UK's tough new border rules come into force

Emma Cooke
·36-min read
All UK arrivals must now present evidence of a negative Covid-19 test - Getty
All UK arrivals must now present evidence of a negative Covid-19 test - Getty

The UK's tough new testing rules came into effect this morning, with all international arrivals now required to show a negative Covid test or face a potential £500 fine. The legislation is intended to protect against the spread of coronavirus variants, after two new forms of the virus were recently discovered in Brazil.

A quarantine is also still in place for all UK arrivals, consisting of 10 days – but shortened to five if a second negative test result is obtained. Currently, no one is able to bypass this quarantine due to the removal last week of all the UK’s travel corridors.

More spot-checks have also been ordered to check that people are quarantining, and all exemptions to the policy – including the controversial separate rules for business travel – have also been removed.

While the travel industry has spent the past year calling for an effective testing regime, many business leaders are still despairing over the continued use of a quarantine.

Speaking on Radio 4 this morning, CEO of the Airport Operators Association Karen Dee warned that the new measures will make little difference to the industry currently – because quarantine is the “biggest deterrent” against booking trips, rather than testing.

Scroll down for the latest updates.

05:02 PM

That's a wrap

Before we sign off for the evening, here’s a quick recap of today’s top stories:

  • Germany to move repeat Covid-offenders to detention camps

  • UK's tough new border rules come into force

  • Travellers continue to arrive at Edinburgh airport, in spite of new border rules

  • Emirates rolls out Covid vaccine to UAE staff

  • Man spent three months squatting in Chicago airport

  • Bailout plea as Eurostar faces collapse

See you tomorrow for more travel news.

04:53 PM

Why I love camping, and why it's booming in the UK

From toasting marshmallows to ammonites on the beach: Sarah Rodrigues shares the unbeatable simplicity of a British camping holiday, and the best locations for one:

I’m a fan of pretty much any kind of holiday – and, being from Sydney, Australia, I’m no stranger to flying long-haul with youngsters; my daughter was four months old the first time she made the journey home for Christmas. So perhaps it’s the amount of flying we have done that makes me love the simplicity of a camping holiday: no passports required, just cram as much as you can into the car and hit the road.

And I’m not alone. Even before Covid and its attendant restrictions put the kibosh on most overseas travel, holidays at home were experiencing something of a renaissance, with statistics showing that 32.5 million Britons took a camping or caravanning holiday in 2019, up from 11.8 million in 2017. By the summer of 2020, outdoor staycations were being booked at the rate of one every three seconds.

Find Sarah's recommended camping locations here.

04:40 PM

Why you should consider an intergenerational 'workation' this year

Jenny Southan felt more productive in a new location
Jenny Southan felt more productive in a new location

The pandemic has changed the way we work, writes Jenny Southan – when we can travel again, what about getting the whole family together at a holiday home office?

Typing on a laptop under the shade of a cherry tree in rural France, with chickens pecking in the dry grass, the change of scene after months stuck at home in London was energising. Endless weeks of confinement during lockdown left my wife and I with cabin fever (even though we were lucky enough to have a house and garden) so being able to book a flight to Toulouse to stay with my parents – who have a pool – for five weeks made us feel like the One Per Cent (and we probably were).

It was also consolation for the fact that my partner, like many other people, had recently been made redundant. I said: “Try not to worry – let’s both be freelancers and work from anywhere. It’s a much better lifestyle. No commute, no boss and no office politics to contend with.” (I run my own company and am a freelance journalist, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.) And so we put it to the test.

Read the full story.

04:35 PM

In pictures: Mardi Gras, Carnival's new £1 billion cruise ship

This 6,500 capacity vessel is likely to be 2021's coolest and quirkiest – complete with the world’s first rollercoaster at sea, writes Kaye Holland:

Coronavirus may have brought the global cruise industry to its knees last year but cruise lines remain confident that they will take to the water once more in 2021 – many on spectacular new ships.

Mardi Gras' maiden voyage is planned for April 2021
Mardi Gras' maiden voyage is planned for April 2021

The coolest, and craziest, new ship for 2021 has to be Mardi Gras.

The very first rollercoaster at sea
The very first rollercoaster at sea

Carnival’s 6,500 passenger ship features the world’s first rollercoaster at sea – take a bow, Bolt – as well as restaurants from celebrities and sports stars, a suspended rope course, water park, two theatres and a 1972 Fiat strategically parked in a “piazza” for Instagram purposes.

See all the images of the new Mardi Gras vessel here.

