Coronavirus: US and UK 'in talks over quarantine-free air bridge between London and New York'

27 August 2020, 11:36 | Updated: 27 August 2020, 15:15

Quarantine-free travel between London and New York is being discussed by UK and US officials under plans for a transatlantic "air bridge", it has been reported.

Under current coronavirus restrictions, Britons cannot enter the US directly from the UK.

Meanwhile, those who fly into the UK from the US are subject to quarantine rules and have to self-isolate for two weeks.

However, according to newspaper reports, the UK and US governments are in talks over establishing a travel corridor between London and New York.

"There are discussions going on at a very senior level around opening up London and New York," a source told the Daily Telegraph.

"They are at a very early stage but it is vital to get business going with a major trading partner especially as we near Brexit."

The US has suffered the most coronavirus cases and deaths of any country in the world, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

However, despite having once been the epicentre of coronavirus cases in the US, the rate of infection in New York is now among the lowest in the country.

There were more than 14,000 flights between New York's JFK airport and London Heathrow last year, making it the busiest international long-haul route in the world.

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The Department for Transport has regularly made changes to the list of countries that are exempt from quarantine measures for passengers arriving from those destinations.

Last week, Portugal was put back on the UK's safe list, but passengers arriving from Croatia, Austria and Trinidad & Tobago were told they would now have to self-isolate for 14 days.

Asked about the reports of a possible quarantine-free travel corridor between London and New York, a Department for Transport spokesperson said: "Conversations between governments in other countries on a whole range of issues take place regularly.

"Public health remains the UK's top priority and we are committed to tackling this virus while enabling a sustainable and responsible return to international travel.

"We keep the data for all countries and territories under constant review, and will not add a country to our travel corridor list unless safe to do so."