Foreign holidays are under threat because ministers are worried about a new Covid variant, the Mail can reveal.
Scientists have alerted ministers to the mutant strain – thought to have originated in Nepal – which has apparently spread to Europe. They fear the strain is resistant to vaccines.
But a member of the Government’s SAGE committee of experts said officials should not be overly concerned. He added: ‘There are thousands of variants. This is a virus that is changing all the time.’
And Tory peer Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith, chairman of the Airport Operators’ Association, said: ‘How many more variants have we got to be worried about? What matters is data and the success of our vaccination programme.’
The Government will today update its ‘green list’ of countries holidaymakers can visit without having to go into quarantine. Whitehall sources said additions to the list will be ‘extremely limited’ amid concern over the Nepal strain and the slower rollout of vaccines across Europe.
There are even fears Portugal could lose its green status today, as the Nepal variant may have been detected there. It means holidays to the Continent may be severely restricted until August – the month now being targeted by ministers for a significant reboot of foreign travel.
Read more: Now they have invented the ‘Nepal variant’ (Yawn). Can you please invent an Isle of Wight variant – we feel left out here. How about an Oxford Street variant or a Hancock variant, a symptom of which is the incurable compulsion to lie every time your lips move