Greece holidays: Nation makes dramatic U-turn allowing Britons to return under new rules

Greece has said that it has changed its mind following its announcement last week that it will be banning Britons from visiting the country due to the UK’s poor coronavirus track record. However, now the nation has said that Britons are allowed to visit on holiday from later this month. The welcome news has provided Britons with a spark of hope for their future summer holidays.

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Although this is good news for Britons, holidaymakers from the UK will be required to follow strict quarantine rules on arrival in Greece.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that Britons will have to undergo testing for coronavirus on arrival into Greece.

If an individual tests negative then they will need to quarantine for seven days on arrival.

This is a marginal improvement on the UK’s own 14-day quarantine rules.

If an individual tests positive, then holidaymakers will be requited to quarantine under supervision for 14 days.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in an announcement: “If you originate from an airport on the EASA affected area list, then you will be tested upon arrival.

“If the test is negative, then the passenger self-quarantines for 7 days.

“If the test is positive, the passenger is quarantined under supervision for 14 days.”

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It comes just days after Greece disappointed British tourists by saying that they would no longer be welcome.

The Greek government said previously that they would be accepting tourists from June 15 but Britons would not be on the list.

But the country’s new rules state that the UK along with other countries with the same COVID-19 data will be allowed to return if they adhere to quarantine rules.

The coronavirus tests will reportedly be carried out at airports on individuals flying in from high-risk countries.

The countries deemed “high-risk” are those reported by European Union’s aviation safety agency (EASA).

Those travelling from other areas could be subject to random coronavirus testing, but they will not face the same stringent tests as those from “high-risk” countries.

Greece will be reopening its airports to tourists from June 15.

Greece announced that there will be 29 countries on a list that they consider safe which include Germany and China.

The full list of countries on the list are: Albania, Australia, Austria, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Estonia, Japan, Israel, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Finland.

The list will be re-evaluated before July 1.

Britons usually make over three million visits to Greece annually.

The island of Cyprus, which is close to Greece, still has a ban on Britons entering the country.

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Pound to euro exchange rate: GBP ‘treads water’ against the euro as US-China tensions soar

The pound managed to stay within a “tight range” to the euro yesterday despite Brexit concerns dominating the headlines. Today, the pound is currently trading at a rate of 1.1118 against the euro according to Bloomberg at the time of writing. The rate is currently dipping just below the 1.12 handle, leaving it in a vulnerable position today.

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At roughly this time yesterday, the pound was trading at 1.1136 against the euro, which is higher than today’s rate.

Although the rate seems to be lower, the rates stayed in relatively close range to one another.

Michael Brown, Currency Expert at Caxton FX, spoke to Express.co.uk to provide exclusive insight into the current exchange rate.

“Sterling trod water against the euro yesterday, trading within a relatively tight range, as the day was dominated by month-end dollar selling, resulting in relatively little volatility for currency crosses,” he said.

“Today, that theme is likely to continue, while investors will also continue to pay close attention to simmering Sino-US tensions.”

US President Donald Trump signalled on Thursday that a China-US trade deal may be off the table.

On Thursday, China voted to overthrow Hong Kong’s independence with a new national security law.

Trump said to reporters: “We are not happy with China.

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“We are not happy with what’s happened.”

But as well as China’s recent actions in Hong Kong, Trump has also been critical of China’s alleged hand in the coronavirus outbreak which originated in Wuhan.

The pandemic has now claimed the lives of more than 350,000 worldwide.

George Vessey, UK Currency Strategist from Western Union Business Solutions said that a “disruptive” Brexit may mean investors lose confidence.

He said: “The pound extended its retreat from two-week peaks yesterday as investors weighed up the possibility of negative interest rates in the UK and increasing fears of a disruptive Brexit.

“The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator, David Frost, reiterated that an extension to the transition period is not an option, which fuelled further sterling weakness.

“Mr Frost raised concerns about the UK-EU trade talks lacking progress – with a deal on fisheries still proving difficult despite the EU seemingly ready to make some compromises earlier this week.

“Although there has been optimism across financial markets about a faster economic recovery amid the easing lockdown measures, the pound will remain exposed to headline risks around Brexit as the last round of talks next month draw nearer ahead of the special EU summit later in the month.”

Mr Vessey also said that fears of a second wave of coronavirus infections are also impacting sterling.

He added: “GBP/USD fell around 1.5 cents from the its high yesterday, whilst GBP/EUR snapped a four-day winning streak, to end over a cent lower.

