Brits join tourists flooding into Majorca as 144 flights touch down on holiday island and ministers FINALLY prepare to unveil list of exempt countries tomorrow
- Planes from Manchester and London landed on the holiday island today
- Ministers are finally set to release official list of air bridge countries tomorrow
- The EU has revealed 15 countries outside the bloc will be allowed to travel freely
- Claims UK quarantine pointless as the states can just come via ar bridge country
The first British holidaymakers have touched down in Majorca as Spain opens the country’s borders.
Planes touched down today carrying British passengers from both London and Manchester, as 144 flights made their way to the holiday island.
The passengers, a mixture of tourists and expats, were set to enjoy temperatures of 34°C as they returned for the first time since an easing of coronavirus lockdown measures – the day before ministers prepare to unveil a list of exempt countries.
Many Brits who landed flooded straight to the island’s beaches to soak up the sun.
Many of the travellers who arrived at the airport today headed straight to the seaside
British holidaymakers stroll down a strip along the holiday island after arriving in Majorca today
Passengers with face masks and luggage wait after arriving at the airport
Tourists flooded to the beaches, which were far quieter than usual in July – as they enjoyed temperatures of 34°C
Today ministers warned that loopholes in ‘air bridge’ plans could make the UK’s quarantine rules pointless.
With holiday makers anxiously awaiting the government’s list of exempt destinations tomorrow, there are claims a swathe of other countries will be able to dodge the 14-day restrictions even if they are not included.
The EU yesterday agreed 15 states from outside the bloc – including Algeria, Japan, China, Rwanda, Thailand, Morocco and Tunisia – will be allowed to come and go freely.
However, that raises the prospect they could just take an indirect route to the UK via an air bridge.
Sunseekers on the beach in Croatia yesterday – one of the destinations expected to feature on the air bridge list
He took the action despite UK plans to include Greece in a ‘green’ group of countries it was safe for Britons to travel to using quarantine-free air bridges, when an official list is released later this week
Tory MP Henry Smith, chairman of the cross-party Future of Aviation Group, told the Telegraph the whole quarantine idea should be rethought.
‘It starts to beg the question as to whether we should have a broader opening up, rather than bilateral corridors,’ he said.
The government’s list of air bridges had been expected to be released last week, and was then delayed again from the formal quarantine review date on Monday. There were heavy hints it would be published today, but it is now due tomorrow.
There is speculation is will include 50 countries, including most Western European states and British overseas territories.
Turkey’s ambassador to the UK said this morning that his country believes it will be among them.
Umit Yalcin insisted it is safe to open up travel despite a recent spike in cases after lockdown restrictions to combat the spread of Covid-19 were eased.
‘I’m optimistic because we are expecting to be included in that list because, scientifically, the facts and figures should talk and the numbers related to corona for Turkey is very low,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
‘All the numbers relatively and comparatively with other countries are very low, especially in touristic areas in the Aegean and Mediterranean coast the numbers are zero.
‘Because of that reason we are expected to be included on that list.’
Pressed that numbers nationwide in Turkey are high, the ambassador said ‘we are not expecting that second wave’ and argued that cases are centred on cities.
However, travel firms have been forced to scrap thousands of flights and holiday packages in Greece after the nation extended its ban on arrivals from the UK.
TUI, Ryanair, Easyjet, Jet2 and British Airways have all axed travel plans for Brits who booked in the hope of a quick getaway in early July.
But the Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has extended a UK flight ban that was due to end today to July 15.
Greece has been relatively lightly affected by coronavirus, but the UK continues to be one of the worst affected countries in Europe.
TUI, Ryanair, Easyjet, Jet2 and British Airways have all axed travel plans to Greece (pictured) for Brits who booked in the hope of a quick getaway in early July
Tui, the UK’s biggest tour operator, was due to serve four Greek islands when it resumed operations on July 11, while EasyJet had announced plans to resume flights from the UK to Greece next week with fares starting at £39.99.
The boss of TUI yesterday demanded clarity over the air bridge scheme, warning that other countries could follow Greece’s example.
Andrew Flintham, managing director of TUI UK & Ireland, said the proposal could only work after ‘two-way conversations’ between Britain and other countries, adding: ‘I think there’s still going to be a few bumps in the road.’
Under the traffic light system, drawn up by the Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England and set to be in place by July 6, countries will be rated green, amber or red based on coronavirus infection levels, the reliability of official data and confidence in test and trace systems.
The automatic 14-day quarantine requirement will remain only for ‘red-rated’ countries such as the US and Brazil.
Travel between ‘green’ and ‘amber’ countries will be quarantine-free, but passengers will have to fill in a ‘locator form’ to trace their movements.
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