Holidays to some countries could be allowed as 'air bridge' plans move forward - reports
Air bridges will reportedly be available from next week to allow Britons to take holidays in other countries without the need to quarantine for two weeks.
The Government is expected to confirm agreements in due course, which would mean people could travel from the UK to a small number of countries including Spain, France and Greece, according to reports in the national media on Thursday, June 25.
The news – reported by The Times, The Sun and The Daily Telegraph – follows indications from Transport Secretary Grant Shapps that air bridges would only be agreed with countries with a coronavirus test and trace system in place, and one which matches the standard of that here.
Mr Shapps told the Commons Transport Select Committee there would be an announcement about air bridges on Monday this week (June 22). The Telegraph reported the unveiling would take place at the weekend.
Asked what “key considerations” formed the negotiations, Mr Shapps said the ability of a country to alert people if they have been in contact with a person who has coronavirus is one of the factors.
Outlining the questions being asked by UK officials, 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?”
He said another issue being considered is the level and trajectory of the disease in a destination.
Mr Shapps added that introducing air bridges is a “massive priority”, saying: “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.”
There were mixed reports on Thursday over whether Portugal would be included in the UK’s plans after a spike in coronavirus cases in the country.
Since Monday, June 8, all passengers – bar a handful of exemptions – have been required to go into self-isolation for 14 days when they arrive in the UK.