“Fears of a second wave of infections as Britain exit’s lockdown, coupled with no-trade deal Brexit woes, negative interest rates and soaring government debt all point towards further downside for sterling.

“GBP/USD may soon test $1.20, whilst €1.10 remains a key support for GBP/EUR.”

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Flights: Will I need to wear a mask to fly?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says wearing a mask will not protect you from coronavirus if you don’t combine it with other measures and hand hygiene. WHO recommends wearing a mask if you are coughing or sneezing, or taking care of a person with COVID-19 symptoms. There is no evidence that wearing a mask protects you if you aren’t sick. However, some airlines have made it mandatory to wear a face mask when travelling, thanks to the European Union Aviation Safety Agency’s new guidelines. Express.co.uk reveals which airlines have put in place this rule.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency published 28 pages of guidelines regarding flying.

The UK had no involvement in putting together the policy, since the Brexit ‘leave’ date was on January 31.

However, the UK will remain a member of the EU until the end of 2020, so falls subject to these rules.

British airlines and airports will most likely adopt these guidelines, which plan out how each step of the air travel process should be done.

According to EASA’s rules, those who have been in contact with someone infected with coronavirus should not turn up to the airport at all.

There will be no more waving off your loved ones, with the new rules banning anybody who is not travelling or working in the airport from coming inside.

There will be regular reminders broadcasted through the airports, warning passengers and staff to wash their hands and social distance.

There will be no duty free, either.

READ MORE- Airlines requiring masks: Which airlines ask you to wear face masks?

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Will I need to wear a mask to fly?

EASA recommends wearing a mask while travelling.

The guideline document says: “The wearing of medical face masks should be recommended for all passengers and persons within the airport and aircraft, from the moment they enter the terminal building at the departure airport until they exit the terminal building at the destination airport.

“Exemption to the obligation to wear face masks can be made for instances where otherwise specified, such as during security checks or border control.

“Children below 6 years old and people having a medical reason for not wearing face masks can also be exempted.”

In light of these guidelines, some major airlines are changing their own rules on masks.

This includes:
• Air France
• Alitalia
• Brussels Airlines
• Eurowings
• Finnair
• Iberia
• KLM
• Lufthansa
• Ryanair
• SAS
• EasyJet

You will need to wear a mask if you fly with any of the above airlines.

The EASA guidelines say passengers should replace their masks every four hours.

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The document says: “Passengers should be reminded that typically, face masks should be replaced after being worn for 4 hours, if not advised otherwise by the mask manufacturer, or when becoming wet or soiled, and that they should ensure a sufficient supply of masks adequate for the entire duration of their journey.”

Not sure how to dispose of your mask? There’s plenty of advice on that, and it is a key part of beating the virus.

The document says: “Passengers should be also instructed on the procedures for safe disposal of used face masks; no-touch bins should be available at the airport and single-use waste bags should be available onboard and upon disembarking to dispose of used masks.

“Airport operators and aeroplane operators should include information regarding the proper use and removal of masks and the proper way to dispose of used masks in their health safety promotion material.

“Additionally, airport operators should also consider making possible the acquisition of masks at airports(e.g. through vending machines) in case passengers have no access to face masks beforehand.

“The use of face masks should be considered only as a complementary measure and not as a replacement for established preventive measures, such as physical distancing, respiratory etiquette, meticulous hand hygiene.”

What are the Government rules on wearing a mask?

The Government for England says:
• People should aim to wear face coverings on public transport and in some shops
• Also in other “enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible and they come into contact with others that they do not normally meet”
• “Social distancing” means staying more than two metres away from someone
• Face coverings should be worn and not surgical masks or respirators which should be left for healthcare staff and other workers who need them

People don’t need to wear face masks or coverings when they are:
• Outdoors or while exercising
• In schools
• In workplaces such as offices and shops
• Children under two or primary aged children who cannot use them without assistance
• Experiencing problems breathing while wearing a face covering

Are masks beneficial?

Medical advice on wearing a face mask is sceptical.

Public Health England isn’t sure about the public using face masks, saying: “Face masks play a very important role in clinical settings, such as hospitals, but there’s very little evidence of widespread benefit from their use outside of these clinical settings.”

WHO warns: “The wide use of masks by healthy people in the community setting is not supported by current evidence and carries uncertainties and critical risk.”

According to WHO, wearing a mask can create a “false sense of security, leading to potentially less adherence to other preventive measures such as physical distancing and hand hygiene.”

