Curfews planned across Europe as restrictions put UK holidays at risk

Emma Featherstone
·20-min read
toulouse restaurant - Getty
toulouse restaurant - Getty

More than half the population of England is now living under increased Covid-19 restrictions, including rules on domestic travel, while curfews are coming into effect across Europe.

Pub-goers enjoyed a last night out in London on Friday before tier-two regulations came into force in the city – and several other areas of England – which prohibit different households from meeting indoors.

In Paris, people headed to bars and restaurants ahead of month-long restrictions for the capital and eight other French cities that will affect around 20 million people from Saturday.

Belgium, too, is set to impose a month-long curfew; Italy is also considering a nationwide curfew.

In the UK, restrictions now include a ban on people from high-risk areas of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland (which includes tiers two and three) visiting Wales and the start of a four-week "circuit breaker" lockdown in Northern Ireland

UK holidays are at further risk as both teachers and the Government's testing tsar Sir John Bell have backed plans for a two-week half term, possibly to coincide with a “circuit breaker” lockdown.

Scroll down for the latest travel updates.

04:04 PM

What happened today?

Here are the main travel headlines:

  • 'Health passports' to be tested on flights out of UK next week 

  • Spain outlines plans for travel corridors for Balearic and Canary Islands

  • Malta stops cruise passengers disembarking due to suspected case of Covid-19 

  • Travellers from high-risk areas banned from visiting Wales

  • Qantas to run charter flights to repatriate Australians

Catch-up with the rest below.

03:44 PM

In pictures: Covid-19 restrictions in Europe

Here's a snapshot of the rules (or recommendations) in place in European countries – plus a bucolic view from Wales.

garden centre - Shuterstock
garden centre - Shuterstock
barcelona - AP
barcelona - AP
 Visitors wait in line to enter Der Weisse Hase (The White Rabbit) bar, still open after 11pm - Shutterstock
Visitors wait in line to enter Der Weisse Hase (The White Rabbit) bar, still open after 11pm - Shutterstock
People wear masks in Milan (face masks are compulsory outdoors in Italy) - AFP
People wear masks in Milan (face masks are compulsory outdoors in Italy) - AFP
river am - PA
river am - PA
Mist shrouds fields in LLanddowror, Wales - Reuters
Mist shrouds fields in LLanddowror, Wales - Reuters

03:21 PM

Sweden considers 'local lockdowns' in shift in coronavirus strategy

Sweden is one of just four restriction-free destinations available to British holidaymakers.

The country has become known for imposing Covid-19 rules than most other European nations. 

However, Sweden is tightening up its approach, writes Richard Orange.

03:08 PM

Where are the UK's coronavirus hotspots?

Tier-three restrictions have been imposed in the Liverpool City Region and Lancashire, while eight areas of England are now under tier-two rules (both tiers can impact your UK travel options). What's the situation in your local area? Search below.

Where are the UK's coronavirus hotspots?
Where are the UK's coronavirus hotspots?

02:55 PM

Italy 'to close high schools' as second coronavirus wave sweeps Europe

Italy is considering a nationwide curfew and closing high schools after the country reported its highest every daily toll of coronavirus infections as the second wave of the pandemic swept Europe, reports James Crisp.

New measures were introduced or are expected against the resurgent virus in other European countries as records for infection numbers were broken across the Continent on Saturday. 

Italian authorities meet this evening to discuss the measures, which would close cafes and restaurants from 10pm and compel people to return home. More than 10,000 coronavirus infections were reported in Italy on Friday.  

Cinemas could be closed and football matches, both professional and amateur, are expected to be banned. Only emergency or essential travel will be allowed, under the new rules, according to media reports in Italy. 

Read the full story.

02:32 PM

Lack of tier-three support could destroy Liverpool's tourism businesses

Tourism businesses in Liverpool face uncertainty after the city was put under tier-three restrictions on 14 October, reports Stuart Forster.

liverpool - Getty
liverpool - Getty

Attractions remain open and tours to the city continue to be offered online despite Liverpool being in the country’s highest possible local Covid-19 alert category.

“They’re advising people not to travel to tier three areas, but they should simply tell people not to," said the managing director of Liverpool City Sights.

"They should lock us down and help us by giving funding. They’re strangling us and we’ve got next to no revenue coming in," he added.

