The United Kingdom is set to open its doors to non-essential travellers beginning next month as part of the government’s efforts to revive the ailing economy.
Ministers have said that blanket restrictions will be relaxed starting July 6 without the passengers having to undergo a 14-day quarantine, according to a report by BBC.
A government spokesman was quoted as saying that the relaxation of rules would give travellers “the opportunity for a summer holiday” overseas while supporting the UK economy that has been dampened by the three-month lockdown caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
Only travellers from Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Greece, Belgium, Finland, Norway, Turkey, and Germany are covered by the relaxation, with the easing based on risks staying low.
Those coming from Sweden and Portugal remain excluded.
Sweden at present has a higher number of virus infections than the UK while Portugal has seen a rise in the number of cases in Lisbon recently.
According to the report, a traffic light system will be imposed upon execution, with countries classified as green, red, and amber depending on their cases of transmission. Sweden and Portugal are classified as red.
The government said it “wouldn’t hesitate to put on the brakes” if the situation changes.
The government spokesman said that the full list of travel guidelines was expected to be published next week.
Given Spain and Portugal’s share borders, the government admitted that there was no one stopping a person flying in to a Spain airport and crossing the UK without undergoing mandatory quarantine.
Earlier this month, the travel sector, including Europe-based carriers, have been in a spat with the UK government over its quarantine policies.
British Airways, Easyjet, and Ryanair said that they sued the government to force judges to review a new rule from the British Home Office that required all travellers to self-isolate for two weeks.
Instead, the three were lobbying for the re-adoption of the March 10 policy to limit quarantine measures to only passengers coming from “high-risk” countries.
The alliance argued that the rule “unfairly” punishes inbound passengers from low-risk countries by self-isolating, saying they will be discouraged from coming to the UK even as the lockdown restriction gets lifted.
The government introduced the new policy this week, requiring passengers to fill in a form detailing where they will self-quarantine for two weeks. The new policy was applied to both UK citizens and foreigners, while those who fail to comply will face a penalty.