The secretary of state for transport, the Rt Hon Grant Schapps MP, has chaired the first meeting of the Global Travel Taskforce. Seeking to find a safe and sustainable way to restart international travel after a year that has seen aviation passenger numbers drop 97%.
Membership of the task force includes: Department for Transport, Department for Health and Social Care, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Public Health England, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, HM Treasury, Home Office, Department for International Trade and the Cabinet Office C-19 Taskforce.
The taskforce will also seek to consult the heads of the major players in the aviation industry, tourism heads, international partners and academics to find practical solutions.
A decision on the reopening of international travel will need to consider:
- the global and domestic epidemiological picture
- the prevalence and location of any variants of concern
- the progress of vaccine rollouts in the UK and abroad
- what more we’ve learnt about the efficacy of vaccines on variants, and their impact on transmission, hospitalisation and deaths
This taskforce will be led by the Department for Transport (DfT) and report to the Prime Minister.
Grant Schapps said ‘’The UK’s leading vaccine rollout has created a wave of optimism and, as a result, the Global Travel Taskforce is charged with exploring safe and secure ways to restart international travel when the time is right.
By planning carefully considered steps, we will protect the excellent progress made through our vaccine and advanced testing programme, whilst ensuring we are ready to kick-start our travel sector when current travel restrictions can be lifted.
We will not only consider the progress of our world-beating domestic vaccine programme but also need to review where destination countries’’