Air bridges with European countries given "green light"

Mogster

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I'd rather our borders were fully closed until a vaccine or effective treatment, and we could abandon all social distancing measures myself. Goods can travel without people.

Definitely think NZ got it right in that respect.
I agree turtling is attractive in this case but I don’t see how it’d ever be a practical approach for the UK.

Aus and NZ are geographically isolated with relatively few international travellers, aviation is the major access path. The UK may be an island but we have Europe only 30 miles away. We have legitimate access by air, rail, sea, illegal entry but all sorts of methods and the global mega hub that’s London in the corner of the country. As Italy found out early on if you close the airports determined people will just find other ways to enter and in Europe they have plenty of options. Then there’s the problem of what happens when your threat doesn’t disappear, you can’t continue turtling for years watching you economy be destroyed. NZ is struggling with this conundrum now, what do you do?
 
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LNW-GW Joint

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NZ plans to have a local bridge with Australia, which widens the economy significantly.
NZ's strong links with the Pacific islands might be a problem though (mainly for the islands).
NZ's tourism sector is large relative to its population; Asia is a strong market for them (as it is for Australia).
 

sheff1

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You know what they really want....they want the ability to control their own external borders, and the ability to close the internal borders. Or more specifically, to keep the English out.

The Welsh actually let that slip some weeks ago before rowing back.
A Trump-type wall between England & Wales - I can see quite a bit of support for that on the English side :).

As usual on these threads the same old faces spout the "I don't want to do something so nobody should be allowed to do it". Such people are free to stay in their boarded up houses until an effective vaccine appears or they reach the end of their life, whichever comes first. Meanwhile people who are happy to travel to a foreign country should be free to do so as long as the destination country is happy to let them in which, of course, the 'Air Bridge' countries are.
 
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And now Nicola Sturgeon is being asked to consider quarantining visitors from England.

That’s crazy. In an ideal world, yes, that’s what would happen. However in the real world it’s just not a practical option.
 

Silverlinky

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Actually even that is misleading.....for thousands it would have to be plural, ie 2000 at least. May 29th was the last day we had more than 2000 cases (2095), so in the THIRTY days since then we have not been in the thousands.
Todays figure wasn't even 1000 (901), there were 1221 reported last Sunday and 1514 the Sunday before......
 

duncanp

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The latest figures are 890 new cases (27th June) and 100 deaths (26th June), so hardly "thousands" of cases.

What actually matters is whether the number of new cases and the number of deaths is manageable.

One of the governments tests for lifting the lockdown is avoiding a second peak in the virus which overwhelms the NHS,not just avoiding a second peak in the virus.

Every time you ease restrictions, there is a small risk of an increase in cases, but you can't use this as an argument for not lifting the restrictions in the first place.
 

nlogax

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As a keen flyer, but traveller in general, I think I'll give these air bridges a miss for now and use land transport only. My CO2 footprint will be down and I've already flown 4 times between the 14th of January and the 10th of March 2020.

Noel Philips' latest video was enough to put me off flying for now!
Same here. I'll probably only fly London <> Glasgow in coming months and that's only if the train isn't convenient for whatever reason. Direct domestic flights only. Noel's video was a lesson in why transferring through different countries is a nightmare at the moment due to all the conflicting advice and airlines not being up to speed.

Not intending on using any of the air bridges on offer at the moment and the countries I do want to visit are seeing C-19 numbers increase again. Looks like the grounding continues!
 

island

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Priti Patel was on Sky News rowing back on the plans and has said the measures won’t come in overnight and there will need to be negotiation and discussion with the other countries involved.
 

Ianno87

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Priti Patel was on Sky News rowing back on the plans and has said the measures won’t come in overnight and there will need to be negotiation and discussion with the other countries involved.
I get the impression lots of people got excited and booked holidays perhaps slightly prematurely following the carrot-dangle at the weekend...
 

Chester1

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Priti Patel was on Sky News rowing back on the plans and has said the measures won’t come in overnight and there will need to be negotiation and discussion with the other countries involved.
I get the impression lots of people got excited and booked holidays perhaps slightly prematurely following the carrot-dangle at the weekend...
I suspect the government wants to delay restart of foreign holidays until the start of the school holidays. Our domestic tourism will probably take that long from 4th July to reach maximum capacity and a delay in foreign holidays would provide an economic boost. If they don't end the quarantine in time for the school holidays then its going to be every family for themselves in a mad scramble for a very finite supply of UK accommodation. I don't fancy being in a British tourist destination then, packed won't begin to describe the average beach on the south coast etc.

