December 8, 2021

cruciforme

travel, Always a step ahead

Italy and Greece holidays at risk, but testing could ‘unlock’ quarantine

tuscany - Getty
tuscany – Getty

Holidays to Italy and mainland Greece could be at risk in the Government’s next quarantine review as infection rates rise across Europe.

Both countries have seen their seven-day case rates top 20 per 100,000 people, the threshold at which the UK Government considers imposing quarantine – Italy and Greece recorded rates of 22.7, as of Saturday. 

A number of Greek islands are already subject to UK quarantine rules. Arrivals to England and Northern Ireland from Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Mykonos, Crete, Santorini and Zakynthos (Zante) are required to self-isolate. Wales requires travellers from nine Greek islands to quarantine, and Scotland has imposed quarantine on arrivals from anywhere in Greece. 

However, the Government has revealed that it will make an announcement on airport testing “in the coming days”.

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, is among those backing an airport testing programme. He told Telegraph Travel: “I’m hopeful that a UK traveller testing policy will help to unlock the quarantine restrictions which at the moment are strangling the sector and preventing recovery.”

The Telegraph’s Test4Travel campaign calls for tests at UK ports and airports, by Christmas. 

Scroll down for the latest travel updates

01:33 PM

Airport testing will boost consumer confidence, says Thomas Cook boss

The Government is to announce details on airport testing in the coming days, it was revealed at the Conservative Party conference on Saturday.

Alan French, chief executive of (relaunched, online- only tour operator) Thomas Cook welcomed the news:

This is music to our ears. We can see Brits really want a holiday but their confidence to book one continues to erode as the rules around travel and lockdowns change. [A] robust testing regime in place at airports will help boost confidence and mean people can book holidays with greater certainty that they can travel without quarantining on return.

Our approach of only selling holidays that are on the Government’s safe travel corridor list is to provide as much confidence as we can. Adding in testing – first at Heathrow, and then more broadly – would strengthen that. Enabling families to get away this winter for a much-needed break is so important and we welcome the news on testing.

01:17 PM

Which countries can you feasibly visit right now? 

There are 16 places Britons can visit without major restrictions at the moment. They are:

1. Germany

2. Gibraltar

3. Greece (Partially open)

4. Italy (including Vatican City)

5. San Marino

6. Sweden

7. Cyprus: Test before departure

8. Faroe Islands: Test on arrival

9. Jersey: Test on arrival

10. Madeira

11. Anguilla: Test before departure

12. Antigua and Barbuda: Test before departure

13. Barbados: Test before departure 

14. Bermuda: Test before departure

15. St Lucia: Test before departure

16. St Vincent and the Grenadines: Test before departure

12:53 PM

Antigua becomes the latest island paradise to lure ‘digital nomads’

Remote workers desiring a tropical backdrop can now add Antigua and Barbuda to their list of prospective long-term work abodes.

Similarly to Barbados and Bermuda, which are offering year-long stays, the Caribbean island nation is launching a new visa – the ‘Nomad Digital Residence’ scheme – allowing eligible applicants and their dependents to stay for up to two years.

Charlotte Johnstone has the details.

12:33 PM

Local lockdowns: what do they mean for overseas holidays?

At midnight, a ban on households socialising indoors can into force in Liverpool, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Warrington, Now, more than a third of the UK population is living under tighter coronavirus restrictions.

So what does it mean for people living in these areas who a due to travel overseas? 

Nick Trend offers guidance.

12:13 PM

Your UK holiday calendar: Glorious breaks to get you through the next six months

With this July and August seeing too many people trying to holiday in the same places at the same time, the only way for many of us to guarantee an annual getaway has been to defer it into autumn or even winter, instead, writes Sarah Baxter.

But is that a bad thing? While little about Covid is anything other than awful, here I see a sliver of a silver lining. Because exploring this country – this varied, cultured, wild, delicious country – year-round is exactly what we should do.

Here, Sarah offers a selection of enticing UK breaks for the darker months.