Read the full story.

02:14 PM

'Health passports' to be tested on flights out of UK next week

Digital “health passports” are to be tested on flights out of the UK for the first time next week under a plan to cut quarantine and enable Covid-safe air travel.

Britons flying from Heathrow to Newark Liberty International Airport, a major airport in the New York Metropolitan area, will be among the first in the world to travel using the digital health document. 

UK travellers will be screened for Covid-19 at Heathrow’s testing facility up to 72 hours before travel and will complete health questionnaires required by US border authorities. 

Results will be stored on the Commonpass smartphone app, which can be scanned by airlines and border officials to check that the passengers are Covid-free. 

If trials are successful, the scheme could allow passengers to reduce their time in quarantine.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps this week unveiled two potential approaches to reducing quarantine times for UK travellers – a test a week after arriving in the country, with release from quarantine with a negative results, and a “trailblazer” system where tests and isolation take place prior to travel.

01:49 PM

Benedict Allen: The enduring importance of Big Foot and the Yeti

These rather fanciful proto-humans serve to connect us to the natural environment upon which we depend, writes our columnist.

The island of Sumatra, home to the mythical orang pendek - istock
The island of Sumatra, home to the mythical orang pendek - istock

01:32 PM

How to get travel insurance should you choose to ignore Foreign Office advice

Contrary to popular belief, you can visit a country to which the Foreign Office (FCO) advises against travel without invalidating your insurance – you just need to contact one of the few providers willing to offer cover. What’s more, it shouldn’t cost much more than an ordinary policy. 

Here's how to do it.

01:13 PM

'Why can't the UK get itself organised?' – reactions to Italy quarantine decision

Italy's travel corridor with the UK was revoked on Thursday with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announcing that, from 4am on Sunday, quarantine would be imposed those arriving from the country. 

venice - Getty
venice - Getty

Anne Hanley spoke to locals and business owners in Italy about the decision. 

"There's no rationale to this," said Emily FitzRoy of Bellini Travel.

"Italy's attitude has been far more robust and sensible through this situation. Why can't we do tests? That way people could still head to Italy for half-term then go back to work and send their children back to school straight after."

Read the full story.

12:51 PM

Two more cruise lines restart sailings

Aida Cruises is resuming sailings in Italy with seven-day itineraries, from today.

It will be the second Carnival Corporation cruise line to restart cruising, following the resumption of sailings by Italy-based Costa Cruises in September.

Meanwhile, the Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line announced it will restart operations to Grand Bahama Island on December 18.

12:33 PM

Israel eases lockdown rules as infection rate falls

Israel has announced it will ease lockdown measures after a significant decline in the rate of coronavirus infections.

As of Sunday, restaurants will be allowed to offer takeaway food and Israelis will no longer be banned from traveling beyond a 1,000 yard radius of their home for non-essential reasons.

Beaches and nature reserves will reopen to the public and nurseries will be allowed to operate, though most schools and public-facing businesses will remain closed.

There are also plans to reopen the Western Wall and the Church of Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Holy City.

"As of now, the lockdown has been a major success. We are seeing a decline in all data, a clear and consistent decline," Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu told ministers as the new, relaxed rules were agreed.

Read the full story.

12:23 PM

Denmark sees cases fall

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, offers an update on infection rates in holiday destinations that are on and off the travel "safe list".

11:59 AM

The 17 destinations you can (feasibly) visit right now

The approved list of green-listed countries, which Britons can visit without needing to self-isolate on their return, is shrinking. Here are the destinations welcoming UK travellers (many with restrictions in place) that don't come two weeks of quarantine back in the UK.

Europe

1. Germany (With exceptions) 

2. Gibraltar

3. Greece (Partially open)

4. Sweden

5. Cyprus: Test before departure

6. Faroe Islands: Test on arrival

7. Jersey: Test on arrival

8. Madeira

Caribbean

9. Anguilla: Test before departure

10. Antigua and Barbuda: Test before departure

11. Barbados: Test before departure 

12. Bermuda: Test before departure

13. Grenada: Test before departure 

14. St Lucia: Test before departure

15. St Vincent and the Grenadines: Test before departure

Africa/Indian Ocean

16. Mauritius

17. Seychelles

11:39 AM

Italy's Lombardy region orders new anti-virus measures

The Italian region of Lombardy has ordered all bars to shut at midnight from Saturday as it battles a second wave of Covid-19.

