British Airways backs airport testing as four countries rejoin quarantine list

portugal - Getty
portugal – Getty

British Airways can only survive if the Government works with it, including through support for airport testing, according to the carrier’s chief executive and chairman Alex Cruz. 

“These are the toughest times in the history of the aviation industry,” writes Mr Cruz for The Telegraph as four more countries are added to the UK’s travel “red list”. 

“Coronavirus has hit our business hard, and the sector is fighting for its very survival,” he adds. “What is hugely frustrating is that we know people want to travel, to fly, whether to see friends or family, to see business contacts face-to-face or to recharge on the beach, but without a rigorous, reliable Coronavirus testing programme – together with a sensible approach to quarantine – people’s plans are being unnecessarily grounded.”

Ongoing changes to the holiday quarantine list have seen hundreds of thousands of Britons race back to the UK, or cancel trips, to avoid two-weeks of self-isolation at home.

Portugal, Hungary, French Polynesia and Reunion are the latest four countries to face quarantine restrictions  – it is just three weeks since Portugal (Madeira and the Azores are exempt from quarantine rules for arrivals to England and Wales) was granted a travel corridor with the UK. 

The Telegraph is campaigning for quarantine to be replaced with airport testing.

Scroll down for the latest travel updates.

12:46 PM

‘Mykonos was a paradise without tourists, but if things don’t pick up it will be a struggle to survive’

Mykonos finds itself back on the UK’s quarantine list, spelling tough times ahead for the island’s business owners.

Despite a half-decent summer season (all things considered), the drop-off in tourist numbers is causing plenty of anxiety among shopkeepers, bar owners and restaurateurs. 

mykonos - Getty
mykonos – Getty

Lebby Eyres spoke to some of the locals to hear how the pandemic and the UK’s “unfair” quarantine rules have affected the island

Read the full story.

12:28 PM

Jet2 suspends package holidays to the Algarve

 

12:23 PM

A postcard from Hull, where culture will prevail over the ‘rule of six’

New restrictions will come into force in England on Monday that ban people from meeting up in groups of more than six, inside or outside. This has been a blow to those running cultural celebrations.

However, the organisers of Freedom Festival in Hull were among the clever ones who pivoted online as soon as lockdown was announced in March. Lottie Gross went along to try the festivities at a distance.

12:02 PM

‘Red-listed’ Portugal and Switzerland record highest number of cases since April

Paul Charles, travel expert and founder of travel consultancy The PC Agency, offers an update on the latest figures.

11:53 AM

Fancy a spot of wild camping? Here’s Britain’s best adventure for anyone tired of home

The ban on wild camping in Dartmoor has been lifted – Chris Moss offers an example of how you can (responsibly) enjoy a stay in this glorious spot. 

Honeybag Tor is one of the area's outcrops - Alamy
Honeybag Tor is one of the area’s outcrops – Alamy

I was getting close to the place where I planned to camp, beneath a hawthorn tree and in an ­arrangement of bushes that provided shelter from the wind – and, I hoped, would be less attractive to the hairy highland cattle that might otherwise trample over my foot-high one-man tent in the night. I pitched quickly, made tea, heated up some casserole and made the interior as cosy as a canvas sarcophagus can be. 

Darkness fell with the screech and too-wit-too-woo of a tawny owl. In the distance I saw the torch of another wild camper; far enough away not to bother me at all. I had an early night – when you camp alone, you go to bed at ­children’s times. I slept well – at least, as well as a 6ft 4in man can in a tent that is decidedly shorter than that. 

There is perhaps too much talk of ­nature being good for mental health, these days. Greenery and fresh air do not fix everything. But walking alone, for me, brings about something that rambling in groups or couples doesn’t allow: a gentle see-saw of the mind ­between solipsism – and perhaps a ­little overthinking – and being genuinely lost in thought.

Read the full story.

11:42 AM

Holidaymakers brand quarantine rules a ‘shambles’ 

British holidaymakers who faced a dash back from Portugal on Friday to avoid 14 days of self-isolation have branded the Government’s quarantine rules a “shambles”.

“I’m stuck in Portugal and a NHS worker. Why is it ok for the restrictions in [the] UK to start from Monday but I need to get back by 4am Saturday and have to pay £980 for a flight I cant afford?,” wrote Tracey Lambert, from Essex, on Twitter.

Tens of thousands of Britons were forced to cut short or cancel holidays to Portugal when Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced on Thursday that mainland Portugal would be added to the travel “red list”, just three weeks after the country was granted a travel corridor with the UK. Wales and Scotland had reimposed quarantine on arrivals from Portugal the previous week (Wales for mainland Portugal and Scotland for Portugal and its islands).

