Brits could spend Christmas abroad as govt considers cutting Covid quarantine

Hopes have been raised for Brits wishing to spend Christmas abroad as the government plans to relax the current 14-day coronavirus quarantine.

Millions of families may be able to pack their bags for the festive season, with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirming the government is due to shortly announce a new regime of Covid-19 testing to allow airport and airlines to get Britain flying again.

It would shorten the quarantine time, possibly to as little as five days.

Mr Shapps said: "It's true that we think now with the capacity on testing, and in particular the ability of the private sector to provide tests for people who have travelled, on the basis that people would pay them, would open up the way to help to get air travel going again once we are out of this lockdown…and safely.

"If we can shorten the quarantine, or the self-isolation, in return for a test after a number of days, then absolutely that is what we want to do and I will be saying more about this very shortly."

When asked by LBC presenter Nick Ferrari whether this meant people would be able to go on foreign holidays this Christmas, Mr Shapps replied: "Yes, of course, I do hope that is the case.

"We set up a global travel taskforce, we have been working on this with the industry, with the scientific advisers, and we are very close to conclusions on that which we will be able to announce very, very quickly."

England's second national lockdown is due to end on Wednesday, December 2.

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There is currently a mandatory 14-day quarantine in place for anyone entering England, except if they are coming from a country on the official travel corridor list.

Countries can be added to and removed from the list at short notice.

The travel taskforce is believed to have examined whether the quarantine time can be slashed to seven days, or possibly even five.

Mr Shapps made it clear the move depended on the state of the pandemic in the UK, with "very worrying" figures showing a record number of daily cases and a growing number of daily deaths.

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