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UP IN THE AIR

What is an air bridge and which countries could be linked to the UK?

BRITS eager to travel abroad could soon be able to without the need to quarantine once they arrive back in the UK.

The Government is set to announcement a full list of the countries they will have air bridge agreements with on Friday, July 3.

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Air bridges are being planned to allow Brits to travel abroad this summer
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Air bridges are being planned to allow Brits to travel abroad this summerCredit: AFP - Getty

The first air bridges to low-risk countries could be in force from as early as July 4.

Speaking to Sky News on Friday, July 3, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “There will be a list of 50-plus countries. If you add in the overseas territories (there will be) 60-something-or-other that will be announced later today.

“France, Germany, Italy and Spain will be on that list."

The Government will outline which countries will be on the safe list, meaning holidaymakers won't have to stay home for 14 days when they arrive in the UK.

The air bridges will be set up with other countries with lower levels of Covid-19 infection.

What are air bridges?

Also called "travel corridors", air bridges will allow tourists to travel between two countries without the need to quarantine.

Air-bridge agreements between countries, particularly those with low cases of coronavirus, would allow two-way travel without restrictions.

On June 25, Transport Secretary Mr Shapps revealed air bridges will only be agreed with countries which have a coronavirus test and trace system at the same standard as the UK as well as a low rate of the virus.

The government also announced a new traffic-light system that will be used to rate other countries' coronavirus risk.

It will classify countries as either green, amber or red, depending on the number of new coronavirus cases there and also on how that could change in the near future.

"Green" countries will be considered safer than the UK, while "amber£ will be less safe than the green countries.

Travellers from a green or amber country will not have to quarantine.

Those from countries in the red category will be left off the list as they are deemed a risk.

Which countries are considering air bridges?

Spain, France and Italy are set to be among the first to have air bridge agreements with the UK.

It is expected to be in place in early July, joining a host of other nations including Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Finland, Bermuda, Gibraltar and Austria.

UK tourists could eventually visit Portugal too, as both countries have agreed to potentially allow access to the country for British families without quarantining.

Portugal's foreign minister confirmed his country is talking to UK counterparts about air bridges so tourists can avoid being quarantined.

Augusto Santos Silva told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that "quarantine is an enemy of tourism".

He added: "Our diplomats will work together to guarantee that British tourists coming to Portugal would not be subjected on their return to England to any kind of quarantine."

And these would only be in the first step, with the Caribbean, Canada and Dubai allowing for holidays in August.

However, for those eyeing up a trip to the USA or Mexico, you could have to wait until December - and the Grand Cayman Islands isn't due to reopen until the autumn.

The Greek government has also announced that it is extending a ban on direct flights arriving from Britain, pushing it back to July 15.

Are air bridges already in place?

Travel between Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey is allowed without the need to quarantine as part of the Common Travel Area.

However, overnight stays are not currently allowed, so a holiday is off the cards.

With the islands borders remaining closed, this is likely to remain the case until further lockdown measures are eased.

Airlines are ready with flights when travel is allowed again, with easyJet and BA offering domestic routes next month.

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