Air bridge: What is an air bridge?

UK tourists could eventually be able to visit Greece and Portugal, as both countries have allowed potential access to the country for British families – without quarantining. They also have low cases of coronavirus, meaning there is a much lower risk for Brits wanting to go to the tourist hotspots. 

What is an air bridge?

Air bridges are also referred to as ‘travel corridors’, and would enable tourists between two countries to visit without the need to quarantine. 

Transport Minister Grant Shapps said: “The final details of the quarantine scheme will be released soon, coming in early next month.

“It is the case that we would indeed consider further improvements for example, things like air bridges, enabling people from other areas and countries who have themselves achieved lower levels of growth virus infection, to come into the country.”

At the moment, countries in Europe have implemented a 14-day quarantine period for arriving travellers, something which Britain is looking to enforce in June. 

However, agreements between countries, particularly those with low cases of coronavirus, could agree to waive the two-week period to allow tourists to travel without restrictions. 

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Which countries are thinking about introducing air bridges?

Air bridges have been discussed between the UK, Portugal and Greece, as the countries have had a low infection rate of coronavirus. 

Air bridges between the US and UK could also be introduced at some point. 

Visit Britain chief executive Patricia Yates told the Digital Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee that America is “ready” for the move. 

Ms Yates said: “Our American regional director is telling us sort of America is ready to go, American business is ready to go. 

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“So, possibly, an air bridge between the UK and America might be one that would be valuable to us.”

However, with the Us having the highest death toll in the world for  coronavirus, this is unlikely to be implemented any time soon.

Other countries are offering similar travel bridges within European states. 

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are all allowing free travel within their respective countries, while Australia and New Zealand are also considering similar conditions. 

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Can I go camping in the UK during lockdown?

British tourists and holidaymakers are likely to turn to domestic trips and camping breaks once lockdown restrictions are fully lifted, as it looks increasingly unlikely that summer holidays abroad will be a possibility this year. Campsite providers have started considering how they may be able to reopen safely when Brits are free to move around, whenever that may be.

Can I go camping in the UK during lockdown?

Hopes are high among British campsites for a summer business boom, all campsites and caravan parks are to remain closed in accordance with Public Health advice.

So, in short, no. People should avoid camping during the lockdown as it is in breach of the guidance in place.

Tourism Minister Nigel Huddlestone tweeted: “You and your household can head outdoors for your physical and mental wellbeing in England.

“But be respectful to local people and communities. You must adopt social distancing at all times.

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“Then return to your primary home – no overnight stays, including second homes and holiday homes.”

These regulations extend to free camping as well – the practice of pitching your tent on public land.

Under normal circumstances, free camping is only legal on Dartmoor in England and across most regions of Scotland, but it is strictly banned under current regulations.

Anybody who is caught breaking the rules and camping will receive a large fine.

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When will campsites reopen?

Despite the Government not providing guidance specific to campsites, it is safe to assume that along with the hospitality industry, their reopening will fall under step three of the exit plan.

If this is true, it means that campsites and caravan parks will likely reopen on July 4, although this is subject to constant review.

A second spike in coronavirus infections would almost certainly see reopening dates pushed back.

Managing Director of Pitchup.com, Dan Yates said: “In short, with a date of ‘no earlier’ than July 4, time will be tight to capitalise on this summer.

“Typically, the peak begins in the third week of July with the start of the school holidays, and ends at August Bank Holiday.”

Cool Camping told the i newspaper that it had seen an increase in traffic and booking for July and August since the news.

A spokesperson said: “It looks like there has been some pent up demand with people waiting for some guidance about when they would be allowed to take holidays again.”

Director General of The Camping and Caravanning Club, Sabina Voysey said the coronavirus crisis has had a “significant impact” on their business.

Ms Voysey said: “We have campsites all over the UK and believe that you don’t have to travel far for a break and a change of scene.

“By supporting local businesses and local economies in a sensible and phased approach we can start to help the rebuilding process when the time is right.”

She added that the industry would urge the Government to give them “greater clarity” on how the sector can reopen and operate safely with additional measures.

