GRAB your suitcases and sun lotion… from July 4 Britons are expected to be free to fly to countries including Spain and Greece, without having to do 14 days in quarantine on their return.
Boris Johnson was last night said to be close to agreeing a series of ‘air bridges’ with nations where Covid-19 is being brought under control.
France, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, Germany, Gibraltar, Italy and the Netherlands are all expected to be on the list. But Portugal and Sweden could remain off limits amid concerns about new coronavirus spikes in both countries. The first batch of ‘approved’ nations is likely to be confirmed either this weekend or on Monday by the prime minister.
Other destinations, including Turkey, are likely to be added next month or in August, with long-haul flights following later in the summer to Hong Kong and Singapore.
Officials are reportedly also in talks over approving flights to Australia, but connections would have to be made in low-risk countries.
Foreign Office advice still in place yesterday is to avoid all but ‘essential’ travel abroad.
But ministers have been talking for a while about the idea of air bridges, which transport secretary Grant Shapps has said will only be set up with nations that have similar test and trace systems to Britain’s.
The US, Mexico and South America are expected to remind out of bounds until late this year at the earliest.
Greek tourism minister Harry Theocharis yesterday said his country wanted UK holidaymakers to return when it reopens from next Wednesday.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘The final decision will be in place in the next few days and I’m hoping the announcement will be positive from both sides. Greece is a safe country.’
EasyJet announced yesterday it would launch hundreds more UK flights from July 1, to destinations including France, Italy and Spain. Paul Charles, of pressure group Quash Quarantine, said the travel sector was ‘relieved’ by reports of the air bridges plan.