LONDON: Quarantine measures for those travelling to Britain from around 70 countries and overseas territories, including France and Italy, no longer apply from Friday (Jul 10) in a boost to the ailing aviation and travel industries hit by COVID-19.
Those arriving from higher risk countries will still have to self-quarantine for 14 days but many popular destinations are now exempt, meaning millions of Britons are able to take summer holidays without having to stay at home when they return.
The United States, China, India and Russia are left off the list, as is popular holiday destination Portugal and Southeast Asian countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.
Airports have imposed safety measures such as perspex screens, mandatory mask-wearing, hand-sanitiser stations and hand-washing facilities to stop the spread of the virus.
But flights are likely to remain far below usual levels and the boss of Gatwick, London's second-busiest airport, told Reuters he was hoping that quarantine-free travel would be widened to other destinations.
"What we would like to see at the end of the month, when it is next reviewed, is the Portuguese market open up as well," said Chief Executive Stewart Wingate.
"Our absolute focus is on the European markets because that's what will help us to build volume during the summer and protect as many jobs at Gatwick as possible this year."
The boss of Heathrow, Britain's biggest airport, welcomed the move but said more was needed to facilitate travel from other low-risk countries and areas.
"There are some important long-haul markets that aren't included, places like Canada and Singapore, which are low risk, and we'd like to see those being included in the next review," John Holland-Kaye told Sky News.
"We also need to think about how are we going to connect some of our really important trading partners such as the United States, which are high risk as a nation but some parts of the country are low risk."