Air bridges between UK and low-risk countries could be introduced at end of June

Quarantine-free travel between Britain and some countries could be introduced at the end of this month if infection rates in the UK and abroad are sufficiently low.

The British government is understood to be considering so-called “air bridges” to enable people to travel without having to spend two weeks self-isolating on their return.

Current plans mean all international arrivals – apart from people carrying out a limited number of specified roles – would need to quarantine for 14 days from Monday.

The plan has been fiercely criticised by travel and hospitality businesses, and government ministers are understood to be considering introducing air bridges when the policy is reviewed three weeks after it comes into force.

Agreements would need to be reached with other countries before any policy could be introduced. The Daily Telegraph reported Prime Minister Boris Johnson was “personally in favour” of the idea.

Further details of the quarantine proposal are expected to be laid before the British Parliament today.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Coronavirus-related deaths in hospitals in England (PA Graphics)</figcaption>
Coronavirus-related deaths in hospitals in England (PA Graphics)

The Guardian reported quarantined travellers would be able to go food shopping, change accommodation and use public transport from airports.

But a government source said people would be expected to stay in one home, use private transport and only venture outside where absolutely necessary.

It comes as MPs return to Westminster after the government dropped virtual proceedings, despite concerns that shielding politicians would be unable to attend.

The government has tabled a motion preventing the resumption of virtual voting that allowed MPs to have their say from afar during the pandemic, but opposition parties are seeking to retain it.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>PMQs in the Commons (House of Commons/PA)</figcaption>
PMQs in the Commons (House of Commons/PA)

In other developments:

– A new study suggested physical distancing of at least one metre lowers the risk of coronavirus transmission, but two metres could be more effective.

– Directors of public health in England warned they are “increasingly concerned” the government is making the wrong judgment by easing lockdown restrictions far too quickly.

– A poll found 48% of Britons have been exposed to misinformation about Covid-19 online, prompting calls for health officials to “step up” efforts to combat the spread of so-called fake news.

– The total number of UK deaths involving Covid-19 continued to rise above 48,000.

Lockdown restrictions are being eased and thousands of young children in England returned to primary school yesterday

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