Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme that he won’t be booking a summer holiday at this point, “let’s put it that way.”

He said:

“In the shorter term, on your travel advice, should you book your holidays, clearly people will want to see what the trajectory of this disease is in the next few weeks. We’ve just started to see a flattening of that daily, tragic curve that shows the deaths each day … We are not seeing declines yet. I won’t be booking a summer holiday at this point, let’s put it that way.”

Asked about easyJet’s proposed policy of leaving the middle seat empty when flights resume, Mr Shapps added:

“I think it’s the case that given the catastrophic impact on particularly aviation of this virus with virtually all aviation having stopped that actually it’s unlikely that passenger numbers, load factors, will be so high in the first place that this will be much of a problem I imagine.”

He added: “When we get more detail, when the scientists have looked at it and we come out of the lockdown in the future, they’ll be in a better position, we’ll all be in a better position to say whether that is an adequate sense of distance or not.”

However the travel industry has described it as a thoughtless comment. An ABTA spokesman said not based on any facts about what we know today about the future of the pandemic,

“but it shows complete disregard for the UK travel industry, the hundreds of thousands of people it employs and the struggle it is facing in this current crisis. It would be better if the government focused on taking the necessary steps to support the sector rather than undermining confidence in it”



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