Britons will be able to travel to following the announcement by Boris Johnson that the UK has successfully secured a number of air bridges. The full list of countries is set to come in the next few days. The air bridges, also known as travel corridors or transport corridors, will see Britons being allowed to travel between destinations without the need to quarantine for 14-days upon arrival home.
The agreements have been made with countries which have low COVID-19 cases, and are subsequently deemed as “safe” by the UK government.
They may also have been made with countries where the national test and trace measures are thought to be equal to those currently in place in the UK.
Air bridges are reciprocal, which means people from those countries can also travel to the UK without the need to quarantine when they arrive.
Air bridges are expected to be announced in the coming days
Air bridges could mean summer holidays are back on for Britons
A statement from Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps confirmed that the announcement is due to follow.
Mr Shapps explained: “Today (June 29 2020) I can confirm that the government will shortly begin to ease the health measures at the UK border, allowing passengers to be exempted from self-isolation requirements in certain circumstances on arrival in the UK. This will apply to international rail, maritime, and aviation.
“The Joint Biosecurity Centre, in close consultation with Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer, has developed a categorisation of countries and territories from which it is considered to present a lower risk from a public health perspective for passengers to enter the UK, without a requirement for 14 days’ self-isolation.
“This has been informed by factors including the prevalence of coronavirus within the country and, crucially, the numbers of new cases and potential trajectory in the coming weeks of the disease in the country. This categorisation will inform ministerial decisions about the easing of the current border measures.”
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Mr Shapps added that although people will no longer need to undertake the mandatory 14-day quarantine period, “they must not be complacent about following the public health advice on hand hygiene and social distancing”.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is also anticipated to review and update its current travel advisory.
Britons are presently being told to avoid all nonessential travel.
Mr Shapps has since said further details on changes to the advisory will come this week.
He added: “Throughout this process, public safety has been at the heart of our decision making.
Air bridge: Only some countries will accept British travellers
“We have been guided by the science and worked closely with health and policy experts from across government to ensure the steps we are taking are gradual and will minimise the risk of new COVID-19 cases while helping to open our travel and tourism sector.”
Though countries have yet to be confirmed, speculated nations included on the list are:
There remains uncertainty over the situation with countries including Portugal and Sweden.
Which borders are accepting UK travellers?
There have also been rumours of further air corridors being announced in the future, with medium-haul destinations such as Turkey and Dubai potentially making the cut towards August.
For those eager to set off on a long-haul flight to Australia or New Zealand, this might be an option soon.
There are reports of a long-haul air bridge with some continents.
Though the air bridges are welcome news for UK tourism and hopeful holidaymakers, Boris Johnson has stated the government is prepared to apply a “handbrake” whenever needed.
This means a travel ban could be reapplied at any moment is there is an outbreak in a holiday destination, or if cases rapidly increase in the UK.
Following the news of the impending travel corridor announcement, the Euro Tunnel this weekend recorded three times the bookings than they did on the same weekend last year according to BBC News.
It is thought Britons have begun to prepare themselves for a European getaway since the government’s announcement on Friday.
BBC News also explained that the government currently has in place a traffic light system.
Countries will be marked green, amber or red depending on their coronavirus cases in relation to the UK.
Green countries are those which are deemed “safer than the UK”, amber countries are those which passengers “do not need to self isolate on return from”, and red are countries where visitors will have to quarantine on arrival back in the UK.