The Government announced that from June 8, all travellers returning to the UK, including returning citizens, would need to quarantine for a period of 14 days. Air bridges would mean that the quarantine restrictions imposed would no longer apply. Also known as travel corridors, air bridges are a way of enabling tourists to travel between countries without having to self isolate. The Government has also been working on a traffic light system based on the risk of coronavirus infection in other countries, and plan on permitting travel to both ‘green’ and ‘amber’ countries.
Why hasn’t Boris Johnson announced air bridges yet?
The Prime Minister is expected to give the announcement on air bridges this week, after failing to do so on Monday, June 29.
The announcement is said to give the green light for Brits to travel to 95 foreign destinations.
But publication has been repeatedly pushed back, causing holiday chaos and increasing anger from holidaymakers and travel firms.
The reason for Boris Johnson’s delayed announcement is reported to be due to a number of countries pulling out of the air bridge agreement, following news of a localised lockdown in Leicester.
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Greece recently announced it was extending its ban on flights from the UK until July 15, despite opening up to tourists from other countries.
A travel industry source told the MailOnline: “The Greek move opened a can of worms and led to other EU countries with similarly low R rates also thinking they should look at blocking British holidaymakers.”
TUI’s Managing Director Andrew Flintham told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The conversations with overseas countries, as Greece has demonstrated, is a two-way decision.
“So I think there are still going to be a few bumps in the road and I still think there will be some countries that will not be opening up.
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“That means we will have to cancel a few more holidays, but hopefully not as many as we’ve been cancelling.”
The Government has been slammed by a number of people in the travel industry for not revealing the full extent of its lockdown relaxation measures, and say this is preventing people from booking a holiday with confidence.
George Morgan-Grenville, CEO of luxury travel firm Red Savannah, said the Government’s quarantine policy for travellers has been a “disaster” up until this point.
Mr Morgan-Grenville told BBC Radio 4: “The whole of quarantine has been a disaster. It was a lousy piece of secondary legislation.
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“There was no business or regulatory impact assessment carried out, there was no consultation carried out. And effectively what it did was prevent the industry after four months of no sales from getting back on its feet again.
“There were numerous scientists saying the exact opposite, saying it would have a negligible impact on public health and that it was a very odd time to bring it in.”
In addition, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that Scotland’s First Minister, Nicole Sturgeon, was to blame for the delay in the announcement.
Mr Shapps indicated to the House of Commons that opposition from the Scottish Government was the reason why details are yet to be made available.
Ms Sturgeon has criticised Downing Street for reportedly failing to consult her on the plans and said she wanted to “take a bit of time to consider the public health impact” of the scheme amid fears cancelling the quarantine could lead to a spike in infections.
Mr Shapps told the Commons: “I would say to the honourable gentleman, I would appreciate his help in ensuring air bridges can get going as quickly as possible and report to the House.
“I am very keen to get the devolved administrations including the Scotland Government on board so we can get this thing announced.”
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