The news will come as a devastating blow to the global tourism industry that has been left reeling from the pandemic, as well as for British holidaymakers hoping for some summer sunshine abroad. The bad news was delivered by Professor of Global Public Health Devi Sridhar on BBC Newsnight on Friday. Professor Sridhar told the BBC’s policy editor Lewis Goodhall: “2021 is the year of the variant in vaccines.
“Vaccine manufacturers have said that within weeks they can change their vaccines.
“So then it becomes a race how quickly can we redesign the vaccines, roll them out and get them into people’s arms faster than let’s say a new variant could spread.”
She added: “And so I don’t see any way around in the coming year or two of having travel restrictions in place.
“Because that is one of the few ways of protecting against new variants coming in once we deal with the domestic issue of getting the numbers low.”
When Mr Goodhall asked whether it really would be a couple of years before travel restrictions could be lifted, the Global Health professor replied: “There’s no easy way out of this crisis if I am completely honest.
“I mean this is a global problem.
“Even if we suppress it here effectively and vaccinate everyone it could be circulating somewhere else in the world.
“All it takes is for someone to get on a plane ride and come here and if we have everything open and for it to spread.”