‘Circuit breaker’ could prohibit half-term holidays

lake district
lake district

Half-term holidays hang in the balance with the Prime Minister to consider a “circuit breaker” lockdown if his three-tier system fails to slow the spread of the virus. 

Pubs, restaurants and other businesses could be forced to close under such measures with a decision to be made towards the end of next week. The half-term break for state schools begins on October 26 and could be the start of such restrictions. 

Regional “circuit breakers” are under consideration; parts of the country are already facing limitations as the three-tier restrictions came into effect today – in those places under the highest tier, travel in and out of those areas in restricted, with the exception of school or work. 

Northern Ireland is to bring in a partial “circuit breaker” with schools there to close for two weeks from Monday and closure of the hospitality sector apart from deliveries and takeaways.

Meanwhile, tourism authority Visit Wales told Telegraph Travel on Tuesday: “The First Minister of Wales is calling for travel restrictions to be put in place to ensure coronavirus cannot travel from areas where there are high levels of infection in the UK to areas where there are low levels of the virus in the UK.”

Families’ half-term holiday options are already limited with just four countries that Britons can visit without restrictions – those who had booked a UK break are now facing further uncertainty. 

Scroll down for the latest updates.

08:56 AM

Wales’ hotspot travel demands ‘not a border issue’, says First Minister

Wales’ First Minister has stressed that his demand for the UK Government to restrict people from areas with high levels of coronavirus from travelling into places with lower levels is “not a border issue”.

People in areas of Wales under local lockdown restrictions are not able to travel to other parts of the country without a reasonable excuse, which does not include a holiday.

Mark Drakeford has repeatedly called on Boris Johnson to impose restrictions on people travelling from coronavirus hotspots in England – something the Prime Minister has ruled out. 

“It is a simple, straightforward, practical action that prevents the flow of the virus out of areas where there is a great deal of it into areas where there is very little of it, and I’m baffled why the Prime Minister continues to resist this idea,” Mr Drakeford told Sky News.

“All we’re asking is for fair play, for people in high volume areas outside Wales not being able to do things that people in Wales who live in high coronavirus areas are already prevented from doing.”

08:41 AM

What’s the situation in Italy?

After being spared in last Thursday’s quarantine list update, Italy could loose its travel corridor this week. The country’s seven-day infection rate has continued to rise and now sits at 53 per 100,000 people. The UK Government considers imposing quarantine when cases top 20 per 100,000.

Coronavirus Italy Spotlight Chart - cases default
Coronavirus Italy Spotlight Chart – cases default

08:36 AM

Airport testing may not be in place by the end of the year

Baroness Dido Harding, head of NHS Test and Trace, gave no reassurance to the travel industry that border testing will be available at airports before the end of the year, reports industry publication Travel Weekly.

Harding, executive chair of NHS Test and Trace and interim chair of the newly-announced Health Protection England, was responding to a question from Focus Travel Partnership chief executive Abby Penston, who raised the issue of the Government’s new Global Travel Taskforce.

Harding, a former Thomas Cook marketing director, said that NHS Test and Trace was “working very collaboratively with the borders team on testing [on international arrivals]”.

Harding said: “A negative test at a point in time only proves that you are not infectious at that point of time.

“If you have been travelling from a very high risk environment then I would expect that the clinicians will still advise that some kind of quarantine is necessary, so testing will help us, but I doubt it will be a silver bullet to fighting the virus and changing the need for us to be very cautious if people are travelling from very high risk environments.”

08:26 AM

Exclusive: Rocco Forte launches UK testing partnership, as confusion leads to ‘significant’ cancellations

Rocco Forte Hotels has responded to the continuing confusion surrounding testing for travellers from the UK by launching its own innovative ‘Fit to Travel’ partnership service, reports Rachel Cranshaw.

The group, which operates luxury properties in locations including Sicily, Rome, Florence and Puglia, has partnered with Blue Horizon, which will arrange for self-test kits to be couriered to and from people’s homes, entirely bookable online – affording maximum convenience for families in the run-up to half-term. A guaranteed certificate is then produced within 72 hours of travel. The test costs £169, or £129 for Rocco Forte guests who will be given a £40 discount code upon confirmation of reservation.

Chairman Sir Rocco Forte said: “These are trying times but I am keen to do anything that will enhance travel and allow our customers to holiday and enjoy themselves. Testing in the UK before traveling to Italy reduces much of the hassle and helps make the trip as seamless as possible. Upon arrival guests will find our usual hospitality and service.”

Sicily - Getty
Sicily – Getty

Read the full story.

08:14 AM

Dutch return to ‘partial lockdown’ as Covid-19 cases soar

The Netherlands will return to a “partial lockdown” on Wednesday, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said, closing bars and restaurants as it battles to control the coronavirus in one of Europe’s major hotspots.

“Today we are announcing new and sturdy measures and in fact we are going to a partial lockdown,” Rutte said in a televised news conference. He said public gatherings of more than four people would be prohibited and alcohol sales in the evening would also be banned.

Schools were to remain open and public transport would keep running, in contrast to measures imposed during a partial lockdown earlier this year.

The measures will last at least four weeks, with a review of their impact after two weeks. If they prove ineffective, tougher restrictions may follow, said Health Minister Hugo de Jonge.

08:06 AM

What happened yesterday?

Here are the biggest headlines from Tuesday: 

  • EU member states agree ‘traffic light’ system for travel 

  • Visit Wales: ‘We’re asking some people not to visit’

  • Cruise lines end 2020 sailings over Scotland’s alcohol ban

  • Heathrow drops out of Europe’s top 10 busiest airports

  • Ryanair could be ‘last person standing’ after Covid-19

Now onto today’s news.

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Hotel group launches UK testing partnership for Italy holidays, as confusion leads to 'significant' cancellations

Wed Oct 14 , 2020
Rocco Forte Hotels has responded to the continuing confusion surrounding testing for travellers from the UK by launching its own innovative ‘Fit to Travel’ partnership service. The group, which operates luxury properties in locations including Sicily, Rome, Florence and Puglia, has partnered with Blue Horizon, which will arrange for self-test kits […]