Boris Johnson has indicated that a relaxation of travel rules for those who have had two doses of a coronavirus vaccine is on the horizon.
The prime minister said there is a “real opportunity” to “open up travel through the double jab”.
“We’ve got more than 60% of our [adult] population that have now had two jabs, 83% have had one jab,” he said.
“We’re really getting through it now. The crucial thing is to come forward and get your second jab.
“I’m not going to claim that this summer for travel purposes is going to be like any summer.
“I don’t want to cast a pall over things, but as I said the other day, it will be different.”
Mr Johnson’s comments come ahead of the latest update to the government’s traffic light system of travel restrictions.
Malta and the Balearic Islands – which include Ibiza, Mallorca, Minorca and Formentera – could be added to the quarantine-free green list today, sources have suggested.
There have been calls from holidaymakers and travel firms for more countries to be moved from the amber list and for the government to drop the self-isolation rules for those who have been fully-vaccinated.
Popular European tourist destinations like France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece are all on the amber list, alongside the United States.
But those hoping to book a late summer getaway could face another obstacle – with German Chancellor Angela Merkel calling for travellers from the UK to be quarantined wherever they arrive in the EU, due to growing fears over the spread of the Delta variant.
“In our country, if you come from Great Britain, you have to go into quarantine – and that’s not the case in every European country, and that’s what I would like to see,” she said.
Environment Secretary George Eustice told Sky News that Mrs Merkel’s comments were “unjustified”.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News on Tuesday that quarantine-free travel to amber list countries for people who have had two jabs is “absolutely something” the government is “working on”.
“This hasn’t been clinically advised yet, we’re working on it,” Mr Hancock said about the move, which would see the current 10-day isolation replaced by daily COVID testing.
“When I’m in a position to be able to say something then we will do,” he continued.
“But it’s absolutely something we’re working on and it’s something I want to see.”
Reports in recent days have suggested that the change could come into effect in August.
According to The Times, children travelling with their parents who have both had two vaccine doses may also be exempt from quarantine measures under the proposals being considered.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said ministers are “looking at what role vaccine certification can play in loosening some of the quarantine requirements”.
“I think people recognise, obviously, we’re doing this for protecting everyone’s health, we’ve made all these enormous strides, once we open up everything, hopefully on 19 July, we just want to make sure that we don’t put that at risk,” he told The Times CEO Summit.
“But the situation compared to last year, obviously, has changed because lots of people are vaccinated and that should give us some options, and it’s right that we’re going through those and seeing what we can do, and that work is ongoing.”