France is days away from being added to the UK’s quarantine list, according to senior sources within the Government.
The Foreign Office is due to update its ‘safe’ list this week, with Portugal hoping to gain its first travel corridor of the pandemic, meaning returning holidaymakers will not be required to self-isolate for 14 days. France, however, is one of several countries in Europe to have seen a rise in its number of coronavirus infections in recent days.
Paul Charles, spokesperson for campaign group Quash Quarantine and founder of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said he understood France, along with Malta, Switzerland, Poland and the Netherlands, could be subject to fresh restrictions.
“I know from senior government sources that anything above 20 cases per 100,000 for a period of seven days or more is likely to lead to that country being added to the quarantine list,” he told Telegraph Travel.
“On that basis, France has just two days to gets its numbers below 20 – which is highly unlikely despite face masks now being mandatory in many outdoor public spaces, not just indoors in shops.”
Follow the latest news below.
Air travel numbers may have peaked for 2020
Passenger air capacity may have peaked for 2020, an aviation expert has warned.
John Grant from analysts OAG said last week the number of seats on planes broke through the 60 million mark for the first time since the pandemic, but capacity is already falling again.
“We may not have realised it at the time and it certainly didn’t feel that great, but last week’s global capacity may have represented the peak week for 2020 in the new world of Covid-19,” he said.
“Last week we broke through the 60 million mark; this week we are just below that point and although there are pockets of capacity growth around the globe there are also a number of new travel and rumoured travel restrictions dragging capacity down.”
Grant cited figures showing reductions in scheduled capacity from some of the world’s largest airlines, with many scheduling with caution.
“If indeed last week does prove to have been the busiest from a capacity perspective in the Covid-19 world, then the outlook for the coming winter season is pretty gloomy,” he said.
The secrets of North Wales
Tamara Hinson was forced to swap a trip to Everest Base Camp for a week in a static caravan in North Wales. But she discovered that this region can be just as exciting as the Himalayas.
Where to have a mask-free holiday
France has just made masks mandatory in busy parts of Paris, while most of Spain enforces face coverings at all times – even in an empty park. But the scientific advisors in several European countries still believe they are not necessary.
The world’s 10 greatest places for birdwatching
Inspired by the birdsong that defined our lockdown spring? Then grab your binoculars, pack your bags and head to some of the world’s great birdwatching hotspots, says Stephen Moss. Take a look at his favourite options.
Cruise ships could be used to process rescued migrants, former MOD boss suggests
With so many cruise ships gathering dust, Rear Admiral Chris Parry thinks they could be used to solve the Channel crisis.
He suggested out of use cruise liners could be used to process those picked up by the Border Force, rather than officials “providing a taxi service to dry land”.
He said: “One of the things that I’ve been looking at this week is employing one of the many unemployed cruise liners along the south coast.
“You take them to a cruise liner, you quarantine them, you give them medical checks, and then you can process them and those that can come to the UK come, and those that can’t get returned.”
Read the full story.
‘Here in Greece, it feels like the age before tourism became mass tourism’
For those who manage to navigate its passenger locator form, a far quieter Greece awaits. Our columnist, the author Anthony Horowitz, writes:
Yannis, our taxi driver, who is now an old friend, was more than happy to see us. He’s had a terrible year, with no business at all; it’s brutally unfair given that Greece was making such progress after its last financial crisis. We drove past empty beaches, closed shops. Nearly all the major hotels around Agios Nikolaos have failed to open and there is no Greek equivalent of Rishi Sunak offering support. At least the restaurants that are open can offer tables outside, even if social distancing is the exact opposite of the intimacy and family spirit that is so much a part of the Greek spirit.
But the sun is still shining. The Aegean is a brilliant blue. There seems to be less rubbish in the streets and there are no jet skis carving up the water and disturbing the calm with their chainsaw buzz. After so much rain earlier in the year, everything is very green. That’s the trouble with this country. It’s a bit like the dolphin’s smile. No matter how bad things are and how much it is hurting, it just can’t look miserable. I’ve only been here a few days, but everyone I have met has been glad to see me. There’s a definite nervousness about Covid. People are careful. But I’ve not yet experienced any sense that I’m a danger or that I shouldn’t have come.
Greek tragedy for British families
Oliver Smith reports that dozens of British families are having their holiday plans spoiled due to confusion over the Greek government’s new online passenger locator form, introduced to aid the country’s test-and-trace efforts.
All arrivals must fill out the form at least 24 hours before departure, giving details about where they will stay during their time in Greece. A QR code, which can be scanned by Greek authorities upon arrival, is then sent via email.
However, dozens of travellers have already been caught out, with many forced to fork out thousands of pounds for new flights, while others have reported a lack of guidance from airlines and contradictory advice.
Read the full story.