04:29 PM

Tennis players remain under quarantine in Australia

A number of tennis players flown into Australia for the Australian Open are still in quarantine. The season-opening Grand Slam event starts on February 8, with players arriving early in order to quarantine for two weeks prior.

A total of 72 players are doing the 14-day hard quarantine, after five positive coronavirus tests were returned from charter flights that brought almost 1,200 players, coaches, officials and media to Melbourne. Players have resorted to hitting balls against hotel rooms walls, in an attempt to stay in shape for the tournament.

Tennis player Novak Djokovic of Serbia gestures from his hotel balcony in Adelaide - Getty
Tennis player Novak Djokovic of Serbia gestures from his hotel balcony in Adelaide - Getty

04:12 PM

My lockdown buddy has me lusting after Bulgaria's mountains and monasteries

Our support bubble also operates as an educational exchange programme, our very own post-Brexit version of Erasmus, writes Anna Hart:

One year ago, I did not expect to find myself today in a compulsorily cloistered co-dependent friendship with a Bulgarian chef. But I also wouldn’t have believed that Margate’s theme park, Dreamland (already a solidly dystopian apparition, admittedly) would be converted into a pandemic test site, that I’d willingly pay £7 for William Morris face coverings in the V&A shop, or that I’d neglect my highlights so grievously. I wouldn’t have believed any of it. I’d have laughed at you like you were a lunatic, and gone back to reading something realistic, like my horoscope.

Read the full story.

04:00 PM

Inside the Cornish hotel hosting the G7 summit this summer

In June, seven of the world’s most powerful leaders will be heading to the butter-coloured sands and seaside villages of West Cornwall for the annual G7 summit, writes Charlotte Johnstone:

The event will see political leaders from the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States (plus delegations from other countries) descend on St Ives and Carbis Bay which are known for their year-round beaches, subtropical flora and fauna, and crystalline waters.

The offical meeting (June 11-13) will take place at the Carbis Bay Estate and Hotel which occupies 125 acres of the pretty coastal enclave with excellent restaurants, a superb spa, watersports, a pool and myriad accommodation options including 38 stylish rooms in the main house, plus woodland cottages and beach houses, lodges and suites.

Read the full story.

Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate where the G7 summit is due to take place this June
Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate where the G7 summit is due to take place this June

03:46 PM

Swiss ski resort plunges hotels into quarantine

Authorities in the glamorous Swiss ski resorts of St Moritz have quarantined two hotels and closed ski schools today, in an effort to curb an outbreak of coronavirus, which includes cases of the new variant. The news follows the recent cancellation of the annual Lauberhorn race.

The canton of Grisons has ordered everyone to wear masks in the town, which is home to some of the world’s most luxurious ski hotels and 5,200 local residents – it’s often referred to as the birthplace of modern skiing. Ski lifts and slopes remain open across Switzerland, despite measures being tightened elsewhere.

“About a dozen cases are currently known in two hotels. To protect the health of the population and guests, the health department has quarantined the two hotels and ordered corona tests for their employees and guests,” the canton said in a statement. Mass testing of the resort’s residents will begin tomorrow – a similar approach was taken in the resort of Wengen last week after an outbreak, which forced the international Lauberhorn race to be cancelled.

Officials have not named the hotels affected but said they assume foreign visitors are among the guests now in isolation – their nationalities have not been revealed.

03:33 PM

Will cruise holidays make a comeback in 2021, and where will we be able to go?

After a lost year, cruising is coming back, writes Dave Monk:

Most of the big lines were forced to write off the rest of 2020 after coronavirus struck but a brave few operators did dip their toe in the waters to resume some sailings – both at sea and on rivers.

This wasn’t much help to Britons, sadly, who were advised against ocean cruising by the Foreign Office, and faced closed borders and frequently changing quarantine restrictions when trying to travel abroad.

However, news of vaccines, and the implementation of strict health and safety measures on ships, means that 2021 is looking much brighter for large numbers to return to their favourite holidays afloat.

Read the full story.

03:17 PM

Travellers continue to arrive at Edinburgh airport, in spite of new border rules

Members of the public were today seen at Edinburgh airport, in-spite of today's tightening of borders controls.

Two people wheel suitcases towards Edinburgh airport - Getty
Two people wheel suitcases towards Edinburgh airport - Getty

The UK has now closed all its travel corridors, meaning people arriving into the UK will now be required to quarantine for 10 days, regardless of the country of origin, unless they test negative for Covid after five days. A negative test must also be shown upon landing.

