Global travel has ground to a halt while the world has tackled the coronavirus pandemic. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has not changed its advice against non-essential travel at the current time, despite a number of UK lockdown measures being lifted in recent weeks. However the UK Government is currently in discussions with a number of European nations about potential ‘air bridges’ with the UK which would permit travel over the next few months.
On Thursday it was reported Boris Johnson and other cabinet ministers are expected to finalise plans for air bridges with a few European countries.
It is expected an announcement will be made about any potential air bridges with European nations in a few days time.
Transport Secretary Grant Schapps told MPs on Wednesday: “You can see there are a lot of complexities.
“I don’t want to be evasive but I don’t also want to give people false hope, which is why I need to wait until the end of the process and wait until June 29.”
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From July 4, a number of destinations are expected to be included in air bridges with the UK.
Air bridges would mean Brits returning from certain countries would not need to quarantine upon arrival back in the UK.
Currently anyone who travels to outside the UK has to quarantine for two weeks after arriving back to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Multiple publications have reported that France, Italy and Spain will be the first nations people will be allowed to travel to.
According to the Guardian, Germany and Austria are also being considered for potential air bridges by the UK Government, as are Greece, Turkey and Croatia.
Greek tourism minister Haris Theoharis recently said Greece wanted British tourists to return when it reopens to European holidaymakers on July 1.
Mr Theoharis indicated conversations with the UK Government over potential air bridges were going well.
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He said: “The final decision, from the UK and our point of view, will be in place in the next few days and I’m hoping the announcement will be positive from both sides.”
He also told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme there was no need for those returning to the UK from Greece to be quarantined.
He added: “The point is that Greece is a safe country – we have proven that during this crisis and we will continue proving this in the exit stages of the health situation.
“We feel that the risk of someone contracting the disease in Greece is much lower than most of the countries in Europe and indeed the rest of the world.”
There are a number of nations which are keeping borders closed for the time being and are unlikely to establish an air bridge with the UK any time soon.
The USA is the worst-hit nation in the world for COVID-19, and according to reports is unlikely to reopen its borders until November this year.
New Zealand has also closed its borders, and will also be keeping a mandatory quarantine for all travellers who arrive to the nation for some time.
New Zealand introduced a very stringent lockdown earlier this year, and recently declared itself free from COVID-19.
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