Source: Read Full Article

Holidays 2020: Simon Calder says June holidays are ‘effectively written off’ for Britons

There may well be a light at the end of the tunnel for holidays this year after a series of announcements from various countries saying that they will be allowing tourists at some point. The latest country to announce it will be opening their doors to tourists is Spain. The holiday hotspot for Britons insisted last week that Spain will reopen to tourists in July.

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And today, Spain further sparked hope for British holidays after the country’s Foreign Minister said they will be lifting their quarantine rules for tourists from July 1.

Currently, the country is still in a ‘State of Emergency’ due to its high coronavirus case rate.

Today, Travel expert and journalist Simon Calder joined Eamon Holmes and Ruth Langsford on ITV’s This Morning to discuss summer travel options for Britons.

During the show, Mr Calder discussed the exceptions to the UK’s quarantine rules, which will be put in place from June 8.

Mr Calder confirmed that anyone arriving from June 8 onwards into the UK will need to quarantine for 14 days.

Ruth asked Mr Calder whether there were exceptions to that rule.

Mr Calder said: “There’s many exceptions, so obviously transport workers, seasonal, agricultural workers, people working in the medical professions who need to help us with the coronavirus outbreak.

“And indeed anyone coming in from the Common Travel Area as you know that’s the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

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“And that’s created the so-called ‘Dublin dodge’ where all you need to do actually if you don\t fancy quarantine is fly to Dublin airport, put a foot on Irish soil and then fly to whichever UK airport you want.

“I am not condoning this.

“It would increase greatly the risk to anybody else you encounter along the way.

“But I’m afraid that loophole is right in the middle of the quarantine rules.

“However, for the vast majority of people who booked to travel in June, this effectively means their trip is off because the vast majority of people will not be able to sit at home in really quite Draconian conditions – in a room on your own, not mixing with any family or friends, not going out at all.

“People won’t want to do that and so effectively, June has been written off.

“We got confirmation of that from the second-biggest tour operator Jet2 on Friday and TUI, the biggest holiday company is currently considering its position.”

Travellers arriving in the UK will have to fill in a form detailing the address where they’re going to isolate.

Officials can then call or visit the address at any given time during that 14 days.

Anyone caught not at home will receive a fixed penalty notice of £1,000.

Mr Calder said: “Anyone coming in can say they don’t have suitable accommodation, and the government will have to find somewhere for them to quarantine for two weeks.

“Whether that’s a nice hotel in London or a cottage by the coast, they haven’t announced the exact locations.”

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France travel restrictions: Can I travel to France in July? Are there flights?

France travel restrictions have kept people from entering one of Europe’s most visited countries for months now, as the threat of the coronavirus pandemic subsides. Cases in the nation have gradually declined, and officials slightly relaxed restrictions on May 11, with more to come.

Can you travel to France in July?

Several European countries are now eyeing a relaxation in travel restrictions, as the tourism sector flounders.

While the virus is now less present in the general public as it was before, the threat remains, and the latest easements will come with conditions.

Borders in France will reopen next month but in a limited capacity.

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Currently, plans from French officials outline the only incoming changes to international travel will come from local borders.

From June 15, the French government will allow travel between the Swiss and German borders.

Any further changes have not emerged as of yet, with no word on when travel from the UK will resume once more.

France has revealed how it will treat any incoming British travellers when it does eventually resume travel, however.

The French Government announced yesterday it will quarantine any France-bound UK travellers for two weeks after they land.

The new rules will come into effect from June 8 this year.

Their intentions also mean they will quarantine anyone else entering the country from another nation on lockdown.

Their move came following an earlier announcement from Home Secretary Priti Patel, who said anyone entering the UK would receive similar treatment.

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Under new Government guidelines, and visitors coming into the country, also from June 8, would have to quarantine for 14 days.

Travellers will need to inform the Government where they will quarantine and face spot checks during the duration.

Anyone found breaching the new rules may be forced to pay a £1,000 fine to “reduce the risk of cases crossing our border”.

The rules do not apply to those arriving in the UK from the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

EasyJet recently announced it would resume flights into France starting from mid next month.

Last week, the airline said it would operate trips from a small number of routes on June 15, mainly covering domestic journeys.

Flights will run from four UK airports, including London Gatwick, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Belfast International.

One confirmed route will run between Gatwick and Nice, while EasyJet will also operate reopen routes from Paris Charles de Gaulle, Nice, Lyon, Geneva in Switzerland, Lisbon, Porto in Portugal, and Barcelona in Spain.

Source: Read Full Article

Who is exempt from 14-day quarantine?

Home Secretary Priti Patel announced quarantine plans for new arrivals to the UK, which will be in place from Monday, June 8. Those arriving in the UK by plane, rail, road and air will be subject to a 14-day quarantine.