I will be going abroad before the summer holidays, whether or not the quarantine is lifted. There are small number of companies that offer travel insurance (excluding Covid-19 treatment) to places that Foreign Office advises against travel to. I would rely on EHIC for medical treatment if I caught Covid-19. If still necessary I will quarantine for 14 days and WFH. Currently Brits can travel to Spain and Italy with a few other countries allowing us in from 1st July. Greece has delayed until 15th July. It appears they are holding off until start of school holidays to minimise health risks but still have British tourists for the most lucrative part of the summer.
 

Mag_seven

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What has happened to the air bridges which were (according to the article linked to in the OP) supposed to be in place from yesterday 29th June?

Tourists from Britain will be able to fly to selected destinations from 29th June under new air bridge schemes.
 

Tetchytyke

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All this talk of air bridges and summer holidays feels to me like trying to run before you can walk. Sitting here on the outside, it really doesn't look like England has a handle on Covid at all. I'd be amazed if other European countries don't feel the same about how England is (not) getting to grips with Covid.

Here on the rock we have no social distancing laws, everything is open and there are no restrictions on gatherings. I went out for a birthday pizza and several refreshing pints of Bushy's on Saturday and didn't have to wear a mask, or pre-book a pub table, or even stand more than 1m away from the person next to me. All this and yet our border remains firmly closed because our government don't think England have a handle on it. Public opinion here is right behind our government. We have just set up one air bridge with Guernsey who, like us, are now Covid-free, and Aurigny are about to fly from here to St Peter Port. Other than that, nothing.

I just find the whole thing bizarre. Get a grip in your own country before worrying about jetting off to another one, surely?
 

adc82140

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What has happened to the air bridges which were (according to the article linked to in the OP) supposed to be in place from yesterday 29th June?
It's yet another example of the media misrepresenting what was said. The announcement was always going to be week commencing 29th June, not actually on the day.
 

JonathanH

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I just find the whole thing bizarre. Get a grip in your own country before worrying about jetting off to another one, surely?
Basic problem is that there are too many people to manage in England and trying to do it from the centre with a Covid problem so widespread is near impossible. The whole response really needs to start being managed on a regional basis matching local needs to actions.

That is why it is under better control in the other three nations.
 

yorkie

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Can we try to stick to discussing the subject of Air bridges with European countries given "green light"

There are other threads to discuss other topics.
 

Chester1

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All this talk of air bridges and summer holidays feels to me like trying to run before you can walk. Sitting here on the outside, it really doesn't look like England has a handle on Covid at all. I'd be amazed if other European countries don't feel the same about how England is (not) getting to grips with Covid.

Here on the rock we have no social distancing laws, everything is open and there are no restrictions on gatherings. I went out for a birthday pizza and several refreshing pints of Bushy's on Saturday and didn't have to wear a mask, or pre-book a pub table, or even stand more than 1m away from the person next to me. All this and yet our border remains firmly closed because our government don't think England have a handle on it. Public opinion here is right behind our government. We have just set up one air bridge with Guernsey who, like us, are now Covid-free, and Aurigny are about to fly from here to St Peter Port. Other than that, nothing.

I just find the whole thing bizarre. Get a grip in your own country before worrying about jetting off to another one, surely?
Your assuming that the UK will ever "get a grip" on Covid-19. For as long as its in circulation there will be people demanding the borders stay effectively closed. How would you feel about not being able to visit the UK for the next couple of years without quarantining for 14 days on return to Isle of Man?
 

Tetchytyke

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Your assuming that the UK will ever "get a grip" on Covid-19. For as long as its in circulation there will be people demanding the borders stay effectively closed.
I think Wales and Scotland have far more of a handle on things than England because, luckily for them, public health is devolved. So the issue isn't with the UK, the issue is with England.

Some people will remain frightened until Covid is eradicated, which isn't really a reasonable expectation. I'm not one of them. I don't define "under control" as eradication.

To answer your question, if Covid was under control in England I'd be wanting the border to be re-opened. But as it isn't, I'm in no rush. Because of the border we have freedom that nobody else in the British Isles has and, frankly, I'd not swap that for a week in Spain just yet. Ask me again in September.

To try and stay on topic, all this talk of "air bridges" just seems premature. Given how inter-connected international travel is, I'm also sceptical about how it can work, although point-to-point "bucket and spade" flights are the least risky.

Maybe I'm just too cynical in my old age, but this talk appeared when the big corruption scandal involving Robert Jenrick (who also didn't think lockdown applied to him!) hit the papers.
 