Simon Garner, from Ipswich, was among the Britons who rushed back from Portugal. He told the Daily Mail: “It’s a shambles, they don’t give you enough notice to come back, they should give you a week to come back safely.”

11:21 AM

Is your UK holiday now illegal?

The UK has taken a step back into lockdown, with England outlawing gatherings of more than six people from Monday.

But what does that mean for your staycation? And who exactly will police your holiday, if it is now illegal?

Hazel Plush has taken a closer look at how the rules apply to UK breaks, from camping trips to hotel stays.

11:03 AM

Hundreds of data security risks on travel firm websites, claims Which?

Some 98 travel companies have security vulnerabilities on their websites, according to an investigation by the consumer champion Which? 

The investigation looked at the websites of household names, such as easyJet and Lastminute.com, and Which? claims to have found thousands of data security vulnerabilities that could make it easy for cyber criminals to access customer data. The findings, said Which?, included:

  • Marriott International: 500 vulnerabilities; 100 judged as high or critical

  • Lastminute.com: a critical vulnerability that could have allowed attackers to manipulate pages, access user session cookies, and create fake accounts

  • EasyJet: 222 vulnerabilities

  • British Airways:  115 potential vulnerabilities; 12 critical

The companies included in the research responded to the Which? claims.

10:48 AM

Empty cruise ships in Scotland on offer as moored holiday homes

The majority of the world’s cruise ships are unable to sail right now due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and have been left docked in ports or anchored off coasts around the world.

However, one small, family-run Scottish outfit has come up with a solution to the temporary suspension of sailing and turned its ships into summer holiday homes.

Oban-based St Hilda Sea Adventures’ three ships – St Hilda, Seahorse 11 and Gemini Explorer – normally take up to 15 passengers around the world famous Sounds that separate the isles of the Outer and Inner Hebrides, and Argyll. But the bruising coronavirus hiatus has led the 13-year old operator to offer cruise lovers, miserable at being landlocked, the chance to book any one of its vessels as an exclusive, self-catering holiday home.

st hilda - St Hilda Sea Adventure
st hilda – St Hilda Sea Adventure

Read the full story.

10:22 AM

Comment: Why must we be punished by airlines for using comparison sites to book?

I booked a BA flight through Kayak, and waved goodbye to any hope of good service when things went wrong, writes my colleague Annabel Fenwick Elliott:

I recently booked flights to Santorini. There aren’t many direct flights running from London at the moment for obvious reasons so it was not cheap. I used Kayak to find the lowest fare, which was (somewhat unusually) with BA; £550 return. I clicked on it, and it took me to Dream World Travel, the site through which I booked the tickets. 

I did hesitate before doing this, as I’ve been burned before. Should anything go wrong or were I to change my flight (fairly likely these days), I would be subject to Dream World Travel’s terms and conditions, not BA’s, and generally these intermediary companies are not generous when it comes to flexibility. But when I located the same flight on BA.com, it was over £200 more expensive. Unjustifiable, I reasoned.

Of course, it all went wrong. I was one of the many travellers who failed to process Greece’s confusion-riddled entry requirements in time for my flight, and was denied boarding by BA. A phone rep for Dream World Travel was perfectly polite, but was unable to get me on another flight; unsurprising, given the reduced schedules.

Read Annabel’s comment article in full.

10:17 AM

Covid marshal schemes that began in Devon and Cornwall ‘did more than monitor queues at Greggs’

The Covid marshal scheme that inspired Boris Johnson’s UK-wide announcement did more than “monitor the queues in Greggs,” a police chief has said.

A Downing Street spokesman said that Covid marshals had already been used in Cornwall and Leeds, and “can be volunteers or existing (council) staff “. 

But Devon and Cornwall’s 10-week scheme was funded by a £400,000 cash injection from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office and relied solely on professional, fully trained and registered security staff who were hired from private companies.

Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: “In our case the largest issue they had to deal with was around people who might have had a bit too much to drink, so experience of de-escalating situations involving drunk people, and using powers of persuasion, was vital. 

Read the full story.

10:04 AM

Hungary sees record daily high of new Covid-19 cases

Hungary’s daily new coronavirus cases reached a record 916 on Saturday, the highest since the start of the pandemic as schools reopened.

Even as the number of cases rise, the number of people dying from the disease has remained fairly low, with only two elderly patients with chronic pre-existing conditions dying from complications of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours.

The Government’s coronavirus task force said active cases reached 7,134, but Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who attended a session of the task force early on Saturday, said schools can stay open and life must go on. 

Hungary has been added to the UK’s quarantine-list.

