Scientists have told the Home Affairs Select Committee that Brits should not be allowed to take foreign holidays this year, because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The committee met on Wednesday to discuss a number of issues – including international tourism.
Epidemiologist Sir David Skegg, a former consultant to the World Health Organisation and to New Zealand’s government, told the MPs: “A lot of people wish 2020 hadn’t happened but the fact is that this virus is still with us and this year is going to be different from other years.
“I can’t see mass tourism being a good option at the moment.”
He added: “I’m certainly not in a hurry to book a holiday.”
Sir David said flying was “potentially a great way of transmitting not just this virus but other infections as well – people are in close proximity, with air being recirculated, using the same toilets and so on”.
Professor Teo Yik-Ying, Dean of the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at the Singapore National University said taking holidays abroafd this year: “does not sound like a good idea.”
Prof Gabriel Leung, Dean at Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine at Hong Kong University, warned: “If you don’t actually encourage or facilitate this mass market tourism then it would be safest – I think that’s making a statement of the obvious.
“It’s also very difficult to actually imagine that most of these tourists would be lying on private beaches.
“What you can imagine is crowded beaches – but I can’t imagine anyone going on a holiday in any kind of destination where you go and enjoy the sun but do very good hand hygiene and put on a mask.
“I can’t imagine people sitting around a pool and putting on a mask.”
Saying he “wouldn’t recommend” a foreign break, he went on: “What if you get sick while you’re on holiday?
“What about insurance coverage? Who is going to pay for the hospitalisation?
“What happens to the rest of your family or your friends who have been travelling with you?
“It is not at all clear – the responsibility, the coverage and the availability of care.”