The UK travel sector is waiting anxiously for a government announcement on revised quarantine rules amid suggestions that anticipated plans for air bridges have been scrapped.
Speculation has been rife across the UK press today, with indications from The Times and The Telegraph that government ministers have axed a list of ‘low-risk’ travel corridors to kickstart travel, intending instead to exempt up to 75 countries on Monday from existing quarantine rules.
This could include the majority of EU countries and British overseas territories, alongside others.
It had previously been suggested that a traffic light system could regulate travel needs, with the highest risk countries, such as the US, categorised as ‘red’.
TRAVEL UPDATE ‘IMMINENT’
A Spokesperson from the Foreign Office said: “We continue to advise British people against all non-essential international travel. We will be updating our travel advice shortly.”
At present, arrivals into the UK from outside the common travel area are required to quarantine for 14-days, with fines for those that do not follow the rules.
The policy that has been much maligned by the travel industry, including UK travel retail.
British holidaymakers received good news on Monday (29 June) when Transport Secretary Grant Shapps revealed in a statement to Parliament that passengers travelling by rail, sea and air in certain circumstances would be exempted from self-isolating on arrival to the UK.
However, further information on the list of countries exempted from the quarantine was not provided and there have been repeated delays to the announcement this week.
It is unclear at the time of writing when the announcement will be made, but it has been suggested it could come either today or tomorrow (Friday 3 July).
In Parliament today, Shapps appeared to imply that Scottish Government concerns are behind delays to disclosing more information.
Addressing the SNP’s Gavin Newland, Shapps said: “I would say to the honourable gentleman, I’d appreciate his help in ensuring that air bridges can get going as quickly as possible. I’m very keen to get the devolved administrations including the Scotland government on board so we can get this thing announced.”
Greece said this week it will not permit direct flights to the country from the UK until 15 July. As expected, many European countries relaxed travel restrictions yesterday (1 July).