On February 10, 2021, UK transportation secretary Grant Shapps said in a television statement that British citizens might not be allowed to travel abroad until all adults in the country have received a coronavirus vaccine. It wasn’t an official statement, but a serious caution.
“I’m afraid I can’t give you a definitive ‘will there or will there not be’ the opportunity to take holidays,” Shapps said in response to reporters’ questions. But he also advised people to keep holding off on booking holiday plans, whether domestic or international.
Currently, Britain has one of the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the world. More than 12.5 million doses have been administered, meaning that as much as 9 percent of the total population has received the required two doses. If the country keeps the current pace up, everyone in the UK should have had at least their first dose by July, and they’re already seeing a marked decrease in new infections.
While this is excellent news, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce a loosening of domestic restrictions soon, international travel for British citizens also depends on vaccination rates outside of the country, and both the European Union and the United States are struggling to keep up.
“We’ll need to wait for other countries to catch up as well, in order to do that wider international unlock,” said Shapps.
Britain has so far reported nearly 114,000 deaths from COVID-19, which puts them fifth in the world for death tolls, behind the United States, Brazil, Mexico, and India. They’re also number five if you order the list per-capita, with 171 deaths out of every 100,000 citizens. Despite Britain’s recent downward trend in deaths, the country has still seen nearly 1,000 in the past week alone. Prudence in reopening is a necessary caution.