Thousands of holidaymakers are expected to visit the counties of Dorset, Devon and Cornwall over the three-day weekend, with police expecting busy roads and increased demand on emergency services.
Incidents of littering, fly-tipping and wild camping in the region have risen 29 per cent on last year, while anti-social behaviour has gone up 20 per cent.
Devon and Cornwall Police said the latest figures for August show 999 call demand remaining at record levels with a 13 per cent increase in calls compared with the same period in 2019.
A spokesperson for Dorset Police told the Dorset Echo: "Many thousands of visitors, some already in the region, are expected to be residing in the county over the three-day holiday with congested roads and demand on all emergency services resources expected to be high. Tourism bosses are already predicting the region is at full capacity.”
Staycationers in Cornwall and Wales were branded ‘rude’ and ‘ignorant’ by locals earlier this week. A private security company has even been hired to patrol a village in Snowdonia after instances of anti-social behaviour and camping without permission.
The south west coast has experienced the brunt of overcrowding over recent months. Some 21 per cent of Britons were planning to visit the region over the summer, according to Visit Britain research.
Follow the latest travel updates below.
What happened today?
The main stories:
Britons in Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Jamaica face rush back or quarantine
Face masks compulsory in outdoor areas of Paris from today
Jet2 extends cancellation of Balearic and Canaries holidays
Over 4,000 people referred to police for breaking quarantine rules
Portugal's seven-day infection rate edges up
Algarve increases border control staff as Britons rush to region
Catch-up with the rest below.
The best remote self-catering stays around Britain
The idea of rolling hills, secluded lakes and quiet beaches on your doorstep will be a tonic for those who have felt penned in as of late.
Emma Beaumont has rounded-up the very best self-catering escapes in Britain. Each feels beautifully remote with easy access to the great outdoors, and added bonuses including the likes of wood-fired hot tubs, private lakes and far-reaching views.
The overlooked region of Portugal with epic landscapes and hearty food – but no crowds
As Britons flock to the Algarve, why not try a lesser-known area of Portugal for (as it stands) a quarantine-free holiday?
You would be forgiven for having heard little about the Alentejo. Despite being the largest region in Portugal, it receives nowhere near as many international tourists as the Algarve, Lisbon and Porto, writes Duarte Dias.
Fortunately, that also means its natural beauty and human heritage have been well preserved.
This vast region is living proof that rural and remote destinations are not lifeless – quite the contrary. Alentejo has its own distinct cultural identity which is visible everywhere you look, from the architecture that dots its serene landscape, to the delicious but humble cuisine.
Sweden's Covid response could see gatherings capacity increased to 500 people
Sweden’s national health body has proposed raising the limit on certain public gatherings from 50 to 500, as the country's rate of infection continues to stabilise.
Anders Tegnell, a state epidemiologist, said: "We have made a consultation response following a request from the government."
The agency said the proposal applies to events with numbered seats, and Tegnell also indicated that a further increase of the gathering limit was under consideration.
Sweden is yet to be included on the UK's travel 'green list'.
The cheapest city breaks right now as prices fall across Europe
British holidaymakers can expect their pound to go further this autumn as the cost of a holiday has fallen in two thirds of Europe’s most popular cities since last year, new research has shown.
The Post Office, which publishes an annual assessment of city break costs, looking at the price of food, transport and hotels among other factors, found that prices are as much as 26 per cent lower than in 2019 and have also dropped by up to 26 per cent on pre-lockdown levels in early March.
Reykjavik and Oslo, typically some of the most expensive destinations for Britons, saw the largest falls (down 26 per cent), while prices for a city break also fell significantly in Ireland and Italy; Belfast (down 23 per cent), Rome (down 20 per cent), Dublin (down 19 per cent) and Milan (down 18 percent).
A key factor in the price falls has been widespread hotel availability, thanks to the pandemic-related travel restrictions, which has led to fiercer competition and lower room rates. Only two cities (Athens and Katowice) registered rises in the average cost of two nights’ three-star accommodation compared with March.
Woman survives 48 hours trapped in crevasse at 12,500 feet in the Alps
A woman was rescued this week after surviving for two days trapped in a 50-foot deep crevasse in the Swiss Alp, reports Justin Huggler.
She had survived more than 48 hours at an altitude of 12,500 feet dressed only in shorts and a T-shirt.
“We have not experienced such a miracle rescue from a crevasse in the last 20 years,” a spokesman for the Zermatt mountain rescue service.
The woman, who has not been named but is understood to be a Russian national who lives in Germany, fell while hiking on the Monte Rosa massif near Zermatt last Sunday. She was discovered two days later when a group of hikers heard her cries for help.
