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The chance of having a summer break abroad in 2020 seems remote – with the Foreign Office still warning against non-essential travel, and quarantine rules making many trips impractical.

However, the holiday industry in parts of the UK looks set to start operating again during July.

Can I go on holiday in the UK?

Self-catering holiday accommodation will reopen in Northern Ireland from 26 June, and hotels will follow a week later on 3 July.

A decision will be taken in Wales on 9 July on whether to open up the country to tourists again. If this is given the go-ahead, it’s likely to take effect from 13 July.

The Welsh government has said that people can now start booking holidays in self-contained accommodation for that date onwards. This includes self-catering cottages and apartments, caravans with their own bathroom facilities, and hotels which can provide room-service meals.

The Scottish government has said that hotels and tourist accommodation may be able to reopen from 15 July at the earliest, if its next review of lockdown restrictions on 9 July decides that conditions are favourable.

Government advice in England still says that businesses providing holiday accommodation – including hotels, campsites, caravan parks and short-term lets – should stay closed for leisure-related trips. No person should stay overnight away from their own home for a holiday or similar purpose, it adds.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden says he’s keen get the tourism sector going as “rapidly as possible” with the government sticking to what it describes as an “ambitious target” to get England’s tourism sector back by 4 July – “as long as it is safe to do so”.

Can I go on a foreign holiday?

At the moment, it’s difficult.

British nationals are still being urged not to take any non-essential foreign travel.

This means you are unlikely to get travel insurance, because insurers take their cue from the official advice.

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But the airlines are hopeful for the summer season. EasyJet has started limited flights in June, and hopes to resume flights on 75% of its route network by the end of August, while Ryanair and British Airways plan to ramp up their services in July.

But what if I do go?

On 15 June the European Union lifted travel restrictions, leaving it to individual countries to decide if they’re ready for tourists.

Some, including France, Germany, Italy and Portugal are now welcoming travellers from the UK.

Others, such as Ireland, require visitors to quarantine for 14 days upon entry.

Greece is open, but tourists will have to be tested for coronavirus upon arrival. Anybody testing positive will have to quarantine for 14 days.

British holidaymakers are currently unable to enter Australia, India and the US.

They will also have to spend two weeks quarantined in a hotel upon arrival if they wish to visit New Zealand.

Most travellers will also have to quarantine for 14 days upon their return to the UK.

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Image caption

EasyJet hopes to be operating 75% of its routes by the end of August

The government hopes to set up a system of “air bridges” with other countries.

These would exempt travellers from quarantine, if they move between countries with low virus levels.

What about going away in the autumn?

Again, it’s impossible to say at this stage.

Travel advice will need to have been updated, but it depends on the disease’s progress.

What about holidays already booked for this year?

If your package holiday or flights have already been cancelled, then you are are entitled to a full cash refund.

However, lots of people have been struggling to get their money back, and have been offered vouchers or rebooked trips instead.

If you are offered a voucher, or a free rebooking instead of cash, you can accept or refuse it. But if the airline later folds, the voucher may no longer be valid.

If your airline or holiday company hasn’t cancelled your holiday yet, but you no longer wish to travel, you may not be entitled to a refund.

However, some providers are allowing people to rebook trips for a later date at no cost.

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CoronaVirus translator

What do all these terms mean?

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  • Antibodies test

    A medical test that can show if a person has had the coronavirus and now has some immunity. The test detects antibodies in the blood, which are produced by the body to fight off the disease.

  • Asymptomatic

    Someone who has a disease but does not have any of the symptoms it causes. Some studies suggest some people with coronavirus carry the disease but don’t show the common symptoms, such as a persistent cough or high temperature.

  • Containment phase

    The first part of the UK’s strategy to deal with the coronavirus, which involved trying to identify infected people early and trace anyone who had been in close contact with them.

  • Coronavirus

    One of a group of viruses that can cause severe or mild illness in humans and animals. The coronavirus currently sweeping the world causes the disease Covid-19. The common cold and influenza (flu) are other types of coronaviruses.

  • Covid-19

    The disease caused by the coronavirus first detected in Wuhan, China, in late 2019. It primarily affects the lungs.

  • Delay phase

    The second part of the UK’s strategy to deal with the coronavirus, in which measures such as social distancing are used to delay its spread.

