Gabriel Scally, President of Epidemiology & Public Health at the Royal Society of Medicine and member of Independent Sage, says No
The NHS delivered vaccination programme has been a game-changer for COVID-19. We might completely suppress the virus across the UK. If that happens, we can get back to a much more normal life and enjoy the summer.
The cloud on the horizon is the virus’s known ability to mutate and change its characteristics. We have already seen how new strains of the virus can be more infectious and potentially more fatal. Some new variants popping up across the world have demonstrated their ability to dodge the vaccines to some extent.
The real fear is a variant will pop up out of the blue that is even more infectious, and that isn’t dealt with by the current vaccinations. Until levels of COVID-19 fall dramatically in other countries, the best defence we have in the UK is to make sure that we don’t import new variants by bringing them back with us from trips abroad. We should all avoid foreign holidays this year, to keep us all safe.
Paul Charles, CEO of travel consultancy, The PC Agency says Yes
At first glance, all looks as gloomy as the build-up to summer last year. Infections and mortality rates were high in much of Europe during March and April 2020 and then suddenly started to drop during May and June, before travel recommenced in July.
But this year we have the added bonus of effective vaccines to help protect us, and others, even further.
While the rollout is slower in some parts of Europe, some countries are powering ahead; Malta has jabbed 28 per cent of its population at least once. So I’d fully expect a totally different environment by mid-May, still seven weeks away, when safe overseas travel is due to restart.
We’ll have a new traffic lights system to guide British travellers on the safest countries to visit; digital vaccine certificates will prove we’re more protected abroad and then we’ll be tested, with cheaper, rapid tests on returning to the UK.
Sun, sand, sea and swabs will be the defining images of summer 2021.