Comment: My smug enthusiasm for the staycation ran out as soon as the weather turned
I must learn how to enjoy Britain in the rain, writes Anna Hart:
Just a fortnight ago, I was surfing a wave of smugness about my British-bound holiday plans this summer. It was gratifying to opt out of airport chaos and spare myself the stress of second-guessing surprise quarantine regulations (since international flight bookings are essentially raffle tickets for the Great Holiday Lottery 2020).
I truly believed I’d turned over a new leaf as a traveller, morphing from an itchy-footed and spoiled millennial globetrotter into a contented, socially and environmentally minded British patriot. But nope, it turns out that the weather was just sunny.
As Storm Francis swept through the British Isles this week, blowing sand and grit into our optimistic sandwiches on beaches and hillsides, eviscerating hopeful barbecues in parks and gardens, lashing plucky tents and foolhardy tipis with ice, wind and disrupted Wi-Fi, the gale-force gusts stripped me of my flimsy stoic staycationer façade.
Algarve holidays in demand among Britons after 'red list' removal
Portugal has sent border control reinforcements to an airport in the Algarve after a surge in the number of Britons arriving there for their summer holidays after Portugal was removed from the quarantine 'red list' last week.
The number of passengers arriving from Britain has grown by 190 per cent since August 20, according to border and immigration service SEF.
To deal with the surge in arrivals, a total of 12 extra border control officers were sent to Faro airport and 10 more will arrive on September 1, with more passport gates in operation from Monday onwards.
Have your say: Would you pay for an airport Covid test?
Denmark extends support for cultural activities hit by Covid-19
Denmark will extend support for theatres and sport clubs and other cultural activities impacted by coronavirus curbs on large gatherings until the end of October.
The country was among the first in Europe to ease lockdown measures after successfully stifling the outbreak, but a recent spike in infections has slowed the reopening process.
The government invested more than 300 billion Danish crowns into the economy at the beginning of the crisis.
Most of those packages will be phased out at the end of August as planned following an improvement in employment numbers, the government said. But, under the new deal, businesses that were directly impacted by a continued limit on public gatherings of 500 people would get help compensation for fixed costs until October 31.
Denmark is currently included on the UK's quarantine-free list.
Portugal and Italy see seven-day infection rates rise
The UK's current approach to travel corridors means that even countries recently added to the quarantine-free list could be struck off again soon after. It will be worth keeping an eye on Portugal's figures, according to Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency.
Fred Olsen cruises details restart plans for 2021
Fred Olsen's new ships, Bolette and Borealis, will sail their maiden voyages for the cruise line in Spring 2021.
The line bought the ships from Holland America last month, will take over itineraries operated by Boudicca and Black Watch, which have both been retired.
Sailings on Bolette will go on sale on September 7 and cruises on Borealis’ will be available to book on September 15.
Britain's best country house hotels for a glorious late summer break
The weekend's weather forecast may be foreboding, but that won't stop you enjoying the plush delights of a country house hotel.
Fiona Duncan has selected the cream of the crop, with options from Somerset to Perthshire.
Norway continues with Covid restrictions
Norway will not yet ease restrictions that aim to prevent the spread of Covid-19, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Friday.
"Even if the infection numbers are coming down, we can't say that we have landed safely yet... we have to be sure that we maintain control," Solberg told a news conference.
The country halted its planned easing of restrictions earlier this month. It also brought in new measures, including banning bars from serving alcohol after midnight.
Events with more than 200 participants are still prohibited, distancing rules in theatres will remain and sports activities for adults are limited, Solberg said.
Dutch weigh the cost of ‘light touch’ lockdown
A relaxed approach to lockdown in the Netherlands helped preserve the economy, but rising Covid cases and growing unrest spells trouble, writes Senay Boztas.
Although the Netherlands shut a handful of hotels and cafés thought to be breaking rules to limit coronavirus, De Bijenkorf’s closure came as a surprise to others. Since March, the country’s approach has been characterised by a light touch, asking citizens to work from home, keep 1.5 metres from others and self-isolate if ill – with the larger aim of balancing the nation’s health with a once-thriving economy.
From mid-March, Prime Minister Mark Rutte appealed largely to common sense, starting what he called an “intelligent” lockdown. Schools, bars and restaurants were closed and there were limits on numbers meeting and €390 fines, but the Netherlands imposed only about 15,000 penalties – roughly one for every 50 issued in France.
United Airlines to furlough nearly 3,000 pilots
The US is preparing for the biggest pilot furloughs of its history after announcing on Thursday the need to cut 2,850 pilot jobs this year, without further government aid.
