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'It's a time of caution': SAGE professor reluctant to go on holiday abroad before 2023
23 February 2021, 10:11
A top SAGE professor has told LBC he is unlikely to take a holiday abroad this year or next amid uncertainty about coronavirus variants in other countries.
Professor Graham Medley said he thinks "discussions are increasingly going to become about looking overseas to see what's happening" in the coming months as countries begin to lift lockdown restrictions but said it was too soon to assume holidays abroad would be realistic.
Asked if he would be booking a summer break, he said: "I'm not. I didn't last year and I won't next year either. I think it's a time of caution and we have to see.
"Whilst we're doing very well with the vaccine in this country, other countries are not doing so well."
Professor Medley warned that Covid-19 would make things "uncertain for a long time" but that the UK's "remarkable" vaccine rollout has made the country more optimistic.
"We always hoped for the best," he said, "but I think the uptake has been remarkable - especially in those groups in which people have the greatest risk of disease."
"Let's hope that continues down into the other age groups which have less risk of disease."
It follows a surge in demand for holiday bookings after Boris Johnson confirmed foreign holidays could take off from May 17 if infection rates continue to fall in the coming weeks.
The Prime Minister said on Monday that a Government taskforce will produce a report by April 12 recommending how international trips can resume for people in England.
EasyJet said bookings by UK customers for the summer season were more than four times higher compared with the same period during the previous week.
The Luton-based firm's holiday division saw an even larger rise, with demand up seven-fold.
The most popular destinations for this summer are beach resorts including Malaga, Alicante and Palma in Spain, Faro in Portugal and the Greek island of Crete.
August is the most booked month, followed by July and September.
EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said: "We have consistently seen that there is pent-up demand for travel and this surge in bookings shows that this signal from the Government that it plans to reopen travel has been what UK consumers have been waiting for.
"The Prime Minister's address has provided a much-needed boost in confidence for so many of our customers in the UK with demand for flights up 337% and holidays up 630% already compared to last week and beach destinations proving most popular for this summer."