All amateur sporting events have also been put on hold.

Under the new restrictions that will stay in effect until November 6, after 6pm bars will only be able to serve customers seated at tables, and the sale of takeaway alcohol is also banned after that time.

Lombardy has also prohibited the consumption of food and drink in all public outside areas under the new rules.

11:36 AM

The perfect holiday destination to fly, flop, and (almost) forget Covid

The largest Greek island is back on the UK's travel 'safe list', but Cretans are far from complacent, writes Jonathan Samuels.

spinalonga - Getty
spinalonga - Getty

Our sweating skipper told us through his face mask that we were nearing the tiny, rocky outcrop off the main island of Crete, a desolate place set aside by the authorities to house those showing symptoms. The island has a basic hospital, a church and a few ramshackle accommodation units for the sick. And, of course, a cemetery for those who never recover.

Thankfully, Spinalonga, off Crete’s north-east coast, is not the Greek government’s answer to keeping its islands Covid-free, but a tourist attraction made famous by Victoria Hislop’s hit novel The Island. It stopped being a leper colony in the 1950s. 

Travelling there today feels particularly surreal. As the sun beat down, we stepped off our boat and joined other tourists for a visit with strict social distancing measures. We kept apart just as healthy visitors had done when briefly landing on the island to take goods or offer services to the lepers in the first half of the last century. Now it is an intriguing mix of ancient Venetian fortress, Ottoman ruins and deserted cottages where the lepers once lived.

Read the full story.

11:22 AM

Dutch Royals abandon holiday to Greece after uproar at home

The Dutch royal couple have landed in hot water this week over a holiday to Greece, while people in the Netherlands have been urged to stay at home as much as possible. 

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima said in a statement that they saw the reactions of people, "which are intense, and they touch us." As a result they said they would cancel the rest of their vacation.

"Let there be no doubt: To beat the Covid-19 virus it is necessary to follow the rules. The discussion caused by our vacation does not contribute to that."

Dutch bars and restaurants were closed in the Netherlands as of Wednesday as part of a partial lockdown that will last at least four weeks to counter the sustained surge in coronavirus cases in the country.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that the nation needed to move a step closer to a full lockdown because otherwise hospitals would become so overburdened that people with other urgent needs would be unable to get treatment.

Coronavirus Netherlands Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus Netherlands Spotlight Chart - Cases default

11:07 AM

One in four hospitality firms could fail by 2021, survey suggests

As many as one in four hospitality businesses could be forced to close by early next year, leading to the loss of 750,000 jobs, new research suggests.

The study by UKHospitality, the British Institute of Innkeeping, and the British Beer & Pub Association found more than 76 per cent businesses were loss making.

Some 50 per cent of respondents to the survey of 460 firms thought that the restrictions in place will reduce their turnover by at least half this winter.

10:56 AM

Missing airplane food? FinnAir sells out of in-flight menu in supermarket 'pilot sheme'

With travel restrictions in place for people around the world, many miss the excitement of getting on a plane and going on holiday.

Finnair, however, has found that people miss air travel so much that they are even nostalgic for often-maligned aeroplane food.

The state-controlled airline's pilot scheme selling its first-class meals, such as reindeer meatballs and Arctic char, fully sold out after being launched on Thursday.

"They miss the flights. Customers have been telling me that they want to celebrate the days they had planned to be in an aeroplane, that now they are sitting at home simulating it by eating Finnair food," Kimmo Sivonen, who runs K-Citymarket in the suburb of Vantaa, told the Daily Telegraph.

Richard Orange has the full story.

10:42 AM

Watch: Police break up crowds in London ahead of Tier 2 restrictions

10:30 AM

Travellers from high-risk areas banned from visiting Wales

Travellers from Tier 2 or 3 areas in England, as well as the central belt of Scotland and the whole of Northern Ireland, are now banned from visiting Wales, effective 6pm on Friday (October 16).

Two thirds of the Welsh population are now living in local lockdown. 

In England, Tier 2 measures have come into force today in London, Essex, York, Elmbridge, Barrow-in-Furness, North East Derbyshire, Erewash and Chesterfield. The Liverpool City region and Lancashire are under Tier 3.

