Travellers returning via red list travel hubs will be able to dodge quarantine on their return, it has been reported.

Ministers are said to be agreeing a plan which will let people passing through travel hubs in United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Bahrain without having to isolate in a hotel.

Currently, anybody arriving from a red list country must spend £1,750 per person to live in a quarantine hotel for 10 days.

The exemption to that rule would be applicable for travellers who remain airside of so-called 'travel hubs' and do not physically enter the red-listed country.

It comes ahead of restrictions for fully-vaccinated EU and US citizens being lifted to allow for quarantine-free travel from amber list countries.

A government source said that an agreement was soon to be reached, it has been reported.

The cost of hotel quarantine is £1,750 per head (

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The Telegraph reports that a source said: "We are close to agreement and it will be announced in the next week or so."

Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak has written to the PM calling for the urgent easing of restrictions.

The chancellor reportedly told Boris Johnson that the UK's current border restrictions were "out of step with our international competitors".

He claimed the current border policy was damaging the tourism industry as well as the wider economy.

The Sunday Times reported that in a letter to the Prime Minster he said the country's border policy was out of step with international partners and was having a damaging impact on jobs.

Paul Charles, the chief executive of the travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: “The infection rates in the hubs have fallen. Opening them up is vital to the future success of aviation.

Ministers say the current system is damaging to business (

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“Aviation has grown in recent years on the back of strong interconnectivity at these hubs. Without them, the airlines cannot operate at anything like the capacity they need.

“It would be major progress if they opened the hubs for transit passengers but it is only when they come off the red list that it will make a true difference to the travel sector.”

Senior ministers and officials are expected to pore over Covid data in the coming days ahead of the next update of the traffic light system for foreign travel.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is expected to announce which countries are safe to visit on Thursday - and which could face tougher quarantine rules.

The Sun reports a Whitehall source as saying: "You would have to be crackers to book a holiday to a place knowing that it could go on to the red list at any moment.

"If you have already booked to go there you are going to spend your whole holiday worrying whether you are going to have to make a dash to the airport to get home.

"The decision next week will basically be in place for August. It is peak holiday season – are we really going to cause that much disruption to this many people?"

Any changes would be likely to come into force on Monday, August 9.