Boris Johnson has recommended that Brits take a “staycation” this summer but indicated rules on overseas travel will be reviewed within days.
Speaking at the last daily press conference on Tuesday, the Prime Minister said the current advice remains that people should avoid non-essential travel.
However, he said that the Government would be reviewing the situation on June 29 after he announced an easing of lockdown measures on Tuesday.
Currently, Brits travelling abroad would have to quarantine for 14 days as they returned to the UK.
The policy, which came into force on June 8, states quarantine is necessary “to keep overall levels of infection down.
On Tuesday, Mr Johnson announced that restrictions on hotels in England would be eased from July 4 , opening up the option of staycations, as he said pubs and restaurants will also reopen.
Countries such as France have been in talks with the UK Government on setting up “air-bridges” to allow tourists to travel between them while maintaining restrictions on visitors from other destinations.
The Prime Minister said in Downing Street on Tuesday: “The current advice is still that people should avoid non-essential travel.
“We will be reviewing the situation on the 29th, we will be looking at the quarantine rules and what we can do to create air bridges.”
But he added: “This is a fantastic country to go on holiday in and I would not hesitate to recommend staycations as well.”
Prof Whitty struck a less enthusiastic note than the Prime Minister, predicting that the country could have to cope with Covid-19 into 2021.
He said: “I would be surprised and delighted if we weren’t in this current situation through the winter and into next spring. I think then let’s regroup and work out where we are.
“I expect there to be a significant amount of coronavirus circulating at least into that time and I think it is going to be quite optimistic that for science to come fully to the rescue over that kind of timeframe.”
That said, Prof Whitty added that he had “absolute confidence” in the ability of science to find a cure to Covid-19.
“But I have an absolute confidence in the capacity of science to overcome infectious diseases – it has done that repeatedly and it will do that for this virus, whether that is by drugs, vaccines or indeed other things that may come into play,” he said.
“For medium to long term, I’m optimistic. But for the short to medium term, until this time next year, certainly I think we should be planning for this for what I consider to be the long haul into 2021.”