Brits to be allowed to take holidays as air bridges plan forms
Air bridges will be available from next week to allow Britons to take holidays in other countries without quarantining for 14 days, it has been reported.
The government will finalise agreements in coming days to allow people to travel from the UK to a number of countries including Spain, France and Greece.
What are air bridges?
Also known as travel corridors, air bridges will allow Britons to go on holiday to certain destinations without needing to quarantine for 14 days on their return to the UK.
Which countries are likely to be included?
The government is expected to announce next week Britain's first air bridges with "low-risk" European destinations, including France, Italy, Spain, Greece and Germany.
According to reports, air bridges will be announced in batches, with the second set of destinations likely to include other European countries such as Denmark, Norway, Finland and Holland and "low-risk" Caribbean islands.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said air bridges would only be agreed with countries which have a coronavirus test and trace system of the same standard as that used in Britain.
There were mixed reports over whether Portugal would be included in the UK's plans next week after a spike in coronavirus cases in the country.
Long-haul flights to destinations such as Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong are reportedly not expected before late summer.
Flights to Australia are thought to be more complicated due to the need to stop over in other countries, which increases the risk of contracting or spreading coronavirus.
When will air bridges be introduced?
The first air bridges to low-risk countries could be in force from July 4, but Mr Shapps said no announcement will be made until June 29 when the quarantine measures will be officially reviewed.
Asked what "key considerations" formed the negotiations, Mr Shapps told the Commons Transport Select Committee that 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.
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."
Since 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.
People who fail to comply can be fined £1,000 in England, and police are allowed to use "reasonable force" to make sure they follow the rules.