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Air Bridges Expected To Be Introduced On July 4 Spain News

Spain, Portugal and Greece, as well as UK territories including Gibraltar, the British Virgin Islands and Bermuda, could all be included, under plans to implement air bridges from July 4.

The plans would mean that British tourists could be allowed to skip any isolation rules that are currently in place in selected countries. They would also be able to skip quarantine when arriving back into the UK from these countries.

It is also expected that the Foreign Office is set to relax its guidance for allowing Brits making any non-essential travel abroad.

The Telegraph has been told by a source that "The plan is to announce a small number of air bridges on June 29, though it won’t come into force until July 4.

"Obviously it will depend on factors such as the scientific advice and the level of coronavirus infections at the time."

On June 29, the UK Government will undertake its first review of the controversial quarantine policy, that came into force last week.

Matt Hancock, the UK Health Secretary, spoke to Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday and confirmed that the government is not far from introducing travel corridors between the UK and certain countries which is expected to include popular holiday destinations such as Spain and Portugal.

He said "That’s the plan. The quarantine policy is important because there are some countries around the world where this virus is not under control, however, there are other countries where it may be safe to be able to not have a quarantine in place."

"So ahead of the formal review of the quarantine arrangements on the 29th of June, I'm working with Grant Shapps on whether there are countries that have a low rate of infection where we can come to an agreement on a travel corridor."

It’s also believed that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has had talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, who arrived in the UK yesterday, about how people will be able to move safely between France and Britain.

He also reiterated what the Health Secretary had said, saying that air bridges were being considered and that they would enable holidaymakers to travel overseas, without entering into self-isolation when they return.

Speaking at Tuesday's Downing Street press conference, Mr Johnson said: "Obviously I will be talking to Emmanuel Macron about all sorts of ways in which we can bring our countries together, making sure that eventually, we will be able to travel freely to and from each other's countries".

"The same goes obviously for Spain, as soon as we can".

"The reason for having the quarantine system is very simple - we don't want to re-import the disease just at the moment when we've really got it under control in this country.

"But we're certainly looking at air bridges and ways to ensure that people can safely go on holiday eventually."

This comes after Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, indicated that the government is trying to help the struggling tourism industry, by “actively working” on introducing travel corridors.

Earlier on Tuesday, Mr Shapps spoke to LBC radio and said "We won't be in a position to announce which countries - where reciprocal arrangements go in place - until the 29th. So don't expect anything this week, I think I'm right in saying it's only the end of next week."

He said the measure was introduced because "we don't want to go back to kind of importing (the virus) or Brits going abroad and bringing it back with them".

Currently, most international arrivals into the UK are required to go into self-isolation for 14 days, while in France, a two-week quarantine is currently in place for UK visitors.

All passengers arriving back into the UK, bar a handful of exemptions, have to fill out an online locator form giving their travel and contact details, as well as the address of where they will isolate.

More than 500 travel and hospitality businesses, who have been campaigning against the policy said last week that they had "received private assurances from senior Government sources that travel corridors will be in place from June 29".

Spain has announced that it may impose its own 14-day quarantine requirement for UK tourists.

Spain’s Foreign Affairs Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya told the BBC's Hardtalk programme: "We will be checking what the UK will be doing and we will be in dialogue with the UK to see whether or not we should be introducing reciprocity as they have different measures than the rest of the EU."

She added: "The health situation ... is a little bit better in Spain than it is in the UK."

This came after Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced over the weekend that tourists from many European nations would be welcome from June 21.

On Monday many other countries on the continent eased their border restrictions, but many have still kept their entry restrictions for UK holidaymakers.

Belgium, Switzerland, Italy and Portugal are all countries that have said they don’t require UK holidaymakers to enter quarantine

The airline trade body, The International Air Transport Association said that "Rapid Covid-19 testing of passengers from countries considered as higher risk, could remove the need for burdensome and intrusive measures such as quarantine".