THOUSANDS of Brits have cancelled their holidays after the government brought in new travel restrictions to curb the rise of the Omicron variant.
But the Health Secretary has provided a glimmer of hope, after saying the new rules could end very soon.
Health secretary Sajid Javid announced that travel restrictions could end soon
Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Sajid Javid was asked if members of the public should be worried about booking holidays abroad in the coming months, and if more countries will be added to the red list.
He replied: “It is just not possible to give a guarantee for any particular country that there will not potentially be any future measures.
“Very soon, in the days and weeks that lie ahead, if, as I think is likely, we see many more infections and this variant becomes the dominant variant, there will be less need to have any kind of travel restrictions at all.”
The words will be a boost to the ailing travel industry, which has seen thousands of Brits cancel holidays since the new rules were brought in.
Time Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, told the news website that he thinks the travel restrictions are “utterly futile”.
He said: “Omicron will soon be the dominant variant in the UK and we know there are many cases now independent of international travel.
“The health secretary understands well that travel restrictions are utterly futile when we have community transmission and that’s why we’re pushing hard for these latest, emergency restrictions to be rolled back at the December 20 review.”
Even if travel restrictions are eased, several airlines have already cancelled flights for next year.
British Airways has slashed more than 2,000 flights from its schedule until March.
The airline has blamed the decision on a reduced demand for air travel as a result of the pandemic, but said it was not as a direct result of Omicron.
Ryanair has also scrapped flights, with all flights to and from Morocco cancelled until February 1, 2022.
The Moroccan government has put a ban on overseas flights until next week, but Ryanair has decided to extend the timeframe due to “a lack of clarity” from the country.
Then yesterday, the boss of TUI warned that they may be the next airline to cut flights amid travel uncertainty.
If the Omicron variant becomes dominant, there may be no need for travel restrictions, according to Sajid Javid