All arriving passengers will be required to fill this in to provide contact and travel information so they can be contacted if they, or someone they may have been in contact with develops the disease.

They will also be contacted throughout the 14 day period to make sure they are adhering to the quarantine guidelines.

A breach of self-isolation would be punishable with a £1,000 fixed penalty notice in England or potential prosecution and unlimited fine.

Anyone who fills the form in wrong could also face fines of up to £100.

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Ms Patel said she was imposing quarantine plans for new arrivals at the time “it will be the most effective”.

She told the daily Downing Street press conference: “The answer as to why we’re bringing in these measures now is simple: It is to protect that hard-won progress and prevent a devastating resurgence in a second wave of the virus.

“As we are taking this action, we are taking it at a time that it will be the most effective.”

She said passenger arrivals have been down 99 percent compared to the previous year but now the peak has passed, steps to “guard against imported cases” must be imposed.

Who is exempt from 14-day quarantine?

There will be limited exemptions to the arrivals quarantine and a full list will be published soon on Gov.uk.

The exemptions include:

  • road haulage and freight workers, to ensure the supply of goods is not impacted
  • medical professionals who are travelling to help with the fight against coronavirus
  • anyone moving from within the Common Travel Area, covering Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man
  • seasonal Agricultural Workers who will self-isolate on the property where they are working

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The Home Office has been working closely with industry partners ahead of announcing these changes.

They will be subject to review every three weeks, to ensure they are in line with the latest scientific evidence and remain effective and necessary.

Ms Patel said the move to start quarantining visitors from next month did not equate to Britain shutting its borders.

She said: “These measures will be kept under review and I really do want to emphasis that.

“We are not shutting down completely. We are not closing our borders. People need to recognise that.

“What we are seeking to do is control the spread of the virus because we do not want a second wave of this virus.”

The rules will be reviewed every three weeks, so are expected to be in place until at least June 29.

Officials would not answer on whether the measure will be in place long-term.

When questioned about holidays, Ms Patel reiterated only essential travel is permitted.

She said: “The advice is not about booking holidays, right now.

“We are bringing in these measures for very clear reasons, as I have outlined.

“The other point to note is that advice from Government and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is you’re not to travel and to please follow the advice they are putting on their website, which is nothing but essential travel.

“This is absolutely not about booking holidays. We want to avoid a second wave and that is absolutely vital.”

Source: Read Full Article

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. 

Source: Read Full Article

Coronavirus: Temperature scans trial at Heathrow Airport to restart travel

The London airport has begun trialling the technology which can detect body temperature from a distance of eight feet. It is part of efforts to ease travel restrictions and potentially circumvent the need for a 14-day quarantine period for travellers entering or returning to Britain. Cameras have been installed in the immigration hall of Terminal 2 with the aim of detecting if people entering the UK have a fever, a common symptom of coronavirus.

Heathrow’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: “To unlock the full benefits of aviation for the economy, a common international standard for health screening must be agreed by the global authorities – and the technology we are trialling now could be a part of this solution.

“As one of the world’s great trading nations, the UK should take a lead in setting a global plan to reopen borders, when it is safe to do so. This will help protect millions of British jobs currently at risk that rely on aviation.”

Mr Holland-Kaye said signs in the immigration hall will alert passengers to the trials, but there should be “no visible change to their arrivals journey”.

He also backed the idea of air bridges, a route between two countries where the Covid-19 outbreak is under control.

He continued: “The Government has got a tough job to do. If they think the quarantine is the right thing to do I think we have to go with that but it has to be time-limited and we have to plan for what comes next.

“The idea of air bridges is a sensible way of doing that.

“There is no perfect way to make sure only healthy people fly at this stage, so we have to take a risk-based approach.”

Heathrow said no personal data will be stored or shared in the trials and no other screening methods will be required.

If successful, the technology may be introduced in other sections of the airport, including departures, connections and colleague search areas.

From this week, all employees working at the airport will wear face coverings.

Staff will hand out masks to any arriving and departing passengers who do not have their own.

More than 600 sanitising stations have also been introduced, along with enhanced cleaning regimes, signage displaying health advice, perspex barriers and social distancing reminders.

Heathrow will also explore the use of ultraviolet to quickly and efficiently sanitise security trays and contact-free security screening equipment to reduce person-to-person contact.

Source: Read Full Article

Google Maps: Man caught in hilarious stance holding up strange objects – what are they?