The safest options for summer
Worried about your holiday turning into a two-week quarantine back on UK soil? Here are the countries with the highest (and lowest) case rates.
Thousands flock to Croatia for last-minute sun
Crisis? What crisis? More than one million arrivals and 7.2 million overnight stays have been reported by the Croatian tourist board so far in August, around 70 per cent of last year’s figure for the same period. The country saw a rise in cases last month but the infection rate have fallen since then. It looks like a fairly solid bet for a last-minute summer break.
‘There isn’t a risk-free way of travelling overseas’
The Prime Minister’s spokesman has given more details on the Government’s approach to implementing quarantine rules.
Asked if France could be added to the quarantine list, the official spokesman said: “We keep the data for all countries and territories under constant review.
“Any decisions to update the exemptions list will be informed by the latest health data and we can and will act rapidly. We have been updating the exemptions list on a weekly basis in order to make sure that it reflects the changes in the international health picture.”
He added: “If there is a need to act very rapidly in order to protect public health, then we wouldn’t hesitate to do so.”
He went on: “Unfortunately, during this pandemic there isn’t a risk-free way of travelling overseas. The population’s made a huge effort to get the disease down to the levels that we’re seeing in the UK and if we feel that we need to act in relation to the travel exemptions list then we’ll do so.”
He continued: “While we can amend the list at any time and we can remove countries from the exempt list, if there’s a sustained improvement in the health situation in a particular country we can reinstate exemptions or add some new ones.”
Britons booking last minute private jets to beat travel restrictions
Well-heeled British holidaymakers are booking private jets to cater for last-minute trips, figures suggest.
Air Charter Service says more than half (56%) of its private jets are booked within three days of travelling, when it was previously between a week and to a month of travelling.
The aircraft broker said it had seen a 258 per cent increase in private jet enquiries since the Government introduced travel corridors.
Andy Christie, from Air Charter Service, said: “We are now seeing a remarkable trend in customers booking just a few days in advance of their trip – some are even booking the day before they travel.
“We are finding that Britons know where they want to go, but due to uncertainty regarding new travel restrictions being put in place, they are on tenterhooks waiting to see if the next announcement will affect their travel plans which is preventing them from booking in advance.
“While we have some customers who generally tend to book last minute, we have never before seen such a prominent trend across our entire client base.”
UK to soak in two months of rain in ‘a few hours’
To everyone enjoying the Mediterranean weather in the UK at the moment, the Met Office has some news…
The UK could get more than two months’ rainfall in just a few hours as thunderstorms move in across the country.
Forecasters are preparing for a “worst-case scenario” of up to 150mm this afternoon and this evening in some places – more than twice the 70mm average for the month of August – with heavy rainfall already reported across Devon and Cornwall in the south-west of England.
The worst affected areas are expected to be between Birmingham and Cumbria, from around 4pm on Monday, although almost the whole of the UK is covered by a Met Office weather warning between now and Thursday evening.
It follows an intense period of very hot weather which saw temperatures reach 34C at Herstmonceux in East Sussex on Sunday, the fourth consecutive day the thermometers passed 30C in the south of England – although there is every chance hot weather will remain, with temperatures of up to 36C possible across the south coast at the beginning part of the week.
Bonnie Diamond, a meteorologist with the Met Office, said: “There is a pretty broad warning in place today, but there is another for central UK – the Midlands up to the North West of England to about Cumbria, and into Wales – which we are watching really closely.
“We are looking at the potential for some thunderstorms there from about 4pm to the early hours. It’s a worst-case scenario – a caution, really, for what could happen – but we are looking at a potential for 150mm rain in three or four hours. Normally for August you’re looking at around 70mm for the month, so it’s potentially a lot of rain.”
Where’s next for quarantine?
My colleague Oliver Smith has updated our guide to the countries that might potentially be added to the quarantine list in the coming days, including Switzerland.
Read the full story.
Belgium’s coronavirus in numbers
Belgium had its travel corridor with the UK removed by the Government last week. Here is how the country has fared in terms of the coronavirus in recent weeks:
Kenyans flock to watch wildebeest migration in absence of tourists
Normally, the magnificent plains of Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve are crowded with international tourists hoping to see a lion hunt during the annual wildebeest migration – but this year Covid-19 means Kenyans had it all to themselves.
That’s good news for animal watchers but bad for conservationists who rely on the funds to pay for rangers and protection. By June, Kenya had already lost 80 billion Kenyan shillings ($740 million)in tourism revenue, about half of last year’s total, due to the coronavirus crisis.
This weekend, thousands of mostly Kenyan visitors travelled to the park to witness the migration. There were few foreigners – Kenya shut down international flights in March and only resumed them on August 1.
“Once I came here, my thought and my view about everything has changed. I am actually embarrassed that I have not come here the 29 years I have been alive,” tourist Patience Mumo said.