11:39 AM

A testing policy will help to unlock quarantine, says travel boss

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, has submitted a proposal to government for a two-test system which would reduce pressure on the NHS lab facilities.

He proposes that all travellers from a high-risk “red zone” would show a negative test certificate on arrival into the UK, then quarantine for just four days, and then take a second test on the fifth day, paid for privately by the traveller.

Mr Charles says: 

I know that the government has been working for some weeks on a testing solution for travellers into and out of the UK. The policy that’s due to be announced will avoid further pressure on the NHS and put more of the onus for the cost of a test on the passenger.

This will enable hotels, tour operators and airlines to offer pricing with tests included, making it easier for travellers to buy an all-inclusive travel package. I’m hopeful that a UK traveller testing policy will help to unlock the quarantine restrictions which at the moment are strangling the sector and preventing recovery.

11:32 AM

Airport Covid-19 tests ‘cannot come soon enough’ – Airlines UK

Airlines UK, the trade body for UK-registered airlines, comments on the news that there will be a Government announcement on airport testing in the coming days:

These are encouraging comments as testing on arrival cannot come soon enough for an aviation industry on the brink and the UK’s wider economic recovery. Testing is already happening in major economies around the world and has been found to be safe and effective, and can we implemented through private provision without taking capacity away from the NHS.

We desperately need to open up international travel again and testing – alongside a more targeted regional quarantine policy – is the only way to do that.

11:25 AM

Flood barrier successfully protects Venice from high tide

A long-delayed flood barrier system successfully protected Venice from a high tide for the first time on Saturday, bringing big relief to the lagoon city after years of repeated inundations.

“Today, everything is dry,” mayor Luigi Brugnaro said on Twitter. “Pride and joy.”

The network of 78 bright yellow barriers that guard the entrance to the delicate Venetian lagoon lifted from the sea bed as the tide, driven by strong winds and rain, started to climb.

City officials had forecast a tide of 130 cm (4.27 ft), well below the devastating the 187 cm tide that battered Venice last November, but enough to leave low-lying areas deep under water.

However, when the expected peak came shortly after midday, the famed St. Marks Square, one of the first places in Venice to flood, remained largely dry.

10:53 AM

Airport testing announcement to be made ‘in coming days’, says Treasury minister

The Government will make an announcement about airport testing “in the coming days”, a Treasury minister has said in the first key moment of the Conservative party conference today.

Steve Barclay, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, told Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye airport testing was a “key priority” adding that Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, and Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, to make an announcement on this “in the coming days”.

The aviation industry has long called for airport testing to be introduced as a way of reducing the amount of time people will have to spend in quarantine after arriving in the UK from one of the many counties on the “red list”

The Telegraph is campaigning for quarantine to be replaced with testing at UK ports and airports.

Catherine Neilan has the full story.

10:48 AM

Germany marks 30th anniversary of its reunification

Germany is marking the 30th anniversary of its reunification today with low-key celebrations due to the Covid-19 crisis.

The country was reunited on October 3, 1990, following four decades of Cold War division. 

“We have achieved a lot in these 30 years,” Chancellor Angela Merkel, who grew up in the east, told Germany’s parliament this week. “We have succeeded in significantly reducing the differences in living conditions between eastern and western Germany.”

The main piece of Saturday’s celebrations is a ceremony in Potsdam, with 230 guests, about one-fifth of the audience originally planned.

German politics during the church service in Potsdam - Getty
German politics during the church service in Potsdam – Getty

10:36 AM

New Zealand refuses quarantine-free trips from Australia

New Zealand will not reciprocate quarantine-free trips across the Tasman sea as the Australian Capital Territory joins Australia’s (one-way) travel bubble with the country.

Australia’s deputy prime minister announced on Friday that New South Wales and the Northern Territory would exempt New Zealanders from a 14 days of quarantine on arrival from 16 October.

However,  New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern said the country would hold off opening up until Australia, or specific states and territories, recorded a month without community transmission of Covid-19.

