MINISTERS are being urged to negotiate “air bridges” with separate US states in a bid to get around Donald Trump’s travel ban.
Tory grandee Iain Duncan Smith suggested routes should be set up to boost trade and tourism to safe states like New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts who have similar Covid levels to Britain.
Coronavirus responses in the USA are arranged by federal governments, although the travel restrictions are arranged by White House.
States like New York – which was ravaged by the pandemic in March and April – are now seeing fewer cases and deaths.
As it stands the USA will be a ‘red’ country on the UK’s traffic light warning system – meaning any passenger would need to self isolate for 14 days on return.
Speaking to HOAR, Mr Duncan Smith said: “I think we can do a deal with America state by state – it’s a very important market for us, especially as we come out of lockdown, so let’s get moving.
“We need to think imaginatively about how we can do it and state by state is a possible option.”
He added: “They are our biggest trading partner after the EU and it’s the country we have the biggest investment in with more than any other country in the world.
“So we are very heavily intertwined with the states so it’s good for us to get that on the list as soon as possible.
“America is slightly different because the states are basically responsible for their Covid response.
“Some states have a great record and other states got a very good record.
“So for example New York, having gone through hell, has now got itself sorted a bit like us really.
“We could probably do a deal with New York to go there and I would urge the government to look at the merits in terms of making arrangements with the individual states.”
The Government is preparing to unveil its traffic light system ranking destinations by virus risk.
On Friday it emerged that the 14-day quarantine rule for people arriving back in the UK is likely to be relaxed from July 6 for “green and amber” countries. It remains for those rated “red”.
On the traffic light system, Mr Duncan Smith added: “I don’t know why this could not have been implemented from the start, before we started the quarantine.
“People will only be able to travel to a limited number of countries but at least it’s a start.”