Quarantine free air bridges will be announced by July, Grant Shapps hints

16 June 2020, 12:39

Air bridges could make summer holidays easier for Brits
Air bridges could make summer holidays easier for Brits. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Holidaymakers could be able to travel overseas without having to quarantine thanks to air bridges which Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has indicated could be announced by the end of the month.

Speaking to LBC the Minister said the Government is working to introduce reciprocal arrangements for travel corridors following concerns from the travel and tourism industry that a two-week coronavirus quarantine could damage the industry.

Mr Shapps told Nick Ferrari they Government "won't be in a position to announce which countries - where reciprocal arrangements go in place - until the 29th.

"So don't expect anything this week, I think I'm right in saying it's only the end of next week."

June 29 is the date of the first review of the Government's controversial quarantine policy for travellers entering the UK, which came into force last week.

As we reported previously, the plans were widely criticised by the travel and tourism industry with one airline industry boss suggesting a quarantine would "kill" the UK travel industry.

Current rules mean all international arrivals - apart from people carrying out a limited number of specified roles - have to quarantine for 14 days from Monday.

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Air bridges linking Britain and some countries with low coronavirus infection rates could be in place would mean those entering the UK would not have to self-isolate for two weeks.

All passengers - bar a handful of exemptions - have to fill out an online locator form giving their contact and travel details, as well as the address of where they will isolate.

Mr Shapps said the measure was introduced because "we don't want to go back to kind of importing (the virus) or Brits going abroad and bringing it back with them".

A group of more than 500 travel and hospitality businesses campaigning against the policy said last week they had "received private assurances from senior Government sources that travel corridors will be in place from June 29".

Spain has warned that it may impose its own 14-day quarantine requirement for UK tourists.

A number of other countries on the continent eased their border restrictions on Monday.

But many have maintained entry restrictions for UK holidaymakers, including:

- France: A 14-day quarantine is in place for UK visitors.

- Greece: Mandatory testing and quarantine for travellers from specific countries such as the UK, the US and Belgium.

- The Netherlands: Tourists from the UK, the EU and Schengen area can visit, but arrivals from the UK and Sweden must go into quarantine.

Destinations without special rules for UK holidaymakers include Ireland, Portugal, Italy and Switzerland.

However, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised against non-essential overseas travel since March 17 and given no indication of when this will be changed.