Croatia remains on the cusp of UK quarantine restrictions after a recent rise in coronavirus cases.
The country recorded its second highest number of new infections on Tuesday – 199 – leading to a rise up to 27 in its cumulative seven-day average, the figure used by Downing Street to assess the safety of ‘travel corridors’. The threshold for quarantine is understood to be 20.
A decision is expected on Thursday with any possible measures introduced on Saturday, as they were for France last weekend.
On Wednesday morning, Finland added Greece to a list of countries to which only essential travel is allowed, from next week.
The Finnish minister of transport and communications Timo Harakka said: “Our strong message is that travelling to risky countries should be avoided. Returning to Finland from them will lead to quarantine and trouble.”
Follow the latest news below.
Germany wants return of transatlantic flights
The UK has no ‘travel corridor’ with the US, with only a skeleton schedule of services operating, but airline heads in Germany say the return of air travel between the US and Europe is key to kickstarting the economy.
Bloomberg has the details:
Germany’s main aviation industry group has proposed the creation of limited air-travel corridors between major US and European hubs, in a bid to crack open the nearly shuttered market for trans-Atlantic flight.
The pilot project would link US airports in Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and New York City-adjacent Newark, NJ, with Frankfurt and Munich in Germany, along with other major European intercontinental hubs, executives at BDL, which represents Germany’s airports and airlines, said in an online press event Wednesday.
It would rely on Covid-19 testing, already in place in Boston and the German airports, which could quickly be installed elsewhere, according to the BDL executives, Matthias von Randow and Peter Gerber. Passengers willing to travel would have to produce a negative test for Covid-19 no older than 48 hours.
A coordinated set of measures to reopen trans-Atlantic flight would be a boon to major network carriers such as Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Air France-KLM and British Airways, as well as their US counterparts, Delta Air Lines Inc, American Airlines Group Inc. and United Airlines Holdings Inc. All rely on lucrative North Atlantic routes for profit.
The International Air Transport Association has warned that long-distance flying will take years to return to 2019 levels and has urged countries to unify travel rules to speed the comeback.
Cruise ‘treated unfairly’ as head of line calls for ‘sea bridges’
The Foreign Office shows no sign of amending its guidance against all cruise holidays.
Speaking to Telegraph Travel, Peter Deer, managing director of Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, says this is unfair.
“As a result of this guidance, the public now has the perception that cruising is unsafe. FCO edicts are an unhelpful blow to consumer confidence and are creating a perfect storm that threatens the very future of an iconic British industry.
“The Government is still advising against cruising. Goalposts are constantly moving and uncertainty reigns. This is frustrating because the FCO doesn’t scrutinize the risk of Covid-19 on other types of holiday to such an extent. You have to ask why is cruising, with its exemplary hygiene regimes, being treated so unfairly.”
“The UK Government should be building a common platform with other countries. We need to have ‘sea bridges’ along the lines of the ‘air bridges’ that are already established.”
Read the full story.
First look: What it’s like to ski at the UK’s indoor slopes after lockdown
The UK’s largest indoor ski slope has reopened for the first time since March.
Telegraph Travel‘s Lucy Aspden was one of the first through the doors at the Chill Factore in Manchester, where a number of new measures have been introduced.
The new normal of skiing began in the car park, where visitors must now put on their ski boots and kit (if they’ve brought their own) before entering the building, along with a face covering, which are compulsory both on and off the slope. While ski and snowboard equipment, which is sanitised after each use by an antiviral fogging machine, is still available to hire, the lockers and changing facilities used by those who bring their own remain out of service for the time being.
While initially it felt peculiar to dress up in full ski kit in a Mancuian car park, in the middle of August, I tried to find the fun in what is admittedly an awkward part of the new normal – the walk into the centre brought back memories of trudging through the streets of a ski resort or the back-to-basics experience of skiing in Scotland.
Following the one-way system I collected my pre-booked lift ticket from the self-service machine and headed towards the slope, surrounded by a campaign of posters to remind me of the new safety rules in place: two-metre social distancing, regular hand washing and compulsory masks.
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Croatia a safe holiday destination, says tourist board
Croatia’s national tourist board has said the country remains a safe holiday destination, stressing that the coasts most popular with tourists have seen fewer infections.
