The ministers hope to conclude agreements with a number of countries – including France, Spain and Greece – allowing travel as early as July.
This comes after the government confirmed today that anyone arriving in the UK from abroad will have to isolate themselves for 14 days from June 8, which seems to dash hopes of a getaway to the UK. stranger this summer.
The stringent new measures – designed to prevent a second wave of foreign coronavirus infections – will apply to almost all travelers, including returning Britons.
Anyone who breaks the rules could be fined £ 1,000.
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However, the ministers hope that families will still be able to enjoy summer vacation abroad through a series of “airlift” or quarantine pacts with countries where the number of Covid-19 cases is low.
Another measure being considered is the issuance of “Covid passports” to those who have recovered from the deadly virus and are therefore likely to enjoy some immunity, reports the Daily Mail.
Speaking at today’s Downing Street briefing, Interior Minister Priti Patel said she was “absolutely open” to the idea of airlift.
“As far as airlift is concerned, look, I think we have to be absolutely open to all ideas,” she said.
“It is not for today, but that does not mean that we should exclude it in the future. “
It is understood that the Secretary of Transportation, Grant Shapps, has set up a task force to study the establishment of “safe lanes” in time for the summer vacation.
Under the new regime, all exemptions, except a short list, including road carriers and doctors, will have to provide border officials with an address where they will be quarantined.
Describing the plans, Ms. Patel said, “As the world begins to emerge from what we hope will be the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, we must look to the future and protect the British public by reducing the risk of imported cases .
“We are introducing these new measures now to keep the transmission rate low and avoid a devastating second wave. “
The announcement caused a backlash from airlines and the tourism industry, which fear it will hurt the UK’s economic recovery as it gradually emerges from the lockout.
Tim Alderslade of the Airlines UK industry group said that general quarantine would “shut down” the aviation and travel industries.
“We need to be much more focused and risk-based, opening travel lanes with low-risk countries that more effectively meet our public health goals while allowing people to get away this summer,” he said. -he declares.
Meanwhile, Charlie Cornish, managing director of Stansted Airport, said: “A global quarantine will seriously jeopardize the long-term future of the sector and endanger tens of thousands of jobs and billions of books of economic value ”.
Former Brexit secretary David Davis is among the MPs who have criticized the plans, tweeting, “It is unwise to restrict travel from countries that have handled the coronavirus better than we have.
“Greece, for example, has a low infection rate and a low number of deaths. Their economy depends on their tourism industry. It is unfair to punish them. “
Responding to his tweet, Labor MP Ben Bradshaw also called the plans “barmy”.
“Not often, I agree with @DavidDavisMP, but he is right to say that there are better reasons to quarantine arrivals at King’s Cross in Yorkshire than arrivals from low infection countries like Greece, Malta and Portugal. “