UK to ease restrictions on non-essential overseas travel

People queue outside Terminal 5 of Heathrow Airport in London, Britain (File)

London, (Asian independent) Blanket restrictions on non-essential overseas travel will be relaxed in the UK from July 6, Ministers have said.

Holidaymakers are expected to be allowed to travel to certain European countries without having to spend 14 days in quarantine when they return, the BBC reported.

They are thought to include Spain, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Turkey, Germany and Norway – but not Portugal or Sweden.

The full list of travel corridors with the UK will be published next week.

A government spokesman said the new rules would give people “the opportunity for a summer holiday abroad” while also boosting the UK economy – but stressed the relaxation depended on risks staying low.

A traffic light system will be introduced – with countries classified as green, amber and red depending on the prevalence of the coronavirus.

The government said it “wouldn’t hesitate to put on the brakes” if the situation changes.

Portugal has seen a rise in the number of new cases in and around Lisbon recently, while Sweden is also unlikely to be on the list because the infection rate there is higher than in the UK.

They are both likely to be classified as red.

But the government spokesman conceded there would be nothing to stop someone avoiding quarantine by flying into a Spanish airport, driving over the border into Portugal for their holiday and returning by the same route.

The UK introduced rules requiring all people arriving in the UK to self-isolate for 14 days on June 8, reports the BBC.

It was widely criticised by the travel industry and MPs of all parties.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the laws were designed “to prevent a second wave” of coronavirus.