An crew member and passengers arrive at Heathrow Airport in London, the UK, June 8 2020. Picture: REUTERS/TOBY MELVILLE
An crew member and passengers arrive at Heathrow Airport in London, the UK, June 8 2020. Picture: REUTERS/TOBY MELVILLE

London  — The British government will effectively ditch its “air bridge” plans and end coronavirus quarantine rules for those arriving from 75 countries, the Telegraph newspaper reported on Thursday.

It said the UK would shortly lift a ban on non-essential travel to nearly all EU destinations, the British territories including Bermuda and Gibraltar, as well as Turkey, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand.

Asked about the report, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “As we set out earlier this week ... we will be easing health measures at the border by allowing passengers arriving from specific countries and territories to be exempted from self-isolation requirements.”

He said the next steps in the policy would be set out this week. The Telegraph said this could be Friday at the earliest.

Paul Charles, CEO at travel consultancy PC Agency,  told the newspaper: “It’s time the government levelled with the British people on its travel policy, instead of going about and round in circles before making any decision.”

Johnson's government has been grappling with how to open up international travel after it imposed a two-week quarantine for arrivals, which has added to the woes of the tourism and travel industry.

It first discussed creating so-called air bridges, or travel corridors, with countries popular with British tourists, but now seems to be favouring lifting the measures for more countries.

Last Friday, Britain said it would ditch the 14-day quarantine period for people arriving from countries such as France, Greece and Spain.

Simon Clarke, a junior housing, communities and local government minister, said the government wanted to get the tourism sector back on its feet.

“We will provide this announcement as soon as it is safe,” Clarke said. “Clearly we want to get the tourism sector back on its feet as quickly as we can and I'm sure that we will be able to give good news in the near future.”

Noel Josephides,  chair of tour operator Sunvil, told the Telegraph: “With every day that goes by the uncertainty among our clients increases unnecessarily.”

Reuters

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