Google Maps Street View is a useful tool for those hoping to take a look at the world from afar. For some people who won’t get a chance to travel far in the future, Google Maps Street View is a lifeline. By capturing panoramic views of streets all around the world, anyone can experience what it’s like to stroll around the Earth.

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The tool is officially an online mapping service owned by Google.

It offers satellite images, street maps, panoramic views of streets and route planning to its users for free.

However, sometimes the tool is used for other reasons.

Sometimes, users utilise the tool to try and get their own five minutes of fame.

Sometimes Google Maps Street View manages to capture some strange sights from the hilarious to the completely bizarre.

When these sights are spotted by users, they often get posted online or on forums.

The posts sometimes go viral, causing the user and/or the person in the photo to get catapulted to fame.

This may be the case for one man who was caught in a very strange position.

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The scene unveiled in Visby in Gotland, an island near Sweden, on a busy shopping street.

The man appears to be excited to have spotted the Google car as he holds his hands up in the air.

The man also seems to be wearing a rather strange outfit compared to the people around him.

He is wearing loose fitting beige trousers that are too short in the leg.

He is also wearing what appears to be a waistcoat with a wooden necklace and sunglasses.

But that’s not the most strange part of this ensemble.

As he sees the Google car, he lifts up his shopping bag and a rather strange object.

The object he appears to be holding up his a bunch of carrots.

It appears the man may have been food shopping when the Google car went past and this was his way of leaving his mark.

The strange sight was captured by Google Maps in July 2011.

The post was spotted by a Reddit user who captioned the post: “Swedish Carrot Dude.”

Source: Read Full Article

Holidays 2020: Summer holiday hopes soar as Grant Shapps reveals plans for ‘air bridges’

British travellers may have been given a lifeline this afternoon after Transport Secretary Grant Shapps revealed that the UK Government is discussing more ideas to make sure people can travel abroad in the future. Mr Shapps revealed in the House of Commons today that “air bridges” could be a future travel option between the UK and low-risk countries. Mr Shapps also revealed that the Government is in “active discussions” over introducing “air bridges” which will allow people entering the UK from countries with an ‘R’ rate lower than 1.0 to be exempt without having to quarantine.

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He said in the Commons: “It is the case that we should indeed consider improvements for example ‘air bridges’ enabling people from other areas, other countries who have themselves achieved lower levels of coronavirus infection to come to the country.

“Those are active discussions that will go beyond what will initially be a blanket situation.”

Mr Shapps also told MPs on Monday that they “should consider” proposals to allow exemptions to the 14-day quarantine rules.

The rules were announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on May 10, which stated that all travellers coming from abroad into the UK would be subject to 14 days of quarantine.

Anyone caught breaking the rules could be fined up to £1,000.

Exceptions to the rules are those travelling from Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, as well as most freight lorry drivers.

Mr Shapps announced the rules will be put in place “early next month”.

However, the plans have been heavily criticised by airline bosses who are concerned that the rules will deter people from going abroad in the future.

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Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said the UK economy will suffer if the quarantine restrictions are placed on everyone who enters the country.

Mr Holland-Kaye has been advocating for the Government to implement a Common International Standard for travel.

Heathrow Airport, which is the second busiest in the world, reported that its passenger numbers dropped by 97 percent in April.

The airport’s numbers went from 250,000 a day to between 5,000 and 6,000 on average.

Mr Holland-Kaye told Sky News: “This is a very minimal level of traffic, and I think that as long as the quarantine [travel ban] is in place, that will continue at those low levels.

“The quarantine cannot be in place for more than a relatively short amount of time if we are going to get the economy moving again.

“This is where we are urging the Government to have a Common International Standard, working with other countries so that traffic can start to flow in a normal way between low-risk countries.”

A Department for Transport spokesperson told The Guardian: “The aviation sector is important to the UK economy and ministers are in regular contact with its senior representatives to discuss the challenges they are facing and ways we can support.

“We continue to look at the best ways to restart all forms of transport, while also ensuring we limit the risk of creating a second wave of cases.”

Heathrow Airport will trial technologies and processes which could form the basis of a Common International Standard for health screening at all global airports.

The new measures will be trialled to help reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading during travel.

The airport said in a press release that the trials include: “UV sanitation, which could be used to quickly and efficiently sanitise security trays; facial recognition thermal screening technology to accurately track body temperature; and contact-free security screening equipment to reduce person-to-person contact.

“Before any new measures are rolled out across the airport, they will be reviewed against Heathrow’s three tests to ensure that they are medically grounded, build consumer confidence and are practical for airports to deliver.”

Source: Read Full Article