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Travel: Air bridges shelved

The Daily Telegraph reports that holidaymakers are to be cleared for take-off to 75 countries.

Individual air bridges will be effectively abandoned by the Government, as it emerged that as many as 75 countries will be on the first quarantine exemption list for British holidaymakers. The list, to be published today, will lift the Foreign Office ban on non-essential travel to nearly all EU destinations, the British territories including Bermuda and Gibraltar, and Turkey, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand. All 75 have been judged sufficiently low risk destinations for holidaymakers based on the prevalence of Covid-19, that their infection rate is in decline and that their data on the state of the disease can be trusted.

(image above - Sky News)

It means that from Monday travellers to the 75 countries will no longer have to quarantine for 14 days on their return to the UK although some like Australia and New Zealand are expected to retain border controls and quarantine for as long as the rest of 2020. Greece, which is expected to be a 'green' rated low-risk country under the Government's traffic light system, has suspended flights from the UK until July 15 due to the UK’s higher Coronavirus rate. The USA, Russia and Brazil will be among countries on the 'red' list where the ban on non-essential travel will continue. Sweden, which tops the table in the EU with a rate of 60 cases of Coronavirus per 100,000 of the population, is expected to be classed as 'red' while Portugal with a rate of 20 per 100,000 is also thought to be at risk of being excluded after an outbreak in and around Lisbon.

Airport terminals are likely to be less busy than previously for some time still to come.

(Heathrow Airport Ltd)

The move will be welcomed by the travel and aviation industry and holidaymakers but was seen on Wednesday night as tacit acceptance that bilateral 'air bridges' or travel corridors, were unworkable. Paul Charles, a spokesman for the Quash Quarantine campaign group of 500 travel and hospitality businesses, said: “We have said all along that air bridges were unsustainable in Europe because you can’t restrict people travelling in the EU or Schengen.

“It’s sensible and logical and I wish we could have had it earlier. It begs the question as to why have we gone round in circ