03:06 PM

Would you move to a remote Irish island?

Two caretaking vacancies for Great Blasket Island, which lies off the coast of County Kerry, are once again open for applicants, following a media frenzy around the positions last year.

In 2020, more than 40,000 applications were sent in for the job openings, from as far afield as Mexico, Finland and Argentina. More than 23,000 has arrived within a week of the job being listed.

The positions are offered by Billy O’Connor and his partner Alice Hayes for the second year in a row, who own three cottages and a coffee shop on the island, and are suitable for a pair of friends or a couple. They will look at applications from anywhere in the world.

Great Blasket Island is a remote, rugged place - Getty
Great Blasket Island is a remote, rugged place - Getty

The island itself offers true peace and quiet, stretching over 1,100 acres of largely mountainous terrain. No residents remain on the island, with the exception of the two caretakers. The island’s population only ever reaches a maximum of 175 residents, and it was finally vacated in 1954 following a decline in population alongside concerns about the difficulty of reaching it in the event of an emergency.

Known as 'An Blascaod Mór' in Irish, is the main island in the group of six which lie about three miles off the coast of Dingle Peninsula in Kerry. The island has no hot running water or electricity, but this has proved little deterrent to those interested in spending the summer in this otherworldly destination.

02:49 PM

Should I book a summer holiday now, and which destinations are the safest bet?

Greg Dickinson and Oliver Smith answer two of the biggest questions about summer holidays this year:

After months stuck at home, the prospect of a holiday is keeping many people sane, but unless the restrictions are relaxed, millions of Britons – those unable to work from home, for example, or without the resources to pay in the region of £150 per test – will simply be unable to travel.

The only cause for optimism is the vaccine. Nick Trend, Telegraph Travel’s consumer expert, says: “If everything goes well with the vaccination programme, then it seems quite possible that the virus will be reasonably under control in this country by Easter – or at least that deaths and hospitalisations will have dramatically reduced. So – fingers crossed – there is a good chance that we will be free to travel by then.

“Firstly, will fears over new Covid variants have been allayed sufficiently to reestablish quarantine-free travel? Not many Britons will be willing or able to leave the country if it means a 10-day period of isolation when they return,” says Nick. “Secondly, how many countries will be open to us? Some of the best chances are likely to be countries which are most dependent on UK tourists: Spain, Greece and Turkey, for example [see below for more suggestions].”

Read the full article.

02:35 PM

'Now is absolutely the best time to book your 2021 holiday'

Derek Moore, Deputy Chairman of AITO, responds to recent comments from Dominic Raab that now isn't the best time to book a summer holiday:

Now is absolutely the best time to book your 2021 holiday. Firstly, enjoy the highly-flexible booking policies currently available. Secondly, deliver vital cash flow and confidence to beleaguered travel companies, exactly when needed. Thirdly, give yourselves something to really look forward to – and we certainly all need a holiday after the past year!

With vaccines coming through apace, most AITO customers (who tend to be 50 plus) will have had their jabs by May, giving added confidence.

Holidays taken this year will be important on all fronts. Many will be longer trips, making up for missed holidays in 2020 – good for the environment, good for host destinations, and good for our own mental health.

Book soon - demand will be high from British holidaymakers, and we’ll be in competition with many other nationalities also desperate to travel - and book with AITO (www.aito.com) members for both TLC and full financial protection.

02:25 PM

30 fabulous family holidays for 2021

Now is a good time to book a holiday – prices are likely the lowest they'll be this year and policies are incredibly flexible. Laura Fowler has provided plenty of inspiration too, with a round up of the best family holidays to take in 2021, including a surf holiday in Sri Lanka:

Surf lessons are among the activities on Yonder’s Family Holiday to Sri Lanka
Surf lessons are among the activities on Yonder’s Family Holiday to Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s popularity has been growing steadily since it became safe to return, and it’s a brilliant option for families looking for exotic but easy-going (and affordable) adventures, from jungle to beach. Yonder’s new 14-day Family Holiday to Sri Lanka travels to offbeat parts of the country, with a journey by train, as well as cycling through paddy fields, meeting indigenous people, surfing and learning how to be a park ranger.

Read the full list.

02:10 PM

Avalanche hits in Russia

Rescuers are working to save up to 12 people who are believed to be buried after an avalanche hit the ski resort of Dombai in Russia.

The slide hit a cafe and the Russian Emergencies Ministry has reported that between four to 12 people could be trapped. Videos on Twitter show the impact of the avalanche on the resort building and local people digging in the snow.

