Great Britain

Almost all of Brits’ favourite holiday destinations have lower Covid-19 case rates than UK as quarantine backlash grows

ALMOST all of the countries favoured by Brits as summer holiday destinations have lower coronavirus infection rates than the UK.

Travellers coming into Britain will be quarantined for a fortnight from Monday in a bid to stop the spread of the deadly bug.

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But the controversial plans have sparked warnings from travel bosses, who say it will cripple the industry.

Travel industry experts say quarantine, which begins on Monday, will cost Britain’s tourism sector as much as £15billion if it goes on through the summer.

One study suggests the usual figure of 40million visitors could be slashed by around two thirds.

As a result, officials are looking at quarantine-free travel corridors to destinations including Spain.

The quarantine rules could be scrapped in just weeks as Boris Johnson wants to keep summer holiday hopes alive for lockdown-weary Brits.

The PM has reportedly told ministers to work on solutions to keep international travel open for holidaymakers.

A Downing Street source told the Daily Mail: "We will be guided by the science, but the PM doesn't want to be standing in the way of people's holidays unnecessarily."

Air bridges would be established between the UK and countries which have strict coronavirus controls.

Statistics that show most of Brits' favourite holiday destinations have lower daily case rates than us could offer hope to plans for air corridors.

Data compiled by Our World in Data shows that on June 1 the UK's daily confirmed case rate was 28.52 cases per million people.

While popular holiday destinations Spain, Italy and Greece had 4.47, 5.87 and 0.19 cases per million people respectively.

France had 3,94 cases per million, while Germany had 3.98 per million.

The USA (59.84) and Portugal (29.13) had higher daily case rates than the UK on June 1.

It comes as Home Secretary Priti Patel is set to reveal today that countries with strict anti-coronavirus measures are likely to be handed "air bridges" in the future.

She will also reveal details of the upcoming quarantine plan - with some aspects expected to be watered down.

Air bridges are links between Britain and some countries with low infection rates - with hopes they could be in place by the end of June.

The 14-day isolation for everyone arriving in the UK is already locked in and will be introduced on Monday.

It could mean that Brits wanting to go away this summer would have to take an additional two weeks off work for their hols unless air bridges are introduced.

Rules for the new quarantine will see all arrivals - aside for a few exceptions - required to complete an online form when they arrive in the UK.

They will have to turn over their contact details and the address where they will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Public Health England will then make random spot-checks on people to make sure they are obeying the quarantine.

Anyone who fails to comply with measures risks prosecution and a potentially unlimited fine.

But they will be allowed to leave isolation for a number of reasons, including shopping for food.

Here's how the UK's coronavoirus cases compare to popular nations

Figures are the daily confirmed cases of coronavirus per million people for each country, as of June 1.

Travellers will also be able to board public transport from the port or airport to where they will quarantine, although they will be encouraged to use private vehicles instead.

Foreign nationals could also be deported if they refuse to abide by the quarantine, and Border Force may be able to turn people away on arrival.

Failure to complete the online form when you arrive in the UK is also subject to a £100 fine.

It is feared thousands of travellers infected with coronavirus entered the UK in the early days of the pandemic, streaming in from hotspots such as Italy and China.

Steven Freudmann of the Institute for Travel and Tourism said: “Quarantine will be an unmitigated disaster — you may as well put up a sign saying Britain is closed. It’s ludicrous.”

EasyJet boss Johan Lundgren said: “It was frustrating the Government chose not to consult our industry.

“British holidaymakers will think twice about going abroad if they have to return to quarantine."

Ms Patel defended the quarantine plan, saying yesterday that saving lives was the top priority.

"As we get the virus under control here, we must manage the risk of cases being imported from abroad," she said.

And former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said travellers should not face quarantine unless arriving from a country with a higher infection rate than the UK’s.

A Government spokesman said: "Our priority will always be to protect the public's health and these new measures are being introduced to do exactly this.

"We have received clear science advice and the quarantine system is designed to keep the transmission rate down, stop new cases being brought in from abroad and help prevent a devastating second wave of coronavirus."

The air bridges plan, championed by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, could see restrictions eased on countries like Australia and Greece with low levels of coronavirus.

It offers some hopes of summer holidays for Britons as the nation struggles to get back to normal after months of lockdown.

But experts have warned Brits to hold off booking for now.

The Foreign Office still advises against all but essential travel.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: "If consumers are keen to book something now they should go into it with their eyes open.

"If the FCO advice is still in place when their holiday is due to take place, they will get a refund, but there's a good chance they will be waiting a long time.

"Holiday providers need to make it clear to their customers that these holidays may not take place."

But TUI spokesperson Liz Edwards said the company hopes the quarantine will be lifted on June 29 - in time for summer trips.

She said: "We believe we'll be having summer holidays this year - hopefully from July.

"We hope the quarantine will be lifted, but air bridges are certainly a possibility.

"Bookings have been picking up.

"Spain, Greece and Cyprus are likely to open up first.

"The Canaries and Balearics are keen to welcome back tourists."

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