"We need to prepare and plan for the future should an extension not be granted," Bryan Quigley, senior vice president of flight operations, said.
Some 1750 pilots will be furloughed immediately on 1 October for an indefinite period, according to the Air Line Pilots Association. The remaining pilots on notice would then be furloughed at the end of October or November.
Comment: Our 'computer says no' approach to quarantine has become an unfunny joke
The current in-out approach to the travel 'green list' might be funny if millions of travel and tourism jobs weren’t on the line, writes Oliver Smith.
Having been treated to Boris Johnson’s impersonation of Vicky Pollard throughout the pandemic (whether it’s lifting lockdown, wearing masks or going back to work, the answer is always “yeah but no but yeah but...”), Grant Shapps is now offering regular performances of another classic Little Britain sketch: “computer says no”.
Last night, for the fourth consecutive week, a clutch of countries were struck from the UK’s dwindling list of quarantine-free travel destinations. The move – announced on Twitter, because apparently that’s the best place to declare policy changes that will ruin hard-earned holidays and further cripple the economy – means anyone currently in Switzerland, the Czech Republic or Jamaica has less than 24 hours (35 when the tweet was published) to dash back to Britain, or face two weeks of house arrest. What a way to run a country.
The lack of notice is ludicrous – after all, we were given the best part of a fortnight to get to grips with the prospect of wearing masks in shops – but even more alarming is the utterly narrow-minded way the Government is choosing which countries to thrust onto the quarantine naughty step.
Which business travel hubs need an ‘air bridge’?
An “air bridge” between London and New York to enable travellers to sidestep quarantine is being discussed in top-level UK-US Government talks, The Telegraph understands. Ministers are studying plans for regional “air bridges” to allow travellers to come to the UK from “low-risk” areas like New York City within countries like the US which are “red listed” because of their continued overall high coronavirus rates.
It is thought the move would, in particular, help business travel restart and boost the economy. So which other business hubs are in need of an air bridge with London? Aviation analyst OAG has uncovered the top 30 cities for business class seats offered on flights from the UK. Note that some, such as Amsterdam and Doha, are largely used for connecting traffic.
Amsterdam 80,036 business class seats
New York 47,958
Los Angeles 16,594
Munich (travel corridor already exists) 14,788
Hong Kong (travel corridor already exists) 14,734
Edinburgh (travel corridor already exists) 14,494
Dublin (travel corridor already exists) 12,350
San Francisco 11,808
Glasgow (travel corridor already exists) 11,348
Frankfurt (travel corridor already exists) 11,260
Istanbul (travel corridor already exists) 10,726
Copenhagen (travel corridor already exists) 9,184
Washington DC 8,766
Abu Dhabi 8,004
Tokyo (travel corridor already exists) 7,719
Düsseldorf (travel corridor already exists) 7,276
Competition watchdog to investigate complaints about tour organisers
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched a taskforce in April to investigate complaints about “thousands” of cancellations and refunds in three sectors.
This was later extended to include package holidays. Now the CMA has written to “certain companies specialising in package holidays for groups to explain its view on when consumers should be offered a refund”.
It follows complaints about companies whose primary business is selling package travel to groups, such as:
schools groups such as scouts and guides
amateur sports teams
university teams or societies
voluntary groups social groups
The CMA update reads: "In several cases, businesses are claiming they are exempt from the Package Travel Regulations (PTRs) as the organisation that booked the trip is not a 'Consumer'. The CMA believes that this is generally incorrect."
Comment: The depressing 'new normal' has ruined family days out
The queues, masks, and virtue-signalling are going to last for years, writes Georgina Fuller.
After five months of incarceration with three young children, trying to manage the demands of work, homeschooling and lockdown life, we really tried to make the most of our UK ‘staycation’ this summer. We found, however, that while lots of local attractions and holiday destinations might be open again, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are that much fun to visit or that it’s ‘business as usual.’
Over the last month, my husband Dominic and I have taken our three kids, Charlie (11), Edward (8) and Jemima (6) to Warwick Castle, Legoland and Devon but long, socially-distanced queues, closed-off rides and booked-up pubs have made enjoyment quite tricky.
At Warwick Castle, for example, we were told after buying some ruinously expensive tea and cake from a packed café that, despite the torrential rain, we couldn’t sit in the huge, empty marque outside ‘because of coronavirus’. Around four or five staff were standing outside the marquee but the duty manager told us they couldn’t open it because it would need one of them to police it. Too much of a risk, apparently.
Slovakia adds more European countries to its quarantine list
Slovakia will require travellers from six more European countries to stay in quarantine from September 1 due to rising numbers of coronavirus cases in those destinations, reports Reuters.