New measures have been adopted across the country to stem a rebound in cases, including curfews on bars and nightclubs.
Kristjan Stanicic, general director of the Croatian National Tourist Board, said:
Last week, the National Civil Protection Headquarters introduced new measures and recommendations for the operation of catering facilities with special emphasis on nightclubs with the aim of protecting the health of our guests from all parts of Europe, monitoring is continuous, and the situation is under control. The whole of tourism industry in Croatia is behaving responsibly and adhering to the prescribed epidemiological measures.
The tourist board said: “Furthermore, according to the latest data in the Republic of Croatia, there are 1,371 active Covid cases, of which only 39 per cent is recorded on the coast, where the largest number of foreign tourists stay.
“This means that in most coastal areas and on the islands the epidemiological picture is favourable, and they can be considered safe.”
Chart: Is Portugal ready for its first ‘travel corridor’?
The figures below will put pressure on the Government to remove Portugal from the quarantine list.
The country has seen its seven-day cases per 100,000 figure fall to 14.7, five points below the 20 threshold – but has never had a ‘travel corridor’.
Chart: Croatia set for quarantine measures
Croatia’s seven day cases number rises again
Telegraph Travel analysis of new data of the seven-day average case numbers per 100,000 shows that Croatia’s figure has risen again, to 27, seven points above the ‘quarantine threshold’.
Gibraltar’s figure has also risen, putting its ‘travel corridor’ at risk, while Belgium, the Netherlands and Portugal have seen cases fall.
Here are some key figures for the period of August 13-19
MoMa announces reopening date
The Museum of Modern Art in New York will reopen on August 27, the institution has announced, after a five-month shutdown.
Entry will be free for the first month, but face masks will be mandatory, while there will be timed ticketing with staggered entry and just 25 percent capacity.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said last week that museums and cultural institutions in New York City could begin reopening at the end of the month at limited capacity.
The state of New York has registered the fourth most in the US, with 718 new infections recorded yesterday. The number of new cases has been broadly flat since June.
Brittany scraps sailings amid ‘terrible summer season’
Brittany Ferries has said the French quarantine measures has forced it to make changes to its schedule that could affect up to 50,000 travellers.
The line said as many as 35,000 passengers either cancelled or delayed their plans with the company last weekend, and demand for this autumn is “extremely weak”, it said.
Brittany Ferries said its schedule changes will take effect at the end August.
Christophe Mathieu, director general of Brittany Ferries, said: “We warned over the weekend that schedule changes were likely, as quarantine measures have led to a significant drop in demand for our services.
“This is not something we want to do. However, in the context of a terrible summer season we have no choice but to consolidate sailings that, by virtue of lack of passenger numbers, are uneconomic to run.
“These extraordinary decisions are regrettable and we apologise in advance to all those whose travel plans will be disrupted.”
A tale of two seaside towns
Would you rather spend a week in Brighton or Blackpool?
Chris Moss weighs up the options:
In late 2019, Blackpool was named, alongside Jaywick, as one of England’s two most deprived areas. It had eight of the ten most run-down neighbourhoods in a survey of income, employment, education, crime, housing and environment organised by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
It is also as sickly as a toffee apple. It has the highest death rates from heroin/morphine since 2012. For children born today it has the lowest disability-free life expectancy in England.
Yet Blackpool still stands at the top of the seaside destination leader board, recording 19 million visitor nights for 2018 (the last year for which full statistics are available); it is followed, some way behind, by Brighton at 11 million and Bournemouth at 10 million.
People stay for shorter periods (1.8 days as compared with 5.1 days in the Nineties) but still they come.
My childhood memories of Blackpool day-trips in the Seventies are very fond.
Read the full story and then vote below…
Where would you rather spend the upcoming Bank Holiday Weekend?
— Telegraph Travel (@TelegraphTravel) August 19, 2020
How many months behind Wuhan are we?
Life seems to have all but returned to normal in the Chinese city believed to be the global epicentre of the coronavirus, as seen in a pool party that took place in Wuhan this week. Watch the scenes below.
China says it has just 595 active cases, as of Tuesday.
Dubai eases booze rules to boost economy
Dubai again has loosened laws governing alcohol sales and possession of liquor as the sheikhdom tries to claw its way out of an economic depression worsened by the coronavirus pandemic.