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Richard Scott

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I think people really need to get a grip on numbers, new cases have been less or around 1000cases per day for a while, that's 365000 per year or 3.65 million in 10 years and that's still about 7% of the population. I cannot understand why we're still fussing and saying England doesn't have a grip on numbers. In real terms they're tiny and, currently, not growing. The reason Scotland and Wales have smaller numbers is there are fewer people to start with and population density is generally smaller. Sooner we can travel to other countries the better and get on with life. Roll in the air bridges, can't come soon enough.
 

Chester1

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I think people really need to get a grip on numbers, new cases have been less or around 1000cases per day for a while, that's 365000 per year or 3.65 million in 10 years and that's still about 7% of the population. I cannot understand why we're still fussing and saying England doesn't have a grip on numbers. In real terms they're tiny and, currently, not growing. The reason Scotland and Wales have smaller numbers is there are fewer people to start with and population density is generally smaller. Sooner we can travel to other countries the better and get on with life. Roll in the air bridges, can't come soon enough.
The view on Coronavirus in England is more about how people feel towards UK or to the current government. Its not based on the number of tests and cases, where there has been a big shift in the last month. Its quite clear that with the exception of Leicester the restrictions lifted on 15th June haven't caused a spike. I have no doubt that most of those who don't support lifting travel restrictions now will support delaying all summer and then in autumn argue that it risks a second wave.

People who are retired or who can WFH will start going abroad despite travel warning. You can get insurance despite Foreign Office travel advice if you look carefully and combined with EHIC provides adequate cover. There are increasing numbers of flights too. There will be chaos this weekend as domestic tourism restarts and it will probably nudge more adventurous people towards foreign holidays.
 

Silverlinky

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@Tetchytyke Suggest you read this, and other items on this site, and then if you still believe that England "doesn't have a grip" then I can't help you!

The virus will remain, it will not go away in the UK for months if not years. Many very small islands and countries have contained the virus by completely cutting themselves off from the outside world and don't currently have any cases, but even the likes of China and New Zealand are still reporting low numbers.

If "getting a grip" means reducing cases to nil then you're right, we haven't got a grip.....but with death figures only 5% of what they were in the peak, and case numbers around 8%, to suggest in general that we haven't got a grip is just plain wrong.

Hopefully the air bridge scheme is well thought out and countries with low numbers and minimal risks will not change our figures too much, if at all. Even UK holidaymakers travelling to Spain or French tourists coming to the UK will be taking precautions, wearing masks, social distancing etc, so it will all be managed as best as it can be.
 

Tetchytyke

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Suggest you read this, and other items on this site, and then if you still believe that England "doesn't have a grip" then I can't help you!
Interesting reading. As I knew already, it shows things are slowing down, which is a huge positive. But no, I wouldn't interpret it as having a grip. Not yet, anyway. Another 3-4 weeks of consistently low numbers and then yes, I'll agree.

The situation in Leicester, with local public health officials saying they're getting no help and no data from PHE, shows things are not there yet.

Its quite clear that with the exception of Leicester the restrictions lifted on 15th June haven't caused a spike.
I don't think you should dismiss Leicester so easily. The numbers are high but, even more importantly, it is stress-testing track-and-trace. It's fair to say the track-and-trace hasn't come out of it particularly well so far.

The view on Coronavirus in England is more about how people feel towards UK or to the current government. Its not based on the number of tests and cases
It is telling that the IOM government don't want to reopen the border yet, and nor does Guernsey. The States of Jersey re-open theirs on Friday, but with very intensive testing for incomers.

None of it really makes any odds to me- the current Covid rules destroy everything I enjoy about my holidays, so I'd rather save my cash. As I said, I just think it is trying to run before walking; I'd want the stupid rules on UK trains gone first!
 

LNW-GW Joint

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As far as I understand it Grant Shapps is to make a statement tomorrow (Thursday) on travel policy.

Newsnight last night got me very confused about the Ireland situation.
Yes the feeble CTA (Common Travel Area) means there are no formal immigration checks between UK and Ireland.
But the health rules of the two states are different and it wasn't certain that the Ireland quarantine policy would disappear just because the UK lifted restrictions.
Ireland still has an "essential travel only" policy for instance.
It might all be clarified tomorrow (or not).

The EU has published a recommended list of non-EU countries cleared for travel to/from the EU (which for this purpose includes the UK), to be reviewed every 2 weeks.
But there is still the proviso that individual states can make their own rules, and that the "remote" state can deny travel even if the EU approves it.
For example, New Zealand is on the EU travel list, but there's no way NZ will let EU travellers in.
All as clear as mud.