Welsh businesses told Telegraph Travel the restrictions were “hugely worrying for the tourism sector in Wales".

10:13 AM

Qantas to run charter flights to repatriate Australians

The Australian Government has recruited Qantas to operate eight repatriation flights from London, Delhi, and Johannesburg.

The flights will each carry 175 passengers. On arrival, these travellers will be required to go into a 14-day quarantine, most in an old mining camp outside Darwin.

Qantas is sending Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes to London for the flights from the UK on 22 October, 7 November and 11 November.

The flights will run nonstop from London to Darwin.

10:03 AM

A postcard from 'obedient' Corsica, where Covid rules go unchallenged

Corsica's anxiety levels – and rate of infections – remain low, reports Damien Gabet.

corsica - Getty
corsica - Getty

In Corsica – France’s ‘Island of Beauty’ in the Med – life, as ever, feels pretty relaxed. Sure, there are a few pastis patrons decrying the 10pm bar curfew, but, in general, locals have taken to changing conditions with a level head. This runs somewhat contrary to the stereotype of the wilful islander.

The result is that infections have been and remain proportionately low. It helps, of course, that the permanent population is a little over 300,000, with a density of around 30 people per square kilometre (that’s four times less than mainland France and 10 times less than the UK).

Corsica’s careful obedience – particularly during its 55-day lockdown – is also rooted in the common knowledge that the island has a mere 28 intensive care beds. If numbers escalate, even a little, people know things could very quickly become catastrophic.

Read the full story.

09:46 AM

Swiss yodellers blamed for worst supercluster in Europe

Yodelling is being blamed on creating the worst Covid supercluster in Switzerland and perhaps, experts say, Europe.

Scientists have pointed the finger at a yodel “musical” attended by 600 fans in late September in the rural Schwyz canton (region), in which concert-goers respected social distancing but were not required to wear masks.

"We can't do anything about what happened with this yodelling group. We found out nine days after the performances that several people from the group were infected," event organiser Beat Hegner told RTS public television.

Now the pandemic has swept through the region, with 1,238 cases compared with just 500 in mid-September.

Read the full story.

09:32 AM

Merkel urges Germans to reduce contacts and travel to curb second wave

Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germans on Saturday to curb social contacts and keep travel to a minimum, making a personal appeal after the federal and state governments struggled to agree on ways to contain a second wave of coronavirus infection.

“We have to do everything to prevent the virus from spreading out of control. Every day counts,” Ms Merkel said in her weekly video podcast.

German leaders were unable this week to reach a consensus on strong new measures to contain the second Covid19 wave.  Courts in several regions have, meanwhile, overturned bans on hotel stays for visitors from infection hotspots.

berlin - Getty
berlin - Getty

“We have to go further,” Merkel said. “I appeal to you: Meet with fewer people, either at home or outside. Please forsake any journey that is not absolutely essential, every party that is not absolutely essential. Stay at home, where at all possible.”

09:23 AM

Belgium to impose Covid-19 curfew from Monday

Belgium will introduce a Covid-19 curfew in the country from October 19, according to the Prime Minister of the Kingdom, Alexander De Croo.

The curfew will run from 12am to 5am each day and all cafes and restaurants will be required to close from Monday.

Belgium already has a mandatory mask regime in public transport and in all in-door public places.

09:10 AM

Malta stops cruise passengers disembarking due to suspected case of Covid-19

Malta prevented passengers disembarking from the MSC Grandiosa cruise ship on Friday over a suspected case of Covid-19, its tourism minister, Julia Farrugia Portelli, said.

A spokesperson for MSC Cruises told Telegraph Travel: "[On Friday], MSC Grandiosa arrived in Valletta, Malta along her 7-day Western Mediterranean itinerary. 

"Prior to her arrival, the ship reported to the local health authorities the presence on board of a potential case of Covid-19 infection which had been identified and immediately isolated in line with the existing and agreed protocol. 

"Local authorities today [Friday] opted not to issue free pratique to the ship for her regular ashore operations. 

"MSC Grandiosa departed Malta later [on Friday] morning and is currently on her way to Genoa, Italy, her next port of call. She will arrive there on Sunday morning, as per her regular schedule."

