Deals to allow foreign holidays will be done within days

Deals between holiday hotspots such as Spain and the UK to restart travel could be in place within days. Ministers are meeting with French counterparts today and colleagues in Berlin tomorrow as part of the plan. And Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has been talking about air bridges wot national media on Thursday morning.

'Air bridges' would see Brits allowed to skip quarantine upon arrival abroad, as well the mandatory isolation requirements for people travelling into the UK. The Times has reported that deals with Greece, Portugal and Spain are close to being signed off, as well as overseas UK territories such as Gibraltar, the British Virgin Islands and Bermuda.

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The Foreign Secretary has warned there is a risk of legal challenges if the UK tries to form travel bridges with particular countries to the exclusion of others. Discussing French president Emmanuel Macron's visit to London today on BBC Breakfast, Dominic Raab said: "What we are going to look at is how (international travel) can be done safely and responsibly.

"Of course there is a risk of legal challenge if you open up for one country and not others so we want to make sure we can open up - and this is our starting point - as soon as we can safely and responsibly do so." He added: "If you open up the airports and don't open up the Eurotunnel or if you open up to one country but not in relation to others there is always a risk of legal challenge. Mr Raab said public health had to be "front and centre" of decision making.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to raise the coronavirus quarantine with the French president during bilateral talks on Thursday.

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Mr Raab told Sky News: "We're going to look at it very carefully. As we've always said, the quarantine is there to stop the risk of reinfection precisely because we've got Covid down." Asked why it was in place when UK infection rates were higher than France, he said: "It's not quite as simple as that though because we've seen in Europe and in Asia that as countries come out of lockdown the risk of second waves and second spikes.

"But we will look at all the factors very carefully. We want to open up as soon as we safely and responsibly can and we will look at all the mechanisms to do so and of course we'll have a good conversation with the French. "I'll be in Berlin tomorrow so we're talking to all of our European partners about these things."

Mr Raab said Mr Macron would bestow the Legion d'Honneur on London.

Mr Raab said hospitality and tourism is "fraught with all sorts of particular risks" related to social distancing.

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When asked why shops are open but tourism is still limited, he said: "There is a higher level of risk of transmission, that's the advice we have had from the experts, so we do need to wait a little bit longer to make sure we can do that responsibly."

He told BBC Breakfast: "We are itching to open up those sectors from a business point of view and also a consumer point of view but we have just got to do it in a responsible way."

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