The Prime Minister has given an update on plans to unlock international travel.

Holidays abroad will not be allowed until May 17 at the earliest, with Gatwick and Heathrow currently only open for passengers legally permitted to travel.

Boris Johnson gave a short update on international travel during a Downing Street press conference alongside England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance on Monday (April 5).

The PM also confirmed the next stage of lockdown lifting in England will be on April 12, when non-essential shops, hairdressers and gyms can reopen, and pubs and restaurants can start serving customers outdoors.

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On foreign travel, the PM said he was hopeful it will go ahead from May 17 – but did not want to underestimate the difficulties in some European destinations, adding that the country needs to be mindful and realistic while coronavirus cases in some countries continue to spike.

The PM said: “Obviously we are hopeful that we can get going from May 17, we are hopeful. But I do not wish to give hostages to fortune or to underestimate the difficulty we are seeing in some of the destination countries people might want to go to.

“We don’t want to see the virus being reimported into this country from abroad. What we are going to do, the global travel taskforce is going to report back later this week, we will then being setting out well before May 17 what is reasonable.”

The PM added that he will give the aviation industry as much notice as possible to get the country flying again.

More countries are set to be placed on the Government’s ‘red list’ meaning travellers from there are barred from entering the UK, unless they are British or Irish nationals.

Travellers from the Philippines, Pakistan, Kenya and Bangladesh won’t be allowed through Heathrow or Gatwick airports from 4am on April 9 to protect the UK from new variants of coronavirus.

The list now has 39 countries on it, covering large swathes of Africa and South America.