Many British people are unlikely to be able to take foreign holidays this summer because of the virus, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said.
In another blow to airlines and ferry firms, he told ITV’s This Morning it’s “likely to be the case” there won’t be a normal summer holiday season.
The government is opening up parts of the economy, and Ryanair is planning to start services in July.
But Mr Hancock said the traditional big-break holiday season is unlikely.
Social distancing will have to be maintained for some time, he said. “The conclusion from that is it is unlikely that big, lavish international holidays are going to possible for this summer.”
Airlines, and the travel industry generally, have been among the biggest financial losers of the international lockdown.
Aircraft fleets have been grounded and thousands of job cuts announced. British Airways is to shed 12,000 jobs. The picture is much the same overseas.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the government planned to introduce a 14-day quarantine for international travellers to prevent a second spike in the virus, infuriating airlines which planned to resume flying in the coming months.
Mr Hancock’s comments echo those from Transport Secretary Grant Shapps last month who warned people not to book summer holidays – domestic and overseas – until social distancing rules are relaxed. “I won’t be booking a summer holiday at this point,” he told the BBC on 17 April.