Summer holiday update as Boris Johnson announces key date in relaxing lockdown

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Boris Johnson says he hopes to reveal a path out of lockdown on February 22, finally providing answers about whether or nor Brits can go on holiday.

The Prime Minister hosted a Downing Street press conference on Wednesday afternoon, joined by Sir Patrick Vallance, the government's chief scientific adviser.

Earlier in the day Transport Secretary Grant Shapps had cast doubt on the prospect of Brits being allowed to book holidays for the months ahead as the pandemic continues to rage.

When asked for more clarity about the situation during the press conference, Mr Johnson avoided giving a straight answer and cautioned against making any bookings at present, instead advising cooped-up Brits to be "patient".

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"Everybody knows it's currently illegal to go on holiday," he said.

"That's the state of play at the moment, we're looking at the data, every day, on Monday we'll be able to say a little bit more about where we are, where the data is.

"Then in the week of the 22nd, as I said, we'll be setting out the roadmap. I hope that we'll be able to give some clarity to people there.

"I am afraid it is just too early for people to be certain about what we will be able to do this summer.

"We hope to be able to say more in the week of the 22nd when more comes in, and how the vaccine is working on us all.

"We are just going to have to be a bit more patient."

  • Passenger goes through Heathrow in 10 minutes with no checks despite mutant strain

Health Secretary Matt Hancock earlier warned that anyone breaching border measures could be handed a 10-year prison sentence.

There will be a new £1,000 fine issued to anyone found failing to take the mandatory test and a £2,000 penalty for failing to take a second mandatory test – also automatically extending quarantine to 14 days.

There will then be a £5,000 fine, rising to £10,000, for failing to quarantine in a designated hotel.

Earlier on Wednesday Mr Johnson had told MPs in Parliament that Britain is "going to have to get used to the idea of vaccinating and revaccinating in the autumn as we come to face these new variants".

  • Brits warned that holidays both abroad and in UK 'may be off all year'

A total of 13,058,298 people have now received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while 519,553 have had two doses.

The government says it's on target to meet its promise to offer a vaccine to the four most clinically vulnerable priority groups (some 15 million people) by February 15.

It will then move on to offering a vaccine to those in the next set of groups including younger Brits.

His government is currently cracking down on coronavirus mutations in a bid to prevent future outbreaks due to growing concern about a somewhat vaccine-resistant South African variant.

Surge testing to trace the strain is being carried out in a range of areas, but England's deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam does not believe the variant will become dominant in the UK.

He told the BBC the mutation first identified in Kent accounts for more than 90% of cases and there had been fewer than 200 cases of the South African strain.

"If you are running a bath and you have got the hot water tap on and you add in a very small amount of cold water, so the cold tap is running as well but at really a very low volume, your bath water is basically going to remain hot," he said.

  • Boris Johnson
  • Coronavirus

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