So far Kenya has just over 26,000 confirmed cases of the disease and 420 deaths. Tourist resorts are required to observe strict social distancing and hygiene measures but have been allowed to reopen.
Jet2 to resume Cyprus flights next week
Jet2 says it will resume flights to Cyprus on August 17 after the UK’s coronavirus risk profile was improved by the island’s government. The airline said it would restart services from eight UK airports, including Stansted, Birmingham and Manchester.
As it stands, travellers to Cyprus require proof of a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours of arrival.
Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2 and Jet2holidays, said: “Looking at the demand it’s very clear just how much our customers are looking forward to their well-deserved holidays in the Cypriot sunshine.
“These have been incredibly uncertain and difficult times for everyone, and we have been busy looking after our customers and doing the right thing for them. As a result of this, customers know they can trust us to deliver and that’s our absolute focus for anyone travelling with us – delivering award winning customer service and package holidays you can trust.”
The UK Foreign Office says children under 12 do not require a test to enter Cyprus. See the full advice here.
In pictures: Life goes on in India
India has recorded the third largest number of coronavirus cases in the world: 2.2million and 44,499 deaths.
Yet life goes on.
‘We will not hesitate to impose quarantines’, says PM
Boris Johnson has said ministers will “not hesitate” to impose a quarantine system for travellers from other countries to the UK if needed.
The Prime Minister said:
“I don’t want to advise people about their individual holidays, individual decisions, they should look at the travel advice from the Foreign Office clearly.
“But what I will say, and I hope people would expect us to do this, in the context of a global pandemic, we’ve got to keep looking at the data in all the countries to which British people want to travel.
“Where it is necessary to impose restrictions or to impose a quarantine system, we will not hesitate to do so.
“It’s been a huge effort for the entire population of this country to get the disease down to the levels that we are currently seeing, but we do not want reinfection and that’s why we’ve got to keep a very, very close eye on the data in destinations around the world.”
His comments come as the Government is expected to review its ‘safe’ list this week.
France’s pandemic in numbers
As the spotlight turns on France and its rising case numbers, here is how the country’s coronavirus situation looks today.
Montenegro prays for return of Russian tourists
The world’s holiday hotspots have seen their summer seasons decimated by the pandemic, and Montenegro is no different.
Beaches along Montenegro’s Adriatic coast, normally packed with tourists in August, were largely empty last week in a sign of how badly the coronavirus is hurting the country’s economy.
Revenues from the summer tourist season are expected to drop by around 90 per cent from 280 million euros ($330 million) in 2019. Tourism accounts for more than 20 per cent of Montenegro’s economy.
In the coastal resort of Budva, patrons in cafes were few and far between. Krsto Niklanovic gazed at the sea from his restaurant’s empty terrace. “The turnover now is at about 12 per cent compared to the same date last year,” Niklanovic told Reuters on Sunday.
To salvage the season, Montenegro last week opened its borders to Russians, who normally make up a third of the 2.6 million tourists visiting annually. Russia must still adopt reciprocal measures before its tourists start arriving.
Ties between Podgorica and the Kremlin soured after Montenegro joined NATO in 2016, but Russians still own around a third of all the foreign companies and real estate in the country.
Zeljka Radak-Kukavicic, head of Montenegro’s Tourist Organisation, said the arrival of the Russians would help. “I believe … we will manage … to at least minimize the effects of the previous seven months,” she said.
Minister attacks ‘unacceptable’ rise in migrant crossing ahead of crunch talks
Away from the coronavirus, a diplomatic situation is brewing across the Channel.
A minister has attacked the “unacceptable situation” of growing numbers of migrants crossing the Channel, insisting the Government will be “taking action to ensure this isn’t a viable route”.
More than 4,000 people are believed to have made the journey so far, some of them vulnerable individuals including young children, pregnant women and disabled people.
Health minister Helen Whately told Sky News: “We do have an unacceptable situation of many migrants coming across the Channel at the moment. It’s also a dangerous route, there’s real risk to life for those coming across, it’s obviously a form of illegal immigration, it’s not the right way to come to the United Kingdom.”
She rejected suggestions that the French were turning a blind eye to the problem, instead emphasising plans to work collaboratively with the French, stressing there had been a “particular shift” towards using boats, noting that just a couple of years ago it was the Eurotunnel.
Immigration minister Chris Philp is due to hold talks with French counterparts tomorrow, amid reports that the UK is planning to deploy the Navy – something Ms Whately did not rule out.
However Calais MP Pierre-Henri Dumont warned against such plans, telling the Today programme it was just a “political” move which “won’t change anything”.
He added: “Is the Royal Navy going to enter French waters before the migrants try to cross and arrive into British waters?… I don’t know if the British government would be very happy to see the other way.”
Follow the latest politics news here.