Malta began allowing cruise ships back in its harbour in July on condition that passengers stayed together and did not mix with locals.

09:02 AM

Holidaymakers returning from Italy face quarantine from 4am Sunday

UK travellers who are on holiday in Italy have until 4am tomorrow to return to the UK to avoid two weeks of quarantine. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced on Thursday that Italy (including Vatican City) and San Marino would be added to the UK's travel red list, effective 4am Sunday (this was a 24-hour extension of the previous time given to people to return to the UK ahead of quarantine-list changes). 

Italy is recording a seven-day rate of 71.4 cases per 100,000 residents.

There are now just four restriction-free destinations open to British holidaymakers.

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

08:53 AM

UK Government adviser backs 'circuit breaker' lockdown

Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at the University of Oxford, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:

I can see very little way of getting on top of this without some kind of a circuit-breaker because the numbers are actually pretty eye-watering in some bits of the country and I think it’s going to be very hard to get on top of this just biting around the edges.

I think there will be every effort to keep schools open. If in the end we have to take kids out for two weeks, calm it all down, and then start ideally embedded in a much more rigorous testing regime then that’s maybe what we may have to do.

Read more on the Coronavirus live blog.

08:43 AM

Teachers call for 'circuit-breaker' lockdown and two-week half term

Britain's biggest teachers' union has backed a "circuit-breaker" lockdown and called for secondary schools and colleges to be closed for an extended two-week half-term, reports Camilla Turner.

The intervention by the National Education Union (NEU) comes amid sustained pressure on Boris Johnson from Labour, Government scientific advisers and the NHS for the reintroduction of draconian nationwide restrictions.  

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, the Prime Minister said he wanted to avoid such measures, but "cannot rule anything out".

Families half-term holiday plans have already been thrown into disarray by the introduction of the three-tier system, the prospect of  "circuit breaker" lockdowns and Wales imposing a travel ban on visitors from high-risk areas in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

08:28 AM

Spain outlines plans for travel corridors for Balearic and Canary Islands

Spain's national Government and regional governments of the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands have agreed on a plan to establish travel corridors between European countries and the Spanish archipelagos. 

Gran Canaria - Getty
Gran Canaria - Getty

Tourism accounts for 35 per cent of GDP in both the island regions with the UK the main source market in the Canary Islands and the second biggest source market for the Balearic Islands.

Spain was added to the UK's quarantine list on July 26; quarantine also applies to those arriving in the UK from the Spanish islands.

Spain's travel corridor protocol for its islands include: 

  • Testing: Travellers arriving from regions with an infection rate of more than 50 per 100,000 people over 14 days will be tested 48 hours before departure; prior to departure, all travellers will also take a test before leaving the islands.

  • Quarantine: The regional governments of the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands will, at no cost to the traveller, provide the necessary resources for fulfilling any required quarantine processes.

  • Additional measures: Arriving visitors will be given information on the contact-tracing app “COVID Radar”. 

  • Healthcare and Quarantine Capacities: The regional governments have allocated tourist accommodation for quarantine purposes. This will be available for tourists who are diagnosed with Covid-19 during their stay, and for their close contacts.

08:14 AM

Curfew imposed in France following last night of freedom

Millions of French people enjoyed a last night of freedom on Friday before a Covid-19 curfew in Paris and other large cities came into force at midnight, for a least a month.

The curfew aims to keep about 20 million people home from 9pm to 6am from Saturday, which is 30 per cent of the French population.

It was ordered by President Emmanuel Macron this week as the number of new infections and deaths raised the spectre of hospital overloads like those seen in March and April.

Health authorities on Friday recorded more than 25,00 new cases, after Thursday's record of more than 30,000.

The mood in the streets of Paris ahead of the curfew was something akin to New Year's Eve, with tables overflowing in bars.

Coronavirus France Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus France Spotlight Chart - Cases default

08:04 AM

What happened yesterday?

The main travel headlines from Friday: 

  • Further national lockdown decisions in Wales to be announced on Monday

  • New flights and holidays on sale to Crete as it is added to quarantine-free list

  • Only four holiday options with no restrictions left as Italy loses air bridge​

  • First flights with no quarantine required for passengers arrive into Australia

  • Courts overturn 11pm coronavirus curfew for restaurants and pubs in Berlin

Now onto today's news.