The emergency services have reportedly confirmed that a controlled avalanche was triggered earlier today, as part of procedures to make the ski area safe, and that this may have triggered the second avalanche.

02:03 PM

Comment: Immunity passports will stoke the fires of inter-generational rage

Young people have paid a heavy price for lockdown. To avoid social instability, we must address their needs, says Patrick O'Flynn.

Even at the UK’s current impressive vaccination rates, the under-50s are unlikely to have received their initial jabs and boosters in time to clear new Covid-secure booking hurdles. The under-35s can forget it. Sadly they will remain low priority for vaccination at home, yet will still be judged an unacceptable Covid transmission risk abroad.

This will be just the latest in the string of indignities they have suffered as Britain has struggled to contain a disease that threatens the elderly far more than the young. The university experience has been trashed, with courses going online and social and sporting activities suspended. Some halls of residence became de facto prisons in the autumn. Fees, of course, were not reduced.

Read the full comment.

01:48 PM

Blue Monday: Seven secrets for happiness from joyful Denmark

The CEO Copenhagen's Happiness Research Institute offers advice on the bleakest day of the year to Chris Leadbeater.

Denmark
Denmark

Meik Wiking laughs before he answers the key question about his latest project. When did it open? “Well, we started setting up the museum in November 2019,” he says. “And then, in early March 2020, we announced that we would open it in May. The following week, there was a national press conference, with the Prime Minister saying that we had to lock the country down.” He laughs again. “So May was postponed. But we were able to open last July. Obviously, we opened to a Copenhagen with far fewer people around.”

If there can have been few worse years than 2020 in which to launch “The Happiness Museum” – a year so bereft of joy that you can only laugh at the very thought of having planned to throw such an institution into its maelstrom – then the Danish capital is at least a fitting location. Denmark, like its Nordic colleagues, is a regular feature at the top end of the World Happiness Report – an annual index which ranks the countries of the planet according to their levels of wellbeing. The 2020 report – released just as the pandemic was really starting to bite, on March 20 last year – had Finland first, and Denmark second.

Read the full story.

01:38 PM

Disneyland California opens car park as mass vaccination centre

A section of the Disneyland car park is now serving as a Covid vaccination centre, inoculating local residents over the age of 75 along with frontline medical workers.

The Anaheim park, which has been closed since March, is aiming to inoculate up to 7,000 people a day.

In a press conference, local official Andrew Do said there was no better place to have the area’s first mass vaccination centre “than right here at Disneyland, a travel destination for people around the world.”

Disney is understood to be providing some of the staffing for the centre.

01:11 PM

Emirates rolls out Covid vaccine to UAE staff

The Emirates Group has started offering Covid vaccinations to its large UAE-based workforce.

The inoculation drive began today, with priority being placed on its frontline workforce, including cabin crew, flight deck and other operationally focused roles.

The airline is among the first transport organisations in the world to offer employees the option to get vaccinated against Covid.

Emirates is administering the Pfizer-BioNTech and Sinopharm vaccines at various company locations across the UAE. Appointments will run 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

According to the data compiled by Our World In Data, a research website based at Oxford University, close to 1.9 million vaccinations have already been given to the UAE’s citizens and residents, a rate of 19.04 per 100,000. The country is on track to inoculate over 50 per cent of its population by the end of March.

Emirates vaccine
Emirates vaccine

12:57 PM

Tougher travel restrictions force skiers to ‘abandon hope’ on ski holidays this winter

Experts predict a boom in bookings for 2022 as hopes for the remainder of this season dwindle, writes Lucy Aspden:

From 4am this morning anybody arriving into the UK must show a negative Covid-19 test result, as all travel corridors are scrapped and the Government acts to to curb the spread of coronavirus variants.

Any traveller who fails to present a negative test faces a fine of up to £500 and all arrivals must enter quarantine for 10 days, which can be shortened if a second test returns negative on day five. In further attempts to tighten the rules, all exemptions to the quarantine policy have been canned and more spot checks have been ordered by the Government to check on those in isolation.

The new rules, which remain in place indefinitely, come as the ski season heads towards its peak in February.

Read the full story.

12:47 PM

Man spent three months squatting in Chicago airport

A man who was “too scared” to fly home because of Covid-19 has been found living in Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport

Aditya Singh, 36, spent three months hiding in the airport before being arrested at the weekend. The Calfornian was reportedly squatting in the security zone of O’Hare International – wearing an staff ID badge that he had allegedly found, and surviving on food hand-outs from fellow travellers.

