Travellers arrive at Heathrow Airport in London, Britain, 05 February 2021. The UK government is set to implement stricter measures for travellers arriving at Heathrow from Monday 15 February 2021. | ANDY RAIN


Britain's strict travel measures could stay in place until the government can be sure that vaccines work against new variants of the coronavirus, or booster shots have been given later this year, health minister Matt Hancock said on Tuesday.

That would deal a further blow to stricken airlines and travel companies, which are counting on a travel recovery this summer to help them survive after months without revenues due to lockdown holiday bans.

Asked how long new border measures would be in place, Hancock said that more information was needed on the success of the vaccines.

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"And if that isn't forthcoming, we will need to vaccinate with a further booster jab in the autumn, on which we are working with the vaccine industry. These are the uncertainties within which we are operating," he said.