Brits can travel to Italy and Spain ‘next week’ as first air bridges to be announced

Brits will be able to travel to some popular European countries from next week as the first “air bridges” are set to be announced by the government.

A series of holiday spots including Italy, France and Spain are expected to be declared safe for travellers.

A quarantine review is planned for June 29 and the Foreign Office will then change its travel advice from “against all but essential international travel” to allow travel to nations considered safe.

Yesterday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the so-called air bridges will only be agreed with countries which have a low rate of coronavirus infections as well as a test and trace system similar to the UK one.

France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Greece, Belgium, Netherlands, Gibraltar, Bermuda and possibly Portugal will all be announced in the first batch of “safe nations”, The Sun reports.

Currently, most travellers arriving in the UK must quarantine for 14 days under strict measures introduced this month.



Transport Secretary Grant Shapps

Passengers must fill out a form giving an address where they will stay and can face fines if they are caught flouting the rules.

The new policy has caused chaos in the travel industry which is struggling to restart after the coronavirus lockdown.

Air bridges would enable travellers arriving from countries where the risk of being infected by coronavirus is deemed to be low to avoid going into quarantine after they have landed.



Italy has reopened its major tourist attractions and loosened travel restrictions



Two bathers arrive to the beach in Barcelona, Spain

Medium haul destinations, such as Dubai and Turkey, are expected to be included towards August.

Long haul flights, including Vietnam, Singapore and Hong Kong, are set to be added to the list from mid to late summer.

The US, Mexico and South American countries are not expected to be deemed safe until the end of the year because of their high rates of coronavirus infections, according to The Sun.

Paul Charles, spokesman for pressure group Quash Quarantine, said the timetable to open air bridges will be followed provided there are no further Covid-19 outbreaks.



Currently, most people arriving in the UK have to quarantine for two weeks

He told The Sun: “The first phase will be Europe, and the second phase from August will be more long haul, with the Caribbean, Dubai and Morocco included.”

He also said “there is no way” restrictions will be lifted to allow travel to the US and South America as they are not considered safe yet.

Portugal, Belgium, Germany, Croatia, Italy and Switzerland have reopened borders with no quarantine requirements for Britons.

It comes as Britain’s coronavirus alert level has been reduced from four to three.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has previously confirmed that the Government is looking to introduce air bridges with certain countries.

Top news stories from Mirror Online

On Radio 4’s Today Programme, he said: “That’s the plan.

“The quarantine policy is important because there are some countries around the world where this virus is not under control, however, there’s other countries where it may be safe to be able to not have a quarantine in place.

“So ahead of the formal review of the quarantine arrangements on the 29th of June, I’m working with Grant Shapps on whether there are countries that have a low rate of infection where we can come to an agreement on a travel corridor.”

source.



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