Singh arrived at the airport on a flight from Los Angeles on October 19, the Chicago Tribune reports. However, he never left.

He was arrested on Saturday, after two United Airlines employees noticed that his identification was false – and then alerted the police. He appeared in court on Sunday, charged with misdemeanor theft and criminal trespass.

He had hidden in the airport because he was “scared to go home due to Covid,” said Assistant State’s Attorney, Kathleen Hagerty, who explained that Singh had received food from other passengers.

Hazel Plush has the full story.

12:33 PM

I’m stuck in Australia with little hope of getting back to my parents in England

These seemingly endless restrictions are causing heartbreak for separated couples and families, writes Karen Edwards:

It’s 4am in rural South Australia and I’m quietly tuning into yet another UK government Covid-19 announcement. My stomach twists with unease as I listen to Boris Johnson declaring the impending loss of England’s travel corridors to prevent foreign, and potentially more contagious variants of the virus spreading in the UK.

With cases and hospital admissions soaring across England and registered deaths tragically high, it is a logical step; one that arguably should have been made sooner.

Yet, the announcement is bittersweet for British citizens like me who are stuck abroad, watching as borders close and an increasing number of flights are suspended. While I so desperately want the bleakness of this winter to end for my family and friends – and fully agree with the pre-departure testing and mandatory home isolation measures introduced – the ability to get home to my parents in London, who are shielding, is slowly dwindling by the day.

Read the full story.

Karen and her partner had to decide whose family to base themselves near indefinitely; hers in England or his in Australia
Karen and her partner had to decide whose family to base themselves near indefinitely; hers in England or his in Australia

12:26 PM

UK vaccination program 'unlikely to be a silver bullet'

Northern Irish body ANITA (Association of Northern Ireland Travel Agents) has added their voice to those calling for the UK government to give more support to the travel industry, which looks set to struggle this year even with the help of the new vaccine roll out. Damian Murphy, Chairperson of ANITA commented:

The latest decision to close all UK travel corridors has effectively closed us for business. The decision is the the correct one for now but it makes the need to plan for future travel and how to save it all the more important.

We are calling on the UK government to lead the way on setting international standards which will help us plan a roadmap back to travel. The roll out of the vaccination programme will be a big help but on its own it is unlikely to be a silver bullet.

We also call on the Northern Ireland executive to re-look an any financial package to be offered to our industry as the curtailment on travel looks like lasting longer than anyone first anticipated.

12:14 PM

Bailout plea as Eurostar faces collapse

Eurostar is on track for a financial collapse that risks cutting off a vital link to the Continent as the pandemic subsides, business leaders and MPs warned the Chancellor this weekend.

Rishi Sunak also faced public calls to bail out the Channel Tunnel operator over the weekend after repeatedly rejecting private appeals for taxpayer support.

Eurostar has been left fighting for survival after travel restrictions triggered a 95 per cent plunge in passengers since March 2020. It has pared operations to just two services-a-day as it scrambles to preserve cash.

Industry sources said that forecasts indicate it could run out of money as early as April, although company insiders insisted its reserves could be stretched until the summer.

A letter sent this weekend from business leaders to Mr Sunak and Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, urges them to act. It says: “[We are] concerned about the prospects of Eurostar, and are calling on swift action to safeguard its future. With international passenger numbers likely to remain low into the spring, our green gateway to Europe is in peril.”

Oliver Gill has the story.

12:02 PM

New UK entry testing rules: Everything you need to know

Anyone coming to the UK will need to take a test no more than 72 hours before they travel, writes Greg Dickinson.

This comes as part of a significant toughening of border controls, as the Government attempts to control the rapid rise of Covid cases in the country.

Announcing the move, the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said: “We already have significant measures in place to prevent imported cases of Covid-19, but with new strains of the virus developing internationally we must take further precautions.

“Taken together with the existing mandatory self-isolation period for passengers returning from high-risk countries, pre-departure tests will provide a further line of defence – helping us control the virus as we roll out the vaccine at pace over the coming weeks.”

Find everything you need to know here.

11:58 AM

The hidden corners of Britain to escape the crowds this summer

Herefordshire is a great place to start  - getty
Herefordshire is a great place to start - getty

If you're looking for an uncrowded summer holiday option in Britain, you're in luck. We've compiled ten of the best tucked-away spots, from England's smallest county to Wales' secret mountain range. First on the list? Herefordshire.