The countries seemed high risk by Slovakia's health ministry include Croatia (rising figures seen in chart below), a particularly popular holiday destination for Slovaks, as well as Spain, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Malta.
Anyone who has visited those countries in the previous two weeks will be required to self-quarantine for 10 days, or present a negative test after at least five days’ self-isolation following entry to Slovakia.
The ministry also advised people not to travel to Greece and certain parts of other European countries due to rising numbers of coronavirus cases. Those areas include the Czech capital Prague, the Austrian capital Vienna and in the UK, Tayside in Scotland and north west England.
Gatwick warns recovery could take five years
Gatwick airport has warned that passenger numbers will not return to pre-crisis levels for four to five years.
Passenger traffic fell by two-thirds for the six months to June 30, Gatwick said.
Chief executive Stewart Wingate said: "Like any other international airport, the negative impact of Covid-19 on our passenger numbers and air traffic at the start of the year was dramatic and, although there are small signs of recovery, it is a trend we expect to continue to see."
Boeing reveals UV 'wand' to disinfect planes
Aircraft manufacturer Boeing has revealed a new ultraviolet 'wand' that it says could help to disinfect aircraft and potentially protect travellers from viruses.
Boeing said the device can "clean to a high degree – to a disinfecting level – certain pathogens".
"The goal here is to achieve confidence," Boeing technical fellow Kevin Callahan said at a media briefing this week.
"This light is a very powerful ultraviolet light. It allows the operator to treat a surface in a very quick manner, he added.
The company will work with a third-party supplier with the plan of making the 'wand' ready for commercial use by November.
Bank holiday traffic warning alongside poor weather forecast
Traffic chaos has been predicted ahead of the busiest August Bank Holiday Friday on record, the RAC said, as 5.6 million Britons are set to hit the road for UK staycations, reports Sam Meadows.
Tourist hotspots in the UK are bracing for a wave of people holidaying closer to home with the pandemic putting many off travelling overseas.
Thunderstorms have been forecast to hit parts of the UK and two police forces urged travellers to plan their trips ahead as they warned of increased demand on emergency services.
Figures from RAC Breakdown showed that 5.6 million people are due to take a leisure trip on Friday, the highest on the comparable day since 2015 when it began tracking the data.
Germany coronavirus situation will get more difficult in coming months, warns Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday the coronavirus pandemic will make things more difficult in the coming months and over the winter.
"It will probably get more difficult," Merkel told reporters at a news conference, as she pleaded with Germans to adhere to guidance around social distancing.
Rates in parts of Europe have surged again, particularly in parts of France and Spain, prompting fears of a second wave and possible regional or national lockdowns.
Despite this, Germany's rates are not sufficiently high to have excluded the country from the UK's travel corridors, as they have not passed the 20 cases per 100 people threshold that is used by the Foreign Office.
Liverpool's Cavern Club reopens for 'Beatleweek'
The Cavern Club has reopened to the public with live music to host its annual 'Beatleweek' celebration of music by The Beatles.
This live music venue first opened in 1957 and helped to in forge the early careers of major bands, including The Beatles who performed there 292 times.
Le staycation: How to have a holiday in France – on British soil
France is off limits for the foreseeable future. So what can we do to find a taste of France without leaving our shores? Nick Trend has some suggestions.
So near geographically, yet – culturally – so far. France has always offered travellers a fabulous transformation – a taste of the exotic only a few short miles away across the Channel. For many of us, it was our first experience of abroad: of the excitement of a different language, different food and, well, a different attitude to life.
For me, at least, and I know for many others, the magic persists, made more familiar by regular visits but still refreshing, still beautiful, still full of new delight.
Rest assured, Francophiles: whether it is the wine, the patisserie or the architecture you crave, there are ways of assuaging your appetite without actually crossing the Channel. You’ll miss the heat of the warm south but, hey, Dover shares its blue skies with Calais and the Cornish coastline is not so very different from Brittany’s – even if the pancakes are not as good.
Travel industry will 'continue to suffer' if quarantine remains principal strategy
ABTA, the UK travel trade association for tour operators and travel agents, has issued a response to the addition of the Czech Republic, Jamaica and Switzerland to the Government’s quarantine list.
A spokesperson said:
As long as quarantine remains the principal strategy in the Government’s containment of COVID-19, the travel industry will continue to suffer. Given the rapid change in infection rates in different areas, it is vital the Government moves as quickly as possible to assess risk on a regionalised, not whole-country basis.
Only by doing this will we be able to minimise the impact on consumer confidence to book and to travel, and minimise the impact on an industry that has already seen 90,000 livelihoods affected.
