Countries are now creating exclusive agreements of travel between each other that makes certain tourists exempt from quarantines. Introducing the concept of “Air Bridges” now forming between popular travel destinations which makes it easier to travel in some countries, and much more difficult to travel in others.
Officials are weighing a list of about a dozen countries – including Portugal, Spain, France and Greece – for potential bilateral agreements which would allow people to journey overseas from July 4 without facing a two-week quarantine on arrival, or return, The Telegraph reported.
The considerations are taking place ahead of an expected announcement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on June 29 that agreements have been reached with a “small number” of countries with low levels of coronavirus, according to the paper.
The potential travel corridors are only expected to be given the green light to come into effect on the advice of the chief medical officer, and if the Foreign Office agrees to lift its ban on non-essential travel.
Travellers arriving in the UK currently face 14 days of isolation under new mandatory quarantine rules rolled out in a bid to curtail the spread of Covid-19 – with fines threatened for anyone who does not comply.
All passengers – bar a handful of exemptions – must fill out an online locator form giving their contact and travel details, as well as the address of where they will isolate.
Moves are meanwhile now afoot to make coronavirus swab tests, as used by the NHS, available to passengers arriving at UK airports to screen for the coronavirus.
Companies planning a trial of the scheme hope a negative result will allow people early release from the Government’s 14-day quarantine regime.
People will have to pay around £140 for a test booked online before travel, the BBC reported on Saturday, with a trial expected to begin at a major UK airport in a fortnight’s time.
Under the proposed scheme – which could see testing carried out on up to 500 people a day – passengers would visit an airport clinic after clearing immigration checks to take a test.
After testing, the person would be required to self-isolate until they received the result.
A negative result could take as little as five hours, but the aim will be to notify every participant in the scheme of their test result within 24 hours.
The consideration of potential changes to existing travel restrictions comes after a reduction in the UK’s coronavirus alert level on Friday.
The downgrading – recommended by the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) – means transmission of coronavirus is no longer considered to be “high or rising exponentially”.
Commenting on the move, Portugal’s ambassador to the UK has said the nation wants to welcome British tourists again now the alert level has been reduced.
Manuel Lobo Antunes told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “There was very good news for you, for us, for Europe that the alert system has come from four to three and that means a significant improvement in the control of the pandemic here in the UK.
“We think that the situation is under control and we would be happy to receive, as before, as many British as possible.”
His comments came after a Spanish foreign ministry source confirmed on Friday that the London is in talks with Madrid about a deal that would allow both countries not to quarantine travelers.
“Spain is willing to be open to the United Kingdom, we are in talks with them about their quarantine. We are in a position to open without a quarantine,” the source told Reuters.
Spain will open its borders to tourists from most European countries on Sunday.