Ms Arden said: 

That’s key for us. One of our criteria is 28 days clear., You can see from NSW, they themselves are still warning their population but they’re not at this stage clear as to whether they still have community transmission.

10:21 AM

Madrid starts partial Covid-19 lockdown

Madrid awoke Saturday to its first day under a partial lockdown, with police controlling travel in and out of the Spanish capital that has become Europe’s biggest hot spot for the second wave of the coronavirus.

The two-week ban imposed by Spain’s national government on reluctant regional officials started Friday night at 8pm GMT. 

The measures prohibit all nonessential trips in and out of the capital and nine of its suburbs, affecting around 4.8 million people. Restaurants must close at 11pm and shops at 10pm, and reduce occupancy to 50 per cent of their capacity.

Before lockdown was reimposed, James Badcock reported on how the collapse of tourism had turned Madrid into a ghost town.

10:13 AM

Should I risk booking a winter holiday? Latest advice as travel map shrinks

As the evenings draw in, the traveller’s map is shrinking fast. So should you try booking a trip abroad for winter, including over the upcoming October half-term? Nick Trend, Telegraph Travel’s consumer expert, offers his verdict.

venice
venice

09:46 AM

Travellers to pay up to 78 per cent tax on flights as Government increases levy

Travellers face paying up to 78 per cent tax on flights from April under a rise in the levy after the Government ignored airlines’ plea for a waiver, reports Charles Hymas and Sam Meadows.

An analysis, published today (Sat) by a group of MPs including senior Tories, shows that on average the Government will be taking nearly 40 per cent in tax for flying on a one-way ticket from UK airports.

On some routes, however, the Air Passenger Duty (APD) rises to over 50 per cent and a peak of 78 per cent for a flight to Israel, where a £82 of the £105 ticket is tax. It is 62 per cent on a £21 flight to Malta and 59 per cent on £22 flights to Portugal and Denmark.

The study, by the Future of Aviation Group, led by Tory MP Henry Smith, and backed by Sir Graham Brady, chair of the influential 1922 backbench committee, comes after Chancellor Rishi Sunak rejected calls to help the struggling aviation industry by waiving the charge for a year.

Read the full story.

09:44 AM

Police increase partrols in Australia’s Covid-19 hotspot 

Police in Australia’s coronavirus hotspot state of Victoria stepped up patrolling on Saturday as hundreds of people in the city of Melbourne breached stringent lockdown restrictions and flocked to beaches on the warmest weekend in months.

st kilda beach - Getty
st kilda beach – Getty

Under the restrictions, nearly five million people in Melbourne, Victoria’s capital, may exercise or socialise outdoors for a maximum of two hours a day, but must stay close to home. People must wear masks in public places.

However, media footage showed crowds at some of Melbourne’s beaches as temperatures soared.

“A number of fines were issued to people who breached directions …. and Victoria Police will be conducting increased patrols of popular public spaces this weekend,” police said in a statement.

09:28 AM

Which country could be next for quarantine?

Mainland Greece is looking somewhat risky (although Greek islands with lower rates of infection look safe under the UK Government’s island corridors policy). Italy, Sweden and Germany, are also close-to, or over, the threshold at which the Government considers revoking a travel corridor.

Coronavirus Italy Spotlight Chart - cases default
Coronavirus Italy Spotlight Chart – cases default
Coronavirus Sweden Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus Sweden Spotlight Chart – Cases default
Coronavirus Germany Spotlight Chart - deaths default
Coronavirus Germany Spotlight Chart – deaths default

09:14 AM

St Kitts and Nevis is to reopen its borders on October 31

The Caribbean destination of St Kitts and Nevis will reopen its borders on October 31.

The federation is included on the UK’s list of travel corridors and is exempt from Foreign Office advice against all but essential travel.

Lindsay Grant, the federation’s minister of tourism, transport and ports, said: “We have been working diligently to prepare for this reopening to ensure that we are ready to welcome travellers by training and certifying local businesses and individuals in the health and safety protocols they are required to meet and be certified in to be permitted to operate.”