09:52 AM

Holidays to Sweden are now quarantine-free

As holidays to Portugal are put on hold, trips to Sweden are back. After a long wait, Sweden has been granted a spot on the UK’s travel “green list,” effective 4am today.

Chris Leadbeater has round-up 15 fine reasons to go this country of glorious scenery, giant lakes and white sand beaches. 

09:35 AM

Three other countries added to quarantine list today

HungaryFrench Polynesia and Reunion were added to the travel “red list” today, alongside Portugal. Arrivals to the UK from these nations will now have to self-isolate for 14 days. 

If you’re planning a trip overseas in the coming weeks, it pays to keep an eye on Covid-19 infection rates. The chart below gives an idea of which countries could be next on the quarantine list.

Which countries could be quarantined next: Coronavirus Quarantine Tracker
Which countries could be quarantined next: Coronavirus Quarantine Tracker

09:19 AM

How have infection rates risen in Portugal?

Portugal rejoined the UK’s travel “red list” this morning, meaning anyone arriving in England, Wales or Scotland from mainland Portugal will now have to self-isolate for 14 days. Those travelling from the islands of Madeira or the Azores to Scotland will also be required to quarantine. 

The seven-day infection rate per 100,000 residents had reached 28.3 in Portugal on Thursday, ahead of the UK Government’s quarantine decision. When a country breaches a threshold of 20 cases per 100,000 the Government considers imposing adding it to the quarantine list.

Coronavirus Portugal Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus Portugal Spotlight Chart – Cases default

09:05 AM

Guernsey plans regional quarantine restrictions for England

Guernsey is to introduce regional travel restrictions for England from September 15.

The Civil Contingencies Authority has outlined its recommendations for the classification of each region.

Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have not been broken down into regions, but, as it stands,are classified as whole countries.

The CAA is proposing a traffic light system, with these suggested regional splits:

  • Group A region (Red): North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands, London, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland

  • Watch list (Amber): Scotland, Wales

  • Group B region (Green): South East, South West, East of England

  • Group C region (Grey): Isle of Man

The following quarantine restrictions would apply to inbound visitors to Guernsey:

  • Group A countries/regions: Compulsory 14 day self-isolation period.

  • Group B countries/regions: Optional PCR swab test on day seven with release from isolation after a negative test.

  • Group C countries/regions: No self-isolation or testing requirements. Currently this categorisation only applies to the Isle of Man.

08:52 AM

Comment: Airport testing teams are standing idle while our Government sits on its hands

These are the toughest times in the history of the aviation industry, British Airways chairman and chief executive Alex Cruz writes for Telegraph Travel:

Coronavirus has hit our business hard, and the sector is fighting for its very survival. British Airways can survive, but only if the Government will work with us, rather than against us. 

In March, April and May we flew just five per cent of our schedule. Six months into the pandemic and we are still flying just 30 per cent. The world remains largely closed and all the indications are that the aviation industry will take years to recover. Business links like London and New York – traditionally one of the busiest airline routes in the world – have been decimated, stifling economic growth.

Like every other airline around the world, we are adapting. We have to. I cannot ignore the situation Covid-19 has created and I deeply regret that too many loyal and hardworking British Airways colleagues are losing their jobs as a consequence.

What is hugely frustrating is that we know people want to travel, to fly, whether to see friends or family, to see business contacts face-to-face or to recharge on the beach, but without a rigorous, reliable Coronavirus testing programme – together with a sensible approach to quarantine – people’s plans are being unnecessarily grounded. 

Read Alex’s article in full.

08:43 AM

First European ‘travel bubble’ bursts as coronavirus cases rise in Estonia

The first European pandemic “travel bubble”, created in May by Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, burst on Friday, as Latvia said it was mandating a 14-day quarantine on everyone arriving from Estonia, reports Reuters

Estonia has had 21 novel coronavirus infections per 100,000 population over the previous two weeks, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, passing the 16 threshold set by Latvia for mandatory quarantine.

Latvia, which has one of the lowest levels of infection in the European Union, has rejected the European Commission’s recommendation to raise threshold for quarantine to 25 new cases per 100,000 population over two weeks.

“This is a decision I am not ready for … I do not think that society is ready to allow more people to enter Latvia,” Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins said on Friday, according to LETA agency.

08:40 AM

What happened yesterday?

  • Britons left in tears – and out of pocket – by Portugal quarantine decision

  • Airlines and airports will go bust unless Test4Travel is introduced, warns Heathrow Boss 

  • ICU nurses gifted £1.2 million worth of luxury hotel stays as ‘coronavirus thank you’

  • The Seychelles to reverse cruise ban ahead of 2021 season

  • Venice Simplon-Orient-Express delays return until March 2021

Now onto today’s news.

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