We have known since Friday roughly what the government had planned for air bridges. This afternoon they finally quietly admitted defeat with their shambolic quarantine rules which were only introduced on 8 June and are being discarded after less than a month. An announcement appeared on the government website with little fanfare.
Sadly, the announcement was devoid of any details or usefulness!
Grand Shapps said “I can confirm that the government will shortly begin to ease the health measures at the UK border, allowing passengers to be exempted from self-isolation requirements in certain circumstances on arrival in the UK. This will apply to international rail, maritime, and aviation.”
The Joint Biosecurity Centre, in consultation with Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer, has developed a categorisation of countries that are considered lower risk and will not require 14 days quarantine for arriving passengers into the UK. This is believed to a be a red, amber and green traffic light system. Green countries would not require quarantine and red definitely would. It is not clear what amber status means yet.
Previously it was not totally clear what the exact criteria for the safe list were. Apparently it is not just the prevalence of coronavirus within the country but also the numbers of new cases and potential trajectory of cases. This may explain why Portugal is believed not to be included.
The full list of the countries and territories from which arriving passengers will be exempted from self-isolation requirements will be announced later this week. Last week news channels were saying that this would be on Wednesday this week. The BBC is now reporting that it will be tomorrow, Tuesday 30 June.
As I predicted this means that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is reviewing its advice for only essential travel. I would expect that all green countries from the list would be removed from the warning and all red countries would remain in it. What is not clear is what happens to amber category countries.
Even when the list of countries is revealed, you will also need to check what that countries entry requirements are. Many European countries still have quarantine or are banning entry from certain countries. You can find out the latest information here.
Remember you will need to check your existing travel insurance to see if you will be covered for COVID-19 as many do not. If you need new insurance, have a read of this article.