These are six Caribbean countries that Britons can currently visit without quarantine on return (all require a Covid-19 test to be taken before departure):

Read more: The countries you can (feasibly) visit right now

09:01 AM

Venice deploys flood barrier for first time as storm drives up tide 

Venice deployed its long-delayed flood barriers for the first time on Saturday as forecasters warned that storms could combine with high tides to inundate the city, reports Reuters.

The network of 78 bright yellow barriers that guard the entrance to the delicate Venetian lagoon started to lift from the sea bed more than three hours before the high tide was scheduled to peak.

The tide, driven by strong winds and heavy rains, was expected to touch 130 cm (4.27 ft), well below the devastating the 187 cm tide that battered Venice last November but enough to leave low-lying areas deep under water.

Officials will be hoping the controversial, multi-billion-euro flood defence system, known as Mose, will mitigate the pending storm.

Read more: How Venice is faring in its worst year since the plague hit

08:54 AM

Comment: Finally, cruise is getting somewhere – now the Government must end its ban

After six months of standstill, could the Foreign Office lift the lunatic diktat that’s halting the £10 billion cruise industry?

It’s about time the Government provided more support, especially as the UK cruise sector has put in the work on health and safety protocols, writes Jane Archer.

I was so hopeful. A press conference with the Cruise Lines International Association (Clia) UK and Ireland to  unveil new health and safety protocols that would get UK cruising back in the water. The documents themselves were impressive. Bold headlines, numerous bullet points and a contents list that Tolstoy would have been proud of. Finally, I thought, we are getting somewhere.

I know I am not the world’s most patient person, and appreciate that with winter around the corner this is not the time to start cruising around the UK, but I was expecting to hear at the very least that the Foreign Office had  finally agreed to lift the lunatic diktat, couched as advice, that bans all but the most determined Britons from going on an ocean cruise by nullifying their travel insurance. Until that is binned, UK cruising is – forgive the technical term – stuffed.

Read Jane’s comment piece in full.

08:45 AM

Jet2 increases flights to Greek and Portuguese islands after Turkey added to quarantine list

Jet2.com and Jet2holidays have increased capacity to Corfu, Kos, Rhodes and Madeira following Turkey and Poland losing their travel corridors.

More than 70 new flights have been added to the Greek and Portuguese islands for October as Jet2 reports a “spike in demand” for the four destinations. The additions represent more than 13,000 extra seats.

08:34 AM

The cheapest and costliest holiday options (of the few we can visit)

New data has revealed the most affordable holiday islands still open to UK holidaymakers, of the few that come without quarantine on return, reports Tom Mulvihill

Britons looking for a budget holiday abroad should consider Madeira, which has been named the best-value island still open to travellers from the UK.

Based on the prices of every-day purchases, including a cup of coffee, suncream and an evening meal, the Portuguese territory has been found to be the most affordable of eight island destinations still open to British holidaymakers, with an average daily cost of £65.53.

The three cheapest destinations for a quarantine-free island holiday (ranked from cheapest to most expensive), are:

  1. Madeira, Portugal – £65.53

  2. Paphos, Cyprus – £66.40

  3. Rhodes, Greece – £77.52

Take a look at the full list.

08:28 AM

Quarantine rules come into force for Turkey and Poland arrivals

Travellers arriving in the UK from Turkey, Poland and the Caribbean islands of Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba are now subject to 14-days of self-isolation, effective 4am Saturday.

Thousands of Britons were forced to cancel or cut short trips on Thursday after the latest quarantine list update from Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. Turkey was a surprise addition, leaving many scrabbling to get flights back from the country to avoid quarantine. 

08:18 AM

What happened yesterday?

The main travel headlines from Friday: 

  • Tui, Thomas Cook and Jet2 cancel Turkey holidays

  • Australia will reopen its borders to New Zealand quarantine-free

  • British cruise industry sets out future of sailing in ‘milestone’ document 

  • Face masks become mandatory in Rome 

  • Strict new rules announced for skiing in the US and Canada

Now onto today’s news

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