The Malta Independent 30 May 2020, Saturday

UK travel on the horizon? Britain mulling ‘air bridges’ with low-risk countries

Wednesday, 20 May 2020, 10:57 Last update: about 9 days ago

The UK is mulling setting up ‘air bridges’ which would allow visitors from low-risk countries without having to quarantine for 14 days.

British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the strict quarantine on all arrivals into Britain could be relaxed in favour of a more targeted focus on people from high-risk countries.

In order to prevent a second Covid-19 outrbreak, the UK will impose a two-week self-isolation period for anyone who arrives in the country, but there could be exceptions for people coming from countries with low infection rates. The restrictions, the UK government said, will be reviewed every three weeks to ensure that they remain “effective and necessary.”

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The idea was well-received by the head of the UK’s tourism agency. Visit Britain CEO Patricia Yates said thit is an "interesting" idea and indicated the US could be open to agreeing a deal.

 

Last week, Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli said the government is discussing the possibility of setting up ‘safe corridors’ with nine countries that have also managed to keep Covid-19 numbers low. The UK is, so far, not among them. The countries Malta is in discussions with are: Luxembourg, Norway, Serbia, Slovakia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania and Israel.

The UK and Italy are Malta’s main tourism markets.

The announcement that flights could be resumed soon has been met with mixed reactions.

MHRA boss Tony Zahra is in favour of reopening the airport, while the head of the nurses’ union, Paul Pace, has strongly warned against it.

Opposition Leader Adrian Delia said on Saturday that flights should only resume if deemed safe by the health authorities.

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