Health secretary Matt Hancock has played down the prospect of a resumption of international travel in time for the ummer holiday season.
Hancock told ITV’s This Morning on Tuesday (12 May) it was unlikely that "big, lavish, international holidays" would be possible this summer.
"Do we now all have to come to the conclusion that summer is essentially cancelled, holidays cancelled, and that it will be unlike any summer we’ve had since probably the Second World War?" presenter Phillip Schofield asked Hancock, to which he replied: "I think that’s likely to to be the case."
Hancock continued: "We haven’t made a final decision on that yet, but it is clear that we will seek to reopen some hospitality from early July if we keep successfully reducing the spread of this virus.
"But I think social distancing of some kind is going to continue, and I think the conclusion from that is it is unlikely big, lavish, international holidays are going to be possible this summer, I just think that’s a reality of life."
Hancock’s comments come less than a month after transport secretary Grant Shapps was roundly blasted for his comments on taking a summer holiday.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme about a possible resumption of activity after the UK lockdown, Shapps said: “I won’t be booking a summer holiday at this point, let’s put it that way.”
Abta branded his remark "thoughtless". “It would be better if the government focused on taking the necessary steps to support the sector rather than undermining confidence in it," said the association.
Responding to Hancock’s comment on Tuesday, a Jet2.com and Jet2holidays spokesperson said: "We note the comments made by the secretary of state for health. These are his personal opinions and are not government policy.
"We are continuing with our plans to recommence flights and holidays on 17 June, a decision we are keeping under constant review in line with guidance from governments and the relevant authorities."