The government is expected to announce the first set of destinations that British holidaymakers will be able to fly to from next week without having to take part in a quarantine when they come home.
The first ‘air bridges’ are expected to be in several popular holiday destinations that are considered ‘low risk’, including France, Spain, Italy, Greece and Germany.
The ‘bridges’ mean that anyone who travels to those countries will not have to complete a 14-day quarantine when they return to the UK.
The announcement is set to be made ‘in the coming days’. It’s thought they will be set up after the quarantine review on 29 June, and the Foreign Office will alter its travel advice to allow travel to these select countries.
It’s thought Brits will be able to fly out using these air bridges from 4 July.
According to a report in the Telegraph a larger second set of countries will be revealed later next week, including ‘Denmark, Norway, Finland and Holland along with ‘low-risk’ Caribbean islands’.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told the Commons Transport Select Committee that air bridges would only be agreed with countries that have a coronavirus test and trace system that is of the same standard as the UK, as well having a low rate of the virus.
Referencing the questions UK officials will be asking, he said: “Do they have something equivalent to our NHS Test and Trace system? The Test and Trace system is enormous here now. We’ve got the capacity to test far more than is immediately required but that would allow for any uplift anywhere.
“Does the country we’re talking to have that kind of capability?”
Shapps went on to say that introducing the air bridges was a ‘massive priority’ to help out the struggling aviation industry.
He said: “I understand entirely the pain that aviation is going through. I know both for airports, for airlines and actually for ground handlers as well, this coronavirus has been a complete disaster.”
Currently, anyone who travels abroad must go into self isolation for two weeks when they arrive back in the UK.
In England, anyone failing to do so can be hit with a £1,000 fine and police are permitted to use ‘reasonable force’ to ensure people follow the rules.