British holidaymakers are awaiting the publication of the Government’s list of countries it will have air bridges with, as changes to the UK’s travel policy are expected soon.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised British nationals against all but essential international travel since late March, and current guidance states that anyone arriving in the UK mst now quarantine for 14 days.
But a number of short-haul flights to European countries are expected to resume from next month in a bid to kick-start the tourism industry.
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Here’s what we know so far about whether Portugal will have an air bridge:
What is an air bridge?
Also known as travel corridors, air bridges are expected to allow Britons to go on holiday to certain destinations without needing to quarantine when they arrive or on their return to the UK.
In place of the quarantine arrangements will be a traffic light system, with officials placing countries into green, amber and red categories based on the prevalence of coronavirus within each nation’s borders.
It is expected a quarantine-free list of countries will be published on Wednesday, and restrictions could be lifted as soon as 6 July.
The Government is also expected to announce Britain’s first air bridges with “low-risk” European destinations next week, including France, Italy, Spain, Greece and Germany.
According to reports, air bridges will be announced in batches, with the second set of destinations likely to include other European countries such as Denmark, Norway, Finland and the Netherlands, and “low-risk” Caribbean islands.
Additionally Home Secretary Priti Patel said these air bridges will not come into effect overnight.
Will Portugal have an air bridge?
Earlier this month it was reported that an air bridge between the UK and Portugal could be agreed by the end of June.
But the Greater Lisbon area has seen an average of 315 new cases a day in June, and last Monday Prime Minister António Costa imposed stricter controls on businesses and residents.
Consequently, tourism officials in Portugal are still in discussion with the British Government over air bridges.
The Portuguese foreign minister Augusto Santos Silver previously told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that “quarantine is an enemy of tourism” and anyone wanting a holiday in Portugal this summer would be “most welcome”.
But the absence of a formal announcement on air bridges so far hasn’t stopped holiday-makers from making bookings. TravelSupermarket reported this weekend had been the busiest for bookings since the start of lockdown, with searches doubling and bookings increasing by 50 per cent.