Doctors plead with holidaymakers to heed social distancing as restrictions ease

The British Medical Association has set out guidelines for people in England, who can go on domestic holidays from July 4.

Woman walks during lockdown
Woman walks during lockdown

Doctors have pleaded with holidaymakers to practise social distancing ahead of the tourism industry reopening next weekend.

The British Medical Association (BMA) has set out guidelines for people in England, who will be allowed to visit hotels, bed and breakfast facilities and campsites from July 4.

It comes as thousands have flocked to beaches and beauty spots on Thursday – the hottest day of the year so far – prompting a major incident to be declared in Bournemouth.

The BMA has advised people not to travel if they are ill or have any Covid-19 symptoms, including a cough, temperature or loss of smell or taste.

The doctors’ union has also said holidaymakers should be prepared to self-isolate for 14 days if anyone in their “bubble” develops symptoms or is told to do so by the NHS Test and Trace service.

Those who take prescribed medicines should make sure they have enough to last their trip and everyone should practise social distancing and hand washing on holiday.

The BMA has also encouraged people to wear a face covering when mixing with people from outside their “bubble” indoors.

Chair of the BMA public health medicine committee Dr Peter English called on tourism providers and local authorities to consider how they can help mitigate the risk of the virus spreading and urged holidaymakers to act with “extreme caution”.

He said: “Lockdown is being eased and many aspects of life are returning to some form of normality, however, it is vitally important to recognise that this deadly virus has not gone away.”

Dr Lucy-Jane Davis, chair of the BMA south west regional council, stressed that tourism hotspots in the region have limited NHS resources compared with the number of visitors anticipated.

She said it is “vital” that politicians, tourism operators and NHS leaders consider all the risks before July 4, and that an effective contact-tracing system is in place before then.

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