Set in England’s West Midlands, Herefordshire is a criminally overlooked destination. The nearby Cotswolds draws visitors like a magnet, leaving the county empty of visitors – but there’s just as much to recommend Herefordshire.

Pembridge, for instance, is one of the county’s many ‘black and white’ villages. Recorded in the Domesday book in 1086, it has a long history stretching out behind it, most clearly seen in the medieval timber-framed buildings and 13th-century detached bell tower.

Bromyard, one of the many market towns, dates back to the 9th century, Castle Frome was owned by King Harold before the Norman Conquest – and takes its name from the Latin word for beautiful – and the charming timbered and thatched houses of Eardisland are set beside the backdrop of the River Arrow. An excellent 40-mile road trip, The Black and White Village Trail (blackandwhitetrail.org) can be done through them all picking up well-priced antiques and intriguing facts as you go.

Read the full story.

11:44 AM

What the new lockdown rules mean for hotel stays in Britain

Concerned over what lockdown – and a hoped eventual return to a tier system – means for your hotel booking? Jade Conroy,Rachel Cranshaw and Charlotte Johnstone answer all the key questions:

Can I get a refund on a hotel stay booked for January? In short, it is down to the hotel you are booked with, and it is best to contact them directly. Many have been offering flexible policies this year that include moving booking dates and, in some cases, refunds.

If a hotel closes you should get your money back, but if it goes out of business you are only likely to get your money back if you have paid by credit card.

In terms of third-party websites, check directly with them.

Find the answers to more of your hotel questions here.

11:27 AM

'We are over 90 per cent booked already'

After recent warnings of a summer holiday shortage in the UK, reports of shortages further afield are also coming in. Sue Flynn, who owns holiday rental business, Kalkan Magic in Turkey, says she is already experiencing an accommodation shortage:

This is as a result of a combination of three things: firstly, pent up demand from those missing their holiday fix last year; secondly, 2020 guests having been moved to 2021 and are thus taking up many weeks; and thirdly, new demand which has occurred as a result of people feeling they will ‘deserve a sunny break’ after months of lockdown.

In order to meet demand I am taking on two new properties for 2021, on top of the three I currently own and the rentals I manage for friends and neighbours. Of my current properties, we are over 90 per cent booked already. We have even been ‘booked out’ ourselves and are having to stay in a nearby hotel. It’s going to be an interesting season for sure.

11:19 AM

Australia unlikely to open borders in 2021

Australia's international borders are unlikely to open to travellers this year despite the rollout of coronavirus vaccines, a top health official said Monday.

Health department secretary Brendan Murphy, a key adviser in Australia's virus response, said free-flowing travel to and from the country was not expected to resume in 2021. "I think that we'll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions," he told public broadcaster ABC. "Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don't know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus [...] And it's likely that quarantine will continue for some time."

Australia's border has been largely closed to overseas visitors since March 2020 to stem the spread of Covid-19, with a limited number of citizens and their families allowed to return each week. Tens of thousands of Australians remain stranded overseas as a result, while returning travellers must pay about Aus$3,000 ($2,300) to quarantine inside a hotel room for 14 days.

The country has secured access to both the Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines, with the rollout scheduled to begin in late February but still awaiting approval from medical regulators.

Agence France-Presse has the story.

11:14 AM

The 20 bars you must visit in 2021

Dreaming of some post-pandemic drinking? From against-the-odds openings to stunning lockdown renovations, these are the bars to put on your travel radar for later this year:

1. Maybe Sammy, Sydney Maybe Sammy, a cocktail bar in Sydney’s The Rocks neighbourhood, opened in February 2019 and has already become one of the Australian city’s standout successes on the bar scene. It went straight onto The World’s 50 Best Bars 2019 list at number 43, and became The Best Bar in Australasia a mere nine months after launching. Last year saw the three owners get even busier, pandemic or no, and the trio now has a second cocktail bar in the works: Sammy Junior. It’ll most likely open this February, and will transform from an espresso coffee bar in the morning into a drinks spot in the afternoon, doling out ‘mini cocktails’.

Interestingly, it’ll also follow one of the trends to come out of the pandemic – day drinking – and will close at 6pm. Maybe Sammy, will remain open into the small hours, to accommodate the night owls among us.

Find the full list of bars here.