  • Fixed penalty notice

    A fine designed to deal with an offence on the spot, instead of in court. These are often for driving offences, but now also cover anti-social behaviour and breaches of the coronavirus lockdown.

  • Flatten the curve

    Health experts use a line on a chart to show numbers of new coronavirus cases. If a lot of people get the virus in a short period of time, the line might rise sharply and look a bit like a mountain. However, taking measures to reduce infections can spread cases out over a longer period and means the “curve” is flatter. This makes it easier for health systems to cope.

  • Flu

    Short for influenza, a virus that routinely causes disease in humans and animals, in seasonal epidemics.

  • Furlough

    Supports firms hit by coronavirus by temporarily helping pay the wages of some staff. It allows employees to remain on the payroll, even though they aren’t working.

  • Herd immunity

    How the spread of a disease slows after a sufficiently large proportion of a population has been exposed to it.

  • Immune

    A person whose body can withstand or fend off a disease is said to be immune to it. Once a person has recovered from the disease caused by the coronavirus, Covid-19, for example, it is thought they cannot catch it again for a certain period of time.

  • Incubation period

    The period of time between catching a disease and starting to display symptoms.

  • Intensive care

    Hospital wards which treat patients who are very ill. They are run by specially-trained healthcare staff and contain specialist equipment.

  • Lockdown

    Restrictions on movement or daily life, where public buildings are closed and people told to stay at home. Lockdowns have been imposed in several countries as part of drastic efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Mitigation phase

    The third part of the UK’s strategy to deal with the coronavirus, which will involve attempts to lessen the impact of a high number of cases on public services. This could mean the NHS halting all non-critical care and police responding to major crimes and emergencies only.

  • NHS 111

    The NHS’s 24-hour phone and online service, which offers medical advice to anyone who needs it. People in England and Wales are advised to ring the service if they are worried about their symptoms. In Scotland, they should check NHS inform, then ring their GP in office hours or 111 out of hours. In Northern Ireland, they should call their GP.

  • Outbreak

    Multiple cases of a disease occurring rapidly, in a cluster or different locations.

  • Pandemic

    An epidemic of serious disease spreading rapidly in many countries simultaneously.

  • Phase 2

    This is when the UK will start to lift some of its lockdown rules while still trying to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

  • PPE

    PPE, or personal protective equipment, is clothing and kit such as masks, aprons, gloves and goggles used by medical staff, care workers and others to protect themselves against infection from coronavirus patients and other people who might be carrying the disease.

  • Quarantine

    The isolation of people exposed to a contagious disease to prevent its spread.

  • R0

    R0, pronounced “R-naught”, is the average number of people who will catch the disease from a single infected person. If the R0 of coronavirus in a particular population is 2, then on average each case will create two more new cases. The value therefore gives an indication of how much the infection could spread.

  • Recession

    This happens when there is a significant drop in income, jobs and sales in a country for two consecutive three-month periods.

  • Sars

    Severe acute respiratory syndrome, a type of coronavirus that emerged in Asia in 2003.

  • Self-isolation

    Staying inside and avoiding all contact with other people, with the aim of preventing the spread of a disease.

  • Social distancing

    Keeping away from other people, with the aim of slowing down transmission of a disease. The government advises not seeing friends or relatives other than those you live with, working from home where possible and avoiding public transport.

  • State of emergency

    Measures taken by a government to restrict daily life while it deals with a crisis. This can involve closing schools and workplaces, restricting the movement of people and even deploying the armed forces to support the regular emergency services.

  • Statutory instrument

    These can be used by government ministers to implement new laws or regulations, or change existing laws. They are an easier alternative to passing a full Act of Parliament.

  • Symptoms

    Any sign of disease, triggered by the body’s immune system as it attempts to fight off the infection. The main symptoms of the coronavirus are a fever, dry cough and shortness of breath.

  • Vaccine

    A treatment that causes the body to produce antibodies, which fight off a disease, and gives immunity against further infection.

  • Ventilator

    A machine that takes over breathing for the body when disease has caused the lungs to fail.

  • Virus

    A tiny agent that copies itself inside the living cells of any organism. Viruses can cause these cells to die and interrupt the body’s normal chemical processes, causing disease.

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