Quarantine-free ‘air bridges’ will not be part of initial plans to re-start international travel, the government has indicated.
Details of 14-day quarantine measures for all UK arrivals are expected to be confirmed on Thursday (21 May), but the Daily Mail reports Boris Johnson’s official spokesman as saying air bridges were “an option under consideration, but not agreed government policy”.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps told parliament on Monday that measures would be in place by June and floated the idea of air bridges with quarantine-free arrangements between the UK and some countries.
However, extensive coverage in the national press has now led the government to play this down, with a promise only that arrangements would be reviewed “every three weeks”.
The Mail quoted a Whitehall source saying: “I think people would be unwise to book a foreign holiday in the expectation that an air bridge will open up in time for the summer holidays.
“It’s the sort of idea you might look at as you exit a quarantine system. But we are just getting started.”
The introduction of quarantine rules, just as other countries are easing restrictions, dampens hopes that the industry can kick-start the summer season.
The Mail quotes a minister involved in the talks who said all UK arrivals would be stopped by Border Force agents and told to download the government’s new coronavirus tracking app.
They will be asked to provide their address or details of where they are staying, and police or local authority officials will carry out spot checks to ensure quarantine is not being breached.
A Department for Transport spokesperson told TTG: “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.”