The Prime Minister said there will be “some opening up” on May 17, but that things must be done in a way “to make sure that we don’t see the virus coming back in” to the UK.
Mr Johnson’s cautious tone came as some MPs called for restrictions on foreign holidays to be maintained to protect the country from Covid-19 variants, and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer urged a “careful” approach.
Mr Johnson told reporters during a campaign visit to Hartlepool: “We do want to do some opening up on May 17 but I don’t think that the people of this country want to see an influx of disease from anywhere else.
“I certainly don’t and we have got to be very, very tough, and we have got to be as cautious as we can, whilst we continue to open up.”
Asked if people should be planning foreign holidays, he told reporters: “We will be saying more as soon as we can.
“I think that there will be some openings up on the 17th, but we have got to be cautious and we have got to be sensible and we have got to make sure that we don’t see the virus coming back in.”
Sir Keir criticised the “chopping and changing” of the travel corridors list introduced last year and said such a situation should be avoided this holiday season.
Speaking during a campaign visit to Lewisham on Monday, the opposition leader said he will “wait and see” what the Government announces.
He told reporters: “We need to be very careful. I think it’s clear that the virus is increasing in some countries around the world, so we have to be very, very careful,” he told reporters.
“What we can’t have is a repeat of last summer, where the lists were chopping and changing on a daily or even weekly basis.”
It comes as the European Commission proposed to ease restrictions on travel to countries in the bloc amid progressing vaccination campaigns and lower infection rates.
The commission said it is proposing “to allow entry to the EU for nonessential reasons not only for all persons coming from countries with a good epidemiological situation, but also all people who have received the last recommended dose of an EU-authorised vaccine”.
It was not said which countries would be on its list, but one unnamed EU official said the UK remains a “question mark”.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus has claimed the importation of new variants could “lead to further lockdowns, and inevitably, further loss of life”.
The cross-party group described airport arrival halls as “a breeding ground for infection”.
It recommended that passengers returning from green, amber and red countries under the new risk-based traffic light system do not mix.
A Government spokesperson said there are “robust border controls” in place to stop variants and that travel can only be permitted “if it is done safely, which is why the Global Travel Taskforce has produced the traffic light system allowing us to manage the risk from imported cases by varying restrictions depending on the risk of travel from a specific location”.