Campsite operators have already begun trying to find ways of making it safer for customers.

Most campsites are already well equipped for social distancing, with acres of space in which people can pitch their tents without coming close to fellow campers.

The situation remains easier for caravan and motorhome owners, which are already equipped for a self-contained lifestyle.

Additionally, caravan and motor home pitches are already more than two metres apart for fire safety reasons, meaning contact with others is minimised.

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Heathrow boss says only ‘very low risk’ passengers may be allowed to travel after lockdown

The UK’s busiest airport, Heathrow, has reported that passenger levels were down 97 percent in April. Fears over the future of the airline business have arisen during the coronavirus crisis, with many industry professionals calling for a “common international standard” to be implemented. Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye also warned BBC Breakfast that certain people may have to be excluded from international travel in order to ensure safety.

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He said: “Social distancing can’t work in any form of public transport, it is just completely impractical.

“For example, remember going on your last summer holiday where you were flying somewhere?

“Can you imagine social distancing in that kind of circumstance?

“We are just not designed for that.”

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Mr Holland-Kaye continued: “That’s why we need a way of making sure that only people who are very low risk are allowed into the airport and can travel through the journey.

“That will make sure that the most people as possible can continue to live their lives as normal.

“It’s not just about passengers, of course, it’s about the goods that go in the cargo holds of passenger planes from Heathrow that are the lifeblood of the British economy.

“We need both passengers and goods to be able to travel all over the world to get the British economy firing on all cylinders. We need Heathrow to be flying again.”

However, Mr Holland-Kaye did not agree that all passengers should be subjected to temperature checks upon arrival at airports.

He told the BBC: “I don’t know whether temperature checks are the right answer or not, but that’s something we need to work on with this Government and with other governments.

“I think it will be a package of measures which will include some kind of health screening.”

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The Heathrow boss continued: “We’ll make sure that people travel safely and confidently through the airport.

“So we can get back to business as usual as quickly as possible.

“There are checks in place that Public Health England put in place, though they are not as visible as they might be in some other airports.

“I think this lack of consistency does create uncertainty with passengers and create a sense that they’re not being as well looked after as we should be.

“That’s why we need to move from each country having their own way of doing things to an international standard.”

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Thousands arriving at UK airports from nations ‘ravaged’ with COVID-19 without ANY checks

The UK still has no screening for coronavirus on the arrival of flight passengers from abroad. In line with advice from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, there are no temperature checks at airports. However, aviation analyst Alex Macheras warned ITV’s Good Morning Britain that this leaves the UK as an “outlier” compared to 90 percent of the world.

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He said: “We know Matt Hancock said around 10 days ago that there are 15,000 passengers arriving into the UK.

“That figure is probably somewhere now between 6,000 to 10,000 passengers still walking into the UK without no checks, no measures, no quarantine, no requirement to self-isolate.

“We spoke a few days ago about how the Government were ‘considering’ that they may introduce measures.

“It’s questionable as to why they haven’t just stated that ‘for those passengers arriving right now, you should be self-isolating’, given many could be returning from destinations that have been ravaged by coronavirus.”

Mr Macheras continued: “They are still holding their heels, they are still waiting on any announcement regarding the change to airport measures.

“This leaves the country as an outlier compared to 90 percent of countries where the world’s population are living in.”

Currently passengers are given advice on what to do if they become symptomatic.

Once numbers of new cases begin a sustained fall, the Government plans to introduce a regime similar to that in place in Singapore and Australia.

In Australia, airport hotels are being used to quarantine arrivals for 14 days.

The UK plan would require air, sea and rail passengers to specify the address where they intend to spend the next two weeks.

The authorities would conduct spot checks to ensure that travellers are at the address they registered.

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The air industry around the world have seen numbers plummet amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many countries have imposed international travel restrictions.

Some airlines are offering vouchers instead of refunds for cancelled flights.

This has caused outrage among passengers, who are demanding to have all their money back.

Under EU law, passengers are entitled to a full refund.

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