BBC’s Simon Reeve says ‘infuriating’ rule-breaking influencers abusing travel in pandemic are a public health problem

BBC adventurer Simon Reeve has urged the authorities to crack down on rule-breaking influencers travelling for pleasure in lockdown.

The presenter, 48, has hunkered down in his Dartmoor cottage during the pandemic and is itching to go on a trip.

However, he is committed to following the rules, and in an exclusive interview with The Sun spoke of his frustration and upset at people who have used the pretence of work to get out of the country and relax on the beach in Dubai.

He said: "There will always be people in a crisis who take the p**s. I think it’s important for the government and authorities to enforce the rules that they’re claiming they’ve created.

"What has upset a lot of people, including myself, is when we try and obey the rules and other people aren’t, and other people are getting away with it. That’s absolutely infuriating. It creates a lot of disharmony and a sense we’re not all in this together. Instagram influencers posting pics of their baps or their pecs from sunny Dubai is infuriating a lot of people.

"I understand if they’re there making a living from doing that somehow, then good luck to them. If they’re breaking the rules and millions of people are seeing that and being infuriated by that, that becomes a public health problem. "

Prime minister Boris Johnson closed all UK travel corridors last week in a desperate bid to reduce infection rates.

Anyone entering the country now has to isolate for 10 days, or show a negative Covid test result after five days, before being allowed out.

Earlier this month Covid rates in the UAE doubled after it became a hub for influencers who shared daily pics and videos having fun in the sun.

Simon continued: "It encourages other people to think 'if they’re not following the rules then I’m not going to. Why the hell aren’t I allowed to see my mates and have a few drinks? Because I’m bored and lonely and cold here, and I want to do something as well.'

"It’s up to the authorities to clamp down if people are taking the p**s or breaking the rules."

The broadcaster, whose Incredible Journeys With Simon Reeve show returns on BBC Two tonight, has found being home for a long time particularly tough.

"It feels like it’s been a wasted year of life," he said. "It’s so painful and so difficult. For me personally, having the possibility of travel taken away from me, it’s been really hard. It’s what it means to be human.

"I question what it means to be human is taking pictures of yourself in budgie smugglers and a skimpy bikini on a sterile beach in Dubai, but if people don’t like it, stop bloody following them."

But before he returns to far flung places and mingles with their populations again, Simon wants to be sure he poses them no coronavirus threat.

"A big part of my life and what I love doing is going on an adventure to remote places. I can’t risk taking this virus from our Covid hotspot of Britain to some remote place in South America where they’ve had no cases of coronavirus.

"You don’t want to wipe out a local tribe just because Simon wants a bloody adventure. So that’s a huge issue. At the same time there are tens of millions of families around the world who entirely depend on feeding themselves because of money they get from working in travel and tourism. It's super tricky. "

Incredible Journeys With Simon Reeve returns Sundays at 8pm from 24 January, on BBC Two.

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