Government could exempt islands from quarantine, Grant Shapps hints
The transport secretary has hinted that Government could strip islands out of country-wide quarantine, paving the way for travel corridors with tourist hot spots such as Ibiza and Majorca.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Now I do accept that actually islands are potentially an area where you can distinguish.
"But even there, we're having to work very carefully and closely with the authorities on the ground to check the data is accurate.
"And as I say, the first priority has to be protecting the UK population. We cannot see this return by re-importing it by people coming home from a break and bringing it back with them.
"And we're seeing too much of that and we will always clamp down on it, I'm afraid."
Peru becomes Covid hotspot, despite strict lockdown
Despite Peru has set another grim record, logging the world's highest number of deaths per capita from the coronavirus. With 28,277 confirmed deaths from Covid-19, or 86.2 per 100,000 inhabitants, Peru on Thursday overtook Belgium as the nation with the most victims.
It comes the week after the South American nation of 33 million recorded the deepest economic contraction in the world in the second quarter of the year, following a drastic lockdown.
Thousands of health workers this week to the streets of country's capital city Lima to protest against lack of resources to deal with the disease.
Amsterdam to end mandatory use of face masks in tourist areas
The rule on compulsory face coverings in busy public spaces was introduced in Amsterdam on August 5, bringing a tougher stance than in other areas of the Netherlands.
However, the restrictions have been dropped as the peak tourism season comes to an end.
The Netherlands was struck from the UK's quarantine-free travel list following a spike in infections.
4,200 referred to police for breaking quarantine rules, says Grant Shapps
The Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said that 4,200 Britons have been referred to the police for breaking the mandatory 14-day quarantine rule on their return from a number of destinations abroad.
Three more countries were yesterday removed from the UK's dwindling holiday "green list", with 52 countries now exempt from the compulsory period of self-isolation.
Mr Shapps told Times Radio: "Well I know that the police figures or the border force figures come out retrospectively so I don't have those.
"But I can tell you that 4,200 cases have been referred to the police for breaking the quarantine."
Former CMV cruise boss buys up assets in bid to resume operations
The former chief executive of Cruise and Maritime Voyages (CMV) has bought its customer database and booking systems after the company collapsed with the loss of thousands of jobs.
Mr Verhounig has set up a company called CVI Group Limited and plans to resume operations in the future.
He said in a statement:
The global pandemic had a devastating impact on CMV’s once flourishing, expanding and profitable business.
Having developed a much-loved brand over the past decade and hugely popular value-based niche no-fly cruise product, we have been simply overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and pleased to re-launch the business.
This endorsement across the industry and customer base alike has been a rich source of encouragement and together with my previous management team, we are working hard to plug the huge market gap vacated by CMV’s untimely insolvency.
The acquisition of the UK commercial assets provides a positive first step and we believe demonstrates our firm commitment and optimism to return much stronger and to work alongside our loyal suppliers and creditors to also help mitigate the pandemic impact.
Dutch airport group to cut hundreds of jobs
The Dutch airport group Schiphol has announced it will make significant job cuts due to the loss of traffic resulting from the pandemic.
The Royal Schiphol Group employs 3,000 people and owns airports in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Eindhoven. It said on Friday that it will cut several hundred jobs, having seen a 62 per cent drop in passenger traffic in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2019.
Schiphol said in a statement:
"The outlook for the coming years is very uncertain, and depends on the course of the pandemic, whether a vaccine becomes available, international coordination in travel measures, the profile of the economic recovery and behavioural changes by passengers and businesses.”
Related: Gatwick set to axe up to 600 jobs
Lockdown likely in South Korea after spike in coronavirus cases
South Korea reported 441 new cases of the coronavirus, its highest single-day total in months, making lockdown-like restrictions look inevitable as transmissions slip out of control.
The country has added nearly 4,000 infections to its caseload while reporting triple-digit daily jumps in each of the past 14 days, prompting health experts to warn about hospitals possibly running out of capacity.
If the viral spread doesn't slow, health authorities have said they will consider elevating social distancing measures to the strongest "Level 3", which could include banning gatherings of more than 10 people and advising private companies to have their employees work from home.
The best hotels to book in Europe for quarantine-free holidays
With the quarantine-free travel map changing each week, it can be tricky to decide where to book a European holiday in the coming months.
However, the UK currently has 16 travel corridors with other European nations.
With this in mind, Tom Mulvihill has rounded up some of the best European hotels to have opened so far, eagerly waiting to welcome guests back with open arms (while maintaining at least a metre's gap at all times, of course).
Quarantine policy must be abandoned, says travel boss
Paul Charles, founder of the travel consultancy the PC Agency, has commented on the latest quarