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Holiday hope for Brits as 'safe corridors' to Spain and Greece could open by July

Mirror logo Mirror 23/05/2020 Anna MacSwan
a group of people standing in a room: It is hoped the measures could be in place by the summer break © AFP via Getty Images It is hoped the measures could be in place by the summer break

"Safe corridors" could allow Brits to holiday abroad this summer without having to quarantine.

Ministers are hoping to strike deals with a number of countries - including France, Spain and Greece - permitting travel as soon as July.

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It comes after the Government confirmed today that anyone arriving in the UK from overseas will have to self-isolate for 14 days from June 8, appearing to kill off hopes of a foreign getaway this summer.

The strict new measures - designed to prevent a second wave of coronavirus infections from abroad - will apply to nearly all travellers including returning Brits.

Anyone found breaching the rules could be fined £1,000.

a group of people standing next to a fence: Ministers hope to secure © AFP via Getty Images Ministers hope to secure

However, ministers hope that families can still enjoy a summer holiday overseas through a series of "air bridges" or quarantine-free pacts with countries with low numbers of Covid-19 cases.

Another measure under consideration is issuing "Covid passports" to those who have recovered from the deadly bug, and are therefore likely to have some immunity, the Daily Mail reports.

Speaking at the Downing Street briefing today, Home Secretary Priti Patel said she is "absolutely open" to the idea of air bridges.

"When it comes to air bridges, look, I think we should be absolutely open to all ideas," she said.

"This is not for today, but this doesn't mean we should rule this out in the future."

a person holding a bag of luggage: The measure would allow Brits to holiday abroad without having to quarantine © AFP via Getty Images The measure would allow Brits to holiday abroad without having to quarantine

It is understood that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has set up a working group to look at setting up "safe corridors" in time for the summer break.

Under the new regime, all but a short list of exemptions including road hauliers and medical officials will have to provide border officials with an address where they will quarantine.

Outlining the plans, Ms Patel said: "As the world begins to emerge from what we hope is the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, we must look to the future and protect the British public by reducing the risk of imported cases.

"We are introducing these new measures now to keep the transmission rate down and prevent a devastating second wave."

The announcement has prompted backlash from airlines and the tourism industry, who fear it will damage the UK's economic recovery as it gradually emerges from lockdown.

a chair sitting in front of a building: It is hoped that Brits could visit France, Spain or Greece under © AFP via Getty Images It is hoped that Brits could visit France, Spain or Greece under

Tim Alderslade of the industry group Airlines UK has said that blanket quarantine would "shut down" the aviation and travel sectors.

"We need to be much more targeted and risk-based, opening up travel corridors with low-risk countries that more effectively achieves our public health objectives while enabling people to get away this summer," he said.

Meanwhile Charlie Cornish, the chief executive of Stansted Airport, said: "A blanket quarantine will seriously jeopardise the long term future of the sector and put tens of thousands of jobs, and billions of pounds of economic value, at risk."

Former Brexit Secretary David Davis is among MPs who have criticised the plans, tweeting: "It is unwise to restrict travel from countries who have handled the coronavirus better than us.

"Greece, for example, has a low infection rate and low number of deaths. Their economy relies on their tourism industry. It is unfair to punish them."

Responding to his tweet, Labour MP Ben Bradshaw also described the plans as "barmy".

"Not often I agree with @DavidDavisMP, but he's right to say there's a stronger case for quarantining arrivals at King's Cross from Yorkshire than on arrivals from low infection countries like Greece, Malta and Portugal."

Stay at home as much as possible to stop coronavirus spreading - here is the latest government guidance. If you think you have the virus, don't go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and get advice online. Only call NHS 111 if you cannot cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. In parts of Wales where 111 isn't available, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. In Scotland, anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days. In Northern Ireland, call your GP.

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