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UK discusses quarantine-free travel agreements

Kirsty O'Connor

By Gabriella Peralta and agencies

ravel agreements between the UK and other countries, including Gibraltar, for quarantine-free “air bridges” are expected to be in place by the end of the month.

This comes after UK transport secretary Grant Shapps indicated that the UK Government is “actively working” on introducing travel corridors, to help the struggling tourism industry.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would be discussing travel with France and Spain, and reiterated that air bridges, enabling holidaymakers to travel overseas without entering self-isolation when they return, were being considered.

The Gibraltar Government told the Chronicle they are “unable to say more at this stage” regarding any travel agreements with the UK.

“We continue in contact with the United Kingdom in this respect,” a spokesman added.

Currently most international arrivals into the UK are required to go into self-isolation for 14 days.

A report in The Times stated the newspaper understood the reciprocal deals are likely to be brokered with a small number of European countries including Greece, Portugal and Spain, rather than the whole of the EU.

The report added travel is also likely to be possible between the UK and its overseas territories such as Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands and Gibraltar and details would be given in less than two weeks’ time.

June 29 is the date for the UK Government’s first review of its travel quarantine policy.

Currently all passengers, bar a handful of exemptions, have to fill out an online locator form giving their contact and travel details, as well as the address of where they will isolate.

Mr Shapps said the measure was introduced because “we don’t want to go back to kind of importing (the virus) or Brits going abroad and bringing it back with them.”

A group of more than 500 UK travel and hospitality businesses campaigning against the policy said last week they had “received private assurances from senior UK Government sources that travel corridors will be in place from June 29.”

Spain has warned that it may impose its own 14-day quarantine requirement for UK tourists.

Foreign affairs minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya told the BBC’s Hardtalk programme: “We will be checking what the UK will be doing and we will be in dialogue with the UK to see whether or not we should be introducing reciprocity as they have different measures than the rest of the EU.”

She added: “The health situation… is a little bit better in Spain than it is in the UK.”

This came after Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sanchez announced over the weekend that tourists from many European nations would be welcome from June 21.