UK will ditch travel quarantine for 75 countries, Telegraph says

LONDON (Reuters) - The British government will effectively ditch its air bridge plans and simply end coronavirus quarantine rules for those arriving from 75 countries so that people can go on holiday, the Telegraph newspaper reported.

It said the UK would shortly lift a ban on non-essential travel to nearly all EU destinations, the British territories including Bermuda and Gibraltar, and Turkey, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand.

Asked about the report, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “As we set out earlier this week ... we will be easing health measures at the border by allowing passengers arriving from specific countries and territories to be exempted from self-isolation requirements.”

He said the next steps in the policy would be set out this week.

Johnson’s government has been grappling with how to open up international travel after it imposed a 2-week quarantine for arrivals, which has added to the woes of the tourism and travel industry.

It first discussed creating air bridges or travel corridors with countries popular with British tourists, but now seems to be favouring lifting the measures for certain countries.

Last Friday, Britain said it would ditch the 14-day quarantine period for people arriving from countries such as France, Greece and Spain.

Simon Clarke, a junior housing, communities and local government minister, said the government wanted to get the tourism sector back on its feet.

“We will provide this announcement as soon as it is safe,” Clarke told Sky. “Clearly we want to get the tourism sector back on its feet as quickly as we can and I’m sure that we will be able to give good news in the near future.”

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, Kate Holton and Elizabeth Piper; editing by Michael Holden