Today, Ryanair were asked by the Welsh Government not to start air services to Spain on Friday as it is against Welsh travel policy.
Not sure how this is playing out with Mr O'Leary.
Knowing him, he might pull out of Cardiff completely in retaliation!
 
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Jamiescott1

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This past weekend I looked for airport parking at Luton in preparation for my flight this Monday and there was only the option of the multi storey car parks attached to the terminal. I looked yesterday and they've now also added the option of long and mid stay. So looks like airports are ramping up for Monday
 

Chester1

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Interesting reading. As I knew already, it shows things are slowing down, which is a huge positive. But no, I wouldn't interpret it as having a grip. Not yet, anyway. Another 3-4 weeks of consistently low numbers and then yes, I'll agree.

The situation in Leicester, with local public health officials saying they're getting no help and no data from PHE, shows things are not there yet.

I don't think you should dismiss Leicester so easily. The numbers are high but, even more importantly, it is stress-testing track-and-trace. It's fair to say the track-and-trace hasn't come out of it particularly well so far.
I may remind you of that in comment in 3-4 weeks! Some people arguing to delay a bit actually want to delay indefinitely. The government will lift the quarantine in time for school holidays. No one will want to take responsibility for chaos that will occur when too many people try to go on holiday in the UK. Watch the news this weekend which will be about idiotic behaviour and over tourism.

Leicester shows the system is working but needs a lot of improvement. That is not a reason to try to trap everyone in the UK all summer.

It is telling that the IOM government don't want to reopen the border yet, and nor does Guernsey. The States of Jersey re-open theirs on Friday, but with very intensive testing for incomers.

None of it really makes any odds to me- the current Covid rules destroy everything I enjoy about my holidays, so I'd rather save my cash. As I said, I just think it is trying to run before walking; I'd want the stupid rules on UK trains gone first!
Are Guernsey and Isle of Man allowing people from anywhere apart from each other in? If no one is allowed in from continental Europe without quarantine etc then its not "telling" about England and just a reflection that they are cutting themselves off from the rest of the world until there is a vaccine.
 

Chester1

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As far as I understand it Grant Shapps is to make a statement tomorrow (Thursday) on travel policy.

Newsnight last night got me very confused about the Ireland situation.
Yes the feeble CTA (Common Travel Area) means there are no formal immigration checks between UK and Ireland.
But the health rules of the two states are different and it wasn't certain that the Ireland quarantine policy would disappear just because the UK lifted restrictions.
Ireland still has an "essential travel only" policy for instance.
It might all be clarified tomorrow (or not).

The EU has published a recommended list of non-EU countries cleared for travel to/from the EU (which for this purpose includes the UK), to be reviewed every 2 weeks.
But there is still the proviso that individual states can make their own rules, and that the "remote" state can deny travel even if the EU approves it.
For example, New Zealand is on the EU travel list, but there's no way NZ will let EU travellers in.
All as clear as mud.
The CTA situation is that the borders are all open in terms of border controls i.e. there are none. Most are closed (in at least on direction) in the sense that you are able to cross but if you don't meet an exemption you are breaking the law by doing so. The exception is England, anyone from any part of the CTA will be genuinely free to enter from Saturday without breaking the law and without quarantining. The Irish land border is effectively open for Irish and Northern Irish residents only. All Brits can transit through Irish airports and can also enter Ireland properly for a range of reasons but must quarantine for 14 days.

The EUs list is advisory only but most member states are adopting it. Depending on border controls it maybe possible to abuse differences in entry lists like the CTA but you would risk arrest if stopped for another reason or if someone reported you.

One sided decisions do make some difference. New Zealand does allow Europeans to enter for an extremely limited number of reasons. The recent outbreak was caused by people being allowed to leave quarantine early to attend a funeral. Its understandable for New Zealand to enforce a strict 14 day quarantine on Europeans entering for compassionate reasons. The risk returning is virtually nil and therefore it is unacceptable for European governments to quarantine them and making it difficult for them to get travel insurance by advising against travel there.

I am surprised New Zealand isn't trying to rapidly expand its (guarded) quarantine facilities to allow non essential non compassionate visits to anyone prepared to pay for 14 days quarantining. For instance immigrants, long family visits and really important business trips.
 

ForTheLoveOf

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The Irish land border is effectively open for Irish and Northern Irish residents only.
That is not accurate. The Republic of Ireland are not imposing any quarantine on people entering the country from Northern Ireland, regardless of their residency or previous travel history.
 

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