Covid-19 Update

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:25 pm on 2nd March 2021.

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Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock Secretary of State for Health and Social Care 1:25 pm, 2nd March 2021

Coventry and Warwickshire have done an amazing job, and I was very pleased to see them top the ranks published on Thursday of the areas of England that have vaccinated the most. I congratulate my hon. Friend and his team.

On foreign holidays, we said in the road map that international holidays will not be allowed before 17 May. We are working with the global travel taskforce, which met this lunchtime, just before I came to the House. It is chaired by my right hon. Friend the Transport Secretary. I am on it, along with Home Office and Foreign Office colleagues and representatives from the travel industry—from the airlines, cruise ships and others. That will report by 12 April. Last year, international travel restrictions were about restricting the number of cases due to high prevalence elsewhere when the prevalence here was low. The challenge now is that we have to take into consideration the risks from variants of concern, which means that more understanding about the impact of vaccines on variants of concern, such as the one first discovered in Manaus in Brazil that we were talking about earlier, is critical to answering the question of when we will be able safely to reopen international travel.