Brits are being urged to holiday at home this summer amid concerns about rising Covid rates and variants overseas.

Environment secretary George Eustice has said people should only travel abroad if it is “absolutely necessary” after revealing his own plans to go on holiday in the UK this summer.

Thousands of holidaymakers have been returning to the UK from Portugal in recent days after the country was moved from the green list to amber – meaning people returning from the country would need to isolate for 10 days.

Speaking to Sky News this morning, Mr Eustice said it was down to people to assess the risks of going abroad this summer, but insisted the advice was to go on a staycation instead.

He said: “Our advice has been don’t travel unless it’s absolutely necessary.

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“Obviously, with these three categories that we had, we had hoped that situation would be improving in other parts of the world, that we’d be able to progressively add other countries to the green list.

“Sadly, that’s not the situation, we do have this new variant of concern first identified in India that is now cropping up in other countries, and we’ve just got to take a very cautious approach.”

He added: “I will be staying at home, I have no intention of travelling or going on a holiday abroad this summer.”

Mr Eustice did provide a positive update on the fight against the Indian variant of the coronavirus, adding initial data suggests two doses of the vaccine provides protection against it.

He said: “What we’re not seeing at the moment is that growth in hospitalisations associated with (infections) and that’s because we know that if people have the vaccine, particularly once they’ve had the second jab of the vaccine, it actually does give them immunity to this new strain that’s around.”