Coronavirus: Matt Hancock says summer holidays abroad are 'likely to be cancelled'

Yahoo News UK

Britons are unlikely to be able to go abroad for their summer holidays as the world continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic, Matt Hancock has said.

The health secretary was asked by Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on ITV’s This Morning whether “summer was cancelled”.

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Hancock said: “I think that’s likely to be the case.

“We haven’t made a final decision on that yet but it is clear that we will seek to reopen hospitality, some hospitality, from early July if we keep successfully reducing the spread of this virus.

“But social distancing of some kind is going to continue.

“The conclusion from that is it is unlikely that big, lavish international holidays are going to possible for this summer.

“I just think that’s a reality of life.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised against all but essential international travel since 17 March, while domestic holidays are not allowed due to the government's lockdown orders issued six days later.

He appeared on the programme the day after the government released details of its plans to ease the country out of lockdown.

Matt Hancock told Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby that Brits are unlikely to be allowed to go abroad for their summer holiday this year. (ITV/This Morning/Twitter)
Matt Hancock told Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby that Brits are unlikely to be allowed to go abroad for their summer holiday this year. (ITV/This Morning/Twitter)

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Boris Johnson plans to allow some hospitality businesses to open from early July if infection rates of COVID-19 are low enough.

Schools may begin to open as early as June if ministers are confident the spread of the virus has eased sufficiently, although some primary pupils could be sent to different schools.

Addressing schools, Hancock told This Morning that children would not have to be "sprayed with disinfectant" before being allowed to return.

"I did see that one proposal from a union, that is absolutely not going to happen," he said.

He said he understood parents' fears about sending children back to school, but added: "We wouldn't be proposing this if we didn't think that it was safe."

The government has also said that people who cannot work from home should start returning to their workplaces from Wednesday.

On Tuesday, it said commuters should “face away” from each other if they cannot keep two metres apart on buses and trains.

The Spanish island of Mallorca would normally be heaving with British tourists. (Getty Images)
The Spanish island of Mallorca would normally be heaving with British tourists. (Getty Images)

Challenged about the safety of people being crammed "like sardines" on London Underground trains on the way to work on Tuesday, Hancock said: "Less than one in six people commute on public transport, of course that figure is much bigger in London.

"People should avoid public transport unless they absolutely have to use it because it is safer when there is fewer people on it."

He suggested that more people should get on a bike to go to work.

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On Tuesday, Ryanair announced it will operate nearly 1,000 flights per day from 1 July, subject to European countries lifting flight restrictions and "effective public health measures" being put in place at airports.

The plan involves 90% of the airline's route network being restored, but on reduced frequencies.

Since the middle of March it has operated a skeleton daily schedule of 30 flights per day between the UK, Ireland and the rest of Europe.

Passengers and crew will be required to wear face masks or face coverings, and pass temperature checks.

Queuing for toilets will be banned, but "toilet access will be made available to individual passengers upon request", according to the airline.

Ryanair said all surfaces in its cabins will be disinfected every night with chemicals which are effective for more than 24 hours.

Ryanair chief executive Eddie Wilson said: "It is important for our customers and our people that we return to some normal schedules from 1 July onwards.

“It is time to get Europe flying again so we can reunite friends and families, allow people to return to work and restart Europe's tourism industry, which provides so many millions of jobs."

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