “It is too early and we have to look at the data at every single stage and the road map outlined by the Prime Minister makes that abundantly clear.”
Holiday bookings soared after Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown suggested foreign travel could restart after May 17 if coronavirus cases continue to drop.
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