The Nest Bar in Rwanda offer's a place to drink with a difference this year
The Nest Bar in Rwanda offer's a place to drink with a difference this year

11:05 AM

Foreigners in Bali punished with push-ups for breaking virus rules

Those breaking Bali’s coronavirus health protocols have been issued an unusual punishment: push-ups. Photos of Bali's Covid offenders doing push ups in the street went viral last week on social media, with many local news outlets picking up the story – and using the phrase 'naughty bule' in headlines.

'Bule' is an Indonesian word for foreigners – particularly Caucasians – reflective of the fact that it is largely non-local visitors to the island who have been found breaking the rules. A particular hotspot for infractions is the tourist-heavy Badung regency area, home to the popular Kuta and Seminyak beaches, which recorded the highest number of coronavirus health protocol violations in Bali: 8864 offences this week.

“Most of [the offences] were not bringing their masks, not wearing them properly, and some businesses not applying health protocols,” Badung regency Public Order Agency chief I Gusti Agung Kerta Suryanegara told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Push-ups are being issued to minor offenders, in place of a 100,000 rupiah (£5.23) fine.

“We didn’t fine those who had admitted their mistakes … we didn’t just fine people randomly because they didn’t wear masks,” said Suryanegara. Despite this, 80 per cent of fines for violating COVID-19 regulations have been issued to foreigners, mostly from Europe, for more serious rule breaking. “Some foreigners were found walking on the beach, sitting in restaurants, and riding motorbikes without masks."

“I’m not saying that Indonesians are well behaved, but fines were given as the [last resort], which means that [those who were fined] didn’t want to comply and were very defensive.”

10:44 AM

Here in Florida the bars are crowded and the party invites keep coming

Across the Sunshine State, residents are living their lives with little disruption, writes Nick Dauk:

7°C is cold for a Floridian… but not too cold to resist an outdoor pint on a winter night.

The White Lion in St. Augustine is one of my favorite pubs in the world. It’s not quite a dive, but definitely not the bar out-of-towners flock to first. Set across from the Castillo de San Marcos, one of the oldest forts in the US, it’s a must-visit every time I make the drive from Orlando. Even if that means shivering through every sip.

Though my wife, infant and I were alone in the cold courtyard, it was clear that the winter weather wouldn’t stop other Floridians from enjoying the night. Locals and in-state visitors like myself crowded St. George Street, bouncing in and out of the boutique shops, bars, and restaurants that make this area so popular.

This isn’t an uncommon scene elsewhere in the Sunshine State.

Read the full article.

10:29 AM

Three tourism icons you must see in your lifetime

The latest instalment of Nick Trend's journey around the world in 80 objects continues with a Gaudi-designed bench, an exotic clock, and the mysterious Mo’ai of Easter Island:

13. The Serpentine Bench, Barcelona It suits the enigmatically eccentric character of Barcelona’s most celebrated architect that his two most famous designs in the city are about as far apart in scale and grandeur as it is possible to get. They are a fantastical cathedral and a park bench.

The Sagrada Familia, with its strange organic cluster of conical towers, remains unfinished 139 years after work began on the concrete structure. Even in this uncompleted state, it has become the biggest visitor attraction in the city. Rather more subtle is the impact of the Serpentine Bench in Park Guell. But in its way, it is just as radical, just as inventive and has had just as great an influence on the everyday life of Barcelona’s citizens, as the cathedral we most associate with him.

Find all three tourism icons here.

Mo’ai, carved from volcanic tufa, stand like strange sentinels all over Easter Island  - David Madison
Mo’ai, carved from volcanic tufa, stand like strange sentinels all over Easter Island - David Madison

10:19 AM

Salisbury Cathedral becomes UK's most beautiful vaccination centre

Salisbury Cathedral was transformed this weekend into one of the UK's new vaccine centres, with about a thousand people over the age of 80 vaccinated on its first day of opening.

The 800-year-old building has been closed due to the UK's third lockdown and holding online services instead. This meant the space is able to be used as a temporary vaccination centre for priority patients invited by GPs.

Cubicles erected inside Salisbury Cathedral - PA
Cubicles erected inside Salisbury Cathedral - PA

A selection of organ music played while people received their jabs; the cathedral's music director said he'd chosen pieces by Bach, Handel and Pachelbel to help people relax.

The Pfizer coronavirus vaccine is prepared by a health worker  - PA
The Pfizer coronavirus vaccine is prepared by a health worker - PA

Former RAF Flight Sergeant and great-grandfather of 12, Louis Godwin, 95, was the very first to receive a vaccine in the historic setting. “I’ve had many jabs in my time, especially in the RAF,” said Godwin. “After the war, I was sent to Egypt and I had a couple of jabs, which knocked me over for a week [...] This one, the doctor said to me: ‘Well that’s done,’ and I thought he hadn’t started. So it’s no trouble at all and no pain.”

