SUNSHINE breaks could be back on this summer — bolstered by moves to cut the cost of tests to help families get away.
Boris Johnson is “confident” trips abroad will be allowed from May 17, though he makes the final call next month.
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But Downing Street is pondering free Covid tests with Brits allowed to take abroad the NHS lateral flow kits for use before they come home.
Plans to be published today will also see officials reducing the price of testing from safe countries by two thirds.
It means arrivals will have to take only one gold standard PCR test two days after they return home.
But travellers must still wait until early May to find out which countries have been placed where in the traffic light system.
Countries will be branded green for safe, amber for some concerns and red for dangerous.
A single PCR test will still be required from green nations to catch out any potential vaccine busting variant.
Ministers also want to slash the expense of private tests, which can be £150, to keep holidays affordable.
But The Sun understands only a handful of destinations will be deemed safe.
And a new watchlist will flag countries that were considered safe to visit but where Covid rates are creeping up, so families can plan better.
Ministers want to avoid a repeat of last summer where Spain was bumped from a list of travel corridors with just 24 hours’ notice.
But travel industry blasted the need for a PCR test when returning from green nations.
Paul Charles, from travel consultants The PC Agency, said: “It is vital that the tests required from a green country should be lateral flow or families could face extra costs of nearly £500.”
Tim Alderslade, the chief executive of Airlines UK, said: "This does not represent a reopening of travel as promised by ministers, and the insistence on expensive and unnecessary PCR testing rather than rapid testing – even for low-risk countries – will pose an unsustainable burden on passengers, making travel unviable and unaffordable for many people.
"It is also a further setback for an industry on its knees and the UK's wider economic recovery, with many businesses and exporters reliant upon our domestic and international connectivity and a thriving aviation sector."
Sun cuts virus risk
SUNSHINE could halve the risk of dying from Covid, scientists say.
Fatality rates were far lower in sunnier parts of England, the US and Italy, experts from Edinburgh University found.
The sun causes skin to release nitric oxide, thought to slow the virus replicating.
Professor Chris Dibben said people on England’s South Coast could have half the risk of those living on the Scottish Border.
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