British tourists could be allowed to travel to low-infection countries without 14-day quarantine under ‘air bridges’ plan

British holidaymakers may be able to travel abroad this summer under Government plans to create “air bridges” with other countries.

The proposal between the UK and nations where the outbreak is under control was backed by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Monday.

This week the Government was reportedly expected to announce a 14-day quarantine period for international arrivals in the UK.

It was feared this would end hopes of travel abroad this summer, but the possibly was given hope as Mr Shapps approved of the “air bridges” idea floated by senior Tory MP Huw Merriman.

He asked the transport secretary if he would considered allowing those entering the UK from countries where the infection rate is below the rate of one to not be subject to quarantine.

“This will boost confidence in aviation travel and target safety where it’s most needed,” Mr Marriman said.

Mr Shapps replied: “Final details of the quarantine scheme will be released soon, come in early next month.

“It is the case we should consider further improvements – for example, things like air bridges enabling people from other countries who have themselves achieved lower levels of coronavirus infection to come to the country.

“So, those are active discussions but will go beyond what will initially be a blanket situation.”

Mr Shapps insisted quarantine measures from early June will be a “blanket situation” for other countries initially but could be then eased for those with low Covid-19 infection rates.

It comes after holidaymakers’ hopes of a trip abroad were dampened in recent days as the number of coronavirus-related deaths in the UK climbed to more than 34,000.

Asked last week if summer was cancelled, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “I think that’s likely to be the case.

“It is unlikely that big, lavish international holidays are going to be possible for this summer. I just think that’s a reality of life.”

Air bridges would see agreements sought with countries with low R numbers to let passengers travel between them without going into quarantine.

R numbers refer to the average amount of people someone with the virus infects.


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