UK: Health experts cast doubt on hopes for holiday 'air bridges'

WION Web Team London, England Jun 03, 2020, 08.30 AM(IST)

Coronavirus in London, UK Photograph:( AFP )

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Britain had confirmed on it was looking at establishing "air bridges" with countries with low rates of coronavirus, exempting them from controversial quarantine measures.

Public health experts and officials have warned that the idea of ''air bridge'' links between the UK and overseas holiday destinations may prove impossible this summer, amid continued concern over how they could operate safely.

Britain had confirmed on Tuesday it was looking at establishing "air bridges" with countries with low rates of coronavirus, exempting them from controversial quarantine measures.

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A series of reports have predicted air bridges could be in place by the end of June. While this appears to be the preference of the Department for Transport, other departments are understood to be more cautious and want to establish how they would work.

David Hunter, professor of epidemiology at Oxford University, said: ''Air bridges between countries with similar Covid risks make sense, if it’s in the interests of both countries. When it’s asymmetric, it’s not obvious how that would work.''

Public health experts have also noted the potential logistical difficulties of the UK having arrangements with any European countries that currently have much lower coronavirus infection levels.

Authorities in England will carry out spot checks on those self-isolating and breaches of the rules could be punished by a £1,000 fine or prosecution.

Foreign nationals could be deported "as a last resort" if they break quarantine, while non-resident foreign nationals who do not comply could be refused entry at the border.

Under a plan announced last month to try to limit the spread of COVID-19, international arrivals from June 8 will be required to self-isolate for a fortnight.