Associated Press has the details:
The outbreak of the virus exacerbated the already-gathering economic storm engulfing the emirate, which has seen mass layoffs thin the ranks of its foreign workforce and empty homes even amid slight signs of recovery. Even now, experts warn the sheikhdom’s crucial real-estate market is on track to hit record lows seen in the 2009 Great Recession.
“It’s been a challenging year and there’s no hiding from that for any business _ particularly those in the hospitality industry,” Mike Glen, managing director for the United Arab Emirates and Oman for alcohol distributor Maritime and Mercantile International, told The Associated Press in an emailed statement.
Alcohol sales have long served as a major barometer of the economy of Dubai, a top travel destination in the UAE, home to the long-haul carrier Emirates. Ice-cold bottles of beer tempt tourists on hotel beaches, while decadent Champagne-soaked brunches draw well-to-do crowds of expatriate residents.
The sales also serve as a major tax revenue source for Dubai’s Al Maktoum ruling family.
Wizz Air resumes flights to St Petersburg
Wizz Air seems to be alone in using the pandemic to expand.
Last week, the low-cost airline said it would be growing its presence at Doncaster Sheffield, then this week it announced the same for London Gatwick.
Today, the carrier is restarting its services to the Russian city of St Petersburg, as the country’s travel restrictions ease.
Wizz said in a press release:
With the lifting of travel restrictions in Russia, UK passengers can once again visit the world-famous city and cultural capital of Russia, once dubbed the ‘window into Europe’. Today, St Petersburg is brimming with iconic architecture, palaces and museums as well as a hipster restaurant and bar scene.
Passengers looking to visit this summer or later in the year can purchase WIZZ Flex with their flight tickets, to be able to alter their booking for ultimate flexibility. By doing so, passengers can cancel their flight up to three hours before departure without any fee and get 100 per cent of the original fare immediately reimbursed in airline credit, as well as change dates and even routes an unlimited number of times.
In pictures: France for the French
British holidaymakers may not be able to enjoy the delights of France right now, but that does not stop the French, as shown by these pictures.
Germany will not ease restrictions, says Merkel
Germany will not further ease its remaining lockdown restrictions so long as cases are rising in the country, Chancellor Angela Merkel has said.
Bloomberg has the details:
Europe’s largest economy recorded the biggest increase in coronavirus cases in nearly four months on Tuesday, fueling fears about a resurgence of infections across the continent.
The recent trend “should not continue and we need to contain it,” Merkel said in Dusseldorf, adding that fines will need to be levied for people flaunting hygiene and social-distancing rules. “We are in the midst of the pandemic,” she said in her first public comments since the recent uptick in Germany.
European officials are already tightening restrictions on movement again in an effort to prevent summer partying and travel from spreading the disease. Spain and Italy have shut nightclubs and Greece limited hours for bars and restaurants to try to avoid more drastic measures after the holiday season winds down.
Germany is requiring people returning from heavily affected areas to quarantine for two weeks or present a negative test to thwart the disease from spreading in schools and workplaces.
Croatia and Greece: destined for quarantine?
Here is how the pandemic is currently playing out in the two popular holiday destinations on the chopping block this week. A decision is expected tomorrow.
Could testing finally replace quarantine?
That is the hope of the travelling nation.
Good morning. Some good news to start your day as Heathrow begins a scheme that could soon see quarantine reduced to as short as five days.
Charles Hymas reports:
Testing travellers for coronavirus is set to replace the imposition of blanket quarantines under plans to be discussed by Cabinet ministers next week, with the news coming as Heathrow unveiled a purpose-built testing centre.
Ministers are due to meet on Monday to consider options including testing passengers between five and 10 days after their arrival to enable them to shorten their 14-day self-isolation if the results are negative.
On Tuesday, Heathrow announced that an airside Covid-19 testing centre in Terminal Two was ready to swab its first passengers, for £150 a time,once the Government gives the green light to a trial. It plans a second centre in Terminal Five next month.
Airports, airline bosses and travel industry chiefs have warned that testing is the only way to open up travel to and from “high-risk” countries such as the US and end uncertainty for holidaymakers hit by quarantines reimposed at short notice on countries including France and Spain.
Read the full story.