People queue outside Salisbury Cathedral, Wiltshire, to recieve an injection of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine - PA
People queue outside Salisbury Cathedral, Wiltshire, to recieve an injection of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine - PA

"[The vaccines are] a real sign of hope for us at the end of this very, very difficult year," said the Very Rev Nicholas Papadopulos, Dean of Salisbury. "I doubt that anyone is having a jab in surroundings that are more beautiful than this so I hope it will ease people as they come into the building.".

10:04 AM

Germany to move repeat Covid-offenders to detention camps

Those who repeatedly break quarantine in Germany may now find themselves forced to move to detention centres, under new rules prepared by regional authorities.

Plans to detain repeat rule breakers have been confirmed by the eastern state of Saxony, which will use a fenced-off section of a refugee camp as a holding pen. The repurposed camp will be built next week. Meanwhile, Baden-Württemberg in south-west Germany will use two hospital rooms for their own repeat offenders, who will be guarded by police. A section of a refugee centre will also be used in Brandenburg, and Schleswig-Holstein will use an area within a juvenile detention centre.

Is this legal? Yes: under the Disease Protection Act, passed by the German Bundestag last March and renewed in November, state governments have powers to detain people for breaching quarantine rules. Despite widespread criticism – AfD MP Joana Cotar stated the Saxony government had been 'reading too much Orwell' – the plans are marching ahead.

The news comes as Chancellor Angela Merkel weighs up a new 'mega-lockdown' , which would see the suspension of all suspending public transport and the complete shutdown of almost the entire country. The imposition of a national vaccine mandate has also been proposed.

09:47 AM

How a year of living cautiously changed the way my family travels

Actor Charlie Condou and his family discovered the joys of British holidays during the course of 2020:

We’ve never hesitated to drag our kids around the world on complicated holidays. My husband’s parents live in a small town in Alberta, Canada and we try to get out there every couple of years. One Christmas we took our daughter Georgia, then two years old, to meet her godparents in Vermont. That involved flying in to New York and staying the night, a time I’ll never forget because I was so deliriously tired that I took G out for a walk in the pram in Central Park at 2am to try to get her to sleep. The next day we drove six hours to Vermont.

We wouldn’t do it if the kids didn’t love it. They talk nostalgically about hanging out in Dunkin’ Donuts in Hanna, Alberta, as if it were the best place on earth. One summer, we somewhat hastily booked an Airbnb in a coastal resort town on Gran Canaria that turned out to be an ugly, characterless place. The kids didn’t notice. We found a quiet, pretty beach down the coast and regularly ended our days with visits to an ice-cream parlour, followed by card games, and they were over the moon. There was nothing all that extraordinary about the trip, but they look back on it as their visit to paradise.

Read the full story.

St Ives - Getty
St Ives - Getty

09:30 AM

Here in the locked-down Algarve, the UK Covid variant is a greater threat than Brazil's

The UK Government has banned flights from Portugal due to the country's connection with Brazil, writes Audrey Gillian:

Pork is frying in lard, with garlic and a few bay leaves, and the air is filled with the scent of cumin. Zé Pardo, owner of Armona 4, a restaurant on the island of Armona, is cooking the traditional Portuguese dish of pork and clams, but it is just for takeaway. A hatch has been opened at the front of his restaurant where you can buy food, coffees, and beers, but the door is firmly shut.

It’s the first day of the new lockdown in Portugal and all but essential shops have closed, along with culture, leisure and sports businesses. Restaurants and cafes can only provide home delivery or takeaway.

“I feel the need to keep the door open,” says Zé. “Tourists can’t come over to the island now but we must help the community here, people who live on the island so that they can avoid going to the mainland. I go on the ferry to the market every day and cook a couple of dishes. Today it’s chicken fried Algarvian style and pork and clams.”

Read the full story.

09:29 AM

Yesterday's headlines

Before we start with today's news, here are the weekend's top travel headlines:

  • All travel corridors suspended indefinitely

  • Travel ban on South America, Cape Verde and Portugal comes into force

  • 'Don't take travel advice from me', says Transport Secretary on BBC Radio 4

  • France toughens testing rules for UK arrivals

  • EasyJet holidays cancels bookings up to March 24

  • Earthquake strikes Indonesia

Now on to today's news.