‘Forget floating hotels, these ships are made for people who hate cruises’
My colleague Benjamin Parker has been writing on the ever-popular debate between those who love cruises and those who hate even the thought of one. He says the rise of smaller ships is appealing to a new crowd.
What picture forms in your head if asked to imagine a cruise ship? Results of a straw poll among friends suggest the first thought is behemoths, the floating holiday resorts thundering between ports.
There remains a place for these in the cruising seascape, but they have been one of the major victims as coronavirus forces the industry to remould itself. Carnival Corporation, the world’s biggest cruise operator, is dropping 13 ships from its fleet this year – that’s a never-before-seen reduction in capacity of 9 per cent – and the debuts of Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas (which will become the world’s largest) and Carnival’s Mardi Gras have been delayed.
But if there are losers in this scenario, there must be winners. We’re seeing the rise of smaller vessels.
Read the full story.
Australians desperate for travel eye White Continent
Qantas is to resume its sightseeing flights over Antarctica this November as Australians remain on lockdown in terms of international travel.
The Australian flag carrier typically offers ventures out over the White Continent every summer, and says this year should be no different. It operates the 12-hour flights, which do not land on Antarctica, with Antarctica Flights.
As the services do not land elsewhere they are classed and domestic services, so passengers do not require passports.
“Whilst it is very difficult for Australians to travel overseas at this time, our Antarctica Flights guests will be able to ‘visit’ another continent in a day,” Antarctica Flights CEO Bas Bosschieter told 7NEWS.com.au.
The plane – a 787 Dreamliner – flies at around 10,000 feet over the ice in looping figures of eight, with around 19 different flight plans meaning the flight crew can attempt to find clear sky even during inclement weather. Aircraft do not fly lower so as not to disturb nature.
‘I have the inside line on the UK’s quarantine policy’
Here is Paul Charles’s article in full.
The travel insider has long had his ear to the ground with regard to how the Government is making its quarantine decisions. He tries to make sense of it:
Few of us in the travel sector had heard of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control even a few weeks ago. The ECDC, ironically based in Sweden, is an agency of the European Union aimed at strengthening Europe’s defences against infectious diseases.
Yet this previously little-known agency is now playing a vital role in charting the path of which countries are next to be added to the UK Government’s quarantine list, or indeed removed from it as Malaysia and Brunei will be as of Tuesday.
Each day the ECDC publishes the latest, grim global data on coronavirus case numbers and deaths per country. From Aruba to Bolivia, Croatia to Israel, Mexico to Pakistan, the numbers tell the story of the day-by-day march of Covid-19 across the world.
And it’s one statistic in particular that is being watched the most closely by Public Health England and the Joint Biosecurity Centre; that is the cumulative number, over seven days, of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 of the population.
It is this statistic which first raised worrying alarm bells in Whitehall about the sudden spike in Covid cases in Spain.
Read the full story.
Malta at risk of losing its travel corridor
Malta is at risk of losing its travel corridor with the UK after a rise in coronavirus cases saw fresh lockdown measures introduced.
The island nation saw its 14-day cumulative number of new cases rise above 50 per 100,000, a figure that last week saw Belgium removed from the Foreign Office’s ‘safe list’.
Malta has seen a sharp uptick in infections in recent days, prompting authorities to enforce the mandatory wearing of face masks in public and ban large gatherings. The country has recorded just over 1,000 cases and nine deaths.
Malta relies on tourism for a third of its GDP; one hotel manager told Telegraph Travel last week that any new restrictions would be “devastating”.
The UK Government is expected to make further amends to its list of travel corridors this week, with a number of countries in the firing line for quarantine restrictions. On the other hand, Portugal is hoping to be added to the ‘safe’ list for the first time.
New Zealand eyes new ‘travel bubble’
New Zealand, which is celebrating 100 days with community transmission of the coronavirus, is to open a “travel bubble” with the tiny Pacific realm of Cook Islands.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the plans on Monday, but added caution over the potential for similar arrangements with Australia.
AFP has the details:
Ardern said the quarantine-free travel corridor was possible because New Zealand and the Cooks – an archipelago of under 10,000 people – had successfully contained the coronavirus.
“Our expectation is that it would be in place before the end of the year,” she told reporters, adding that officials were being careful not to move too quickly on the proposal.
“The last thing anyone wants is to reopen travel, only to have it closed down again because it hasn’t been done properly.”
New Zealand has recorded only 22 coronavirus deaths in a population of five million, and marked 100 days since its last case of community transmission on Sunday, while the Cooks declared itself virus-free in mid-April.
Portugal awaits news on FCO ‘safe’ list
Good morning, here are some of the key developments this morning.
Spain cracks down on nightclubs
Paris tightens face mask laws amid second wave
Portugal awaits news on FCO ‘safe’ list
Greece overtakes Spain in popularity for British holidaymakers
UK police have issued only 33 fines for travellers not wearing face masks