The government plans to publish a list of up to 50 countries by the middle of next week where there will be “air bridges” exempting arrivals to the UK from quarantine. The Department of Foreign Affairs will change its advice to allow travel, the vacation takeoff date likely being Monday July 6.
Instead of quarantine, there will be a traffic light system with officials classifying countries as green, amber and red based on the prevalence of Covid-19, the increase in disease and the reliability of country data.
Only passengers arriving in the UK from Red Box countries, where the spread of the coronavirus is considered high, will be asked to self-isolate for two weeks.
The announcement comes before a week in which the Prime Minister will try to focus the nation’s mind on breaking out of isolation and building a post-Covid economy.
On Tuesday, he is scheduled to deliver a major speech in the north of England outlining his plan to lift the country out of the deepest recession in generations.
His key themes will be employment, health and housing, and Johnson will unveil a program of major infrastructure projects, including the 40 new hospitals he has promised.
He will also announce plans to invest billions of pounds in underprivileged areas of the country in order to deliver on his clear promise to “level up” Britain, which will include a series of major road and rail projects.
In addition to creating jobs, he believes that by providing the transport links and infrastructure that were lacking in many cities, he will encourage private investment in homes and start-ups.
The former “red wall” constituencies won by the Labor Party in the last election will receive a large part of the investment money, which will likely be financed by borrowing.
The Prime Minister hopes that the speech will put him back on his feet after months of crisis management because of the virus. The text is being finalized this weekend with his chief assistant Dominic Cummings and policy director Munira Mirza, and would have the working title “build, build, build”.
His speech will be followed on Wednesday by the announcement of the full list of countries exempt from quarantine, and then an update on how the government will reopen all schools to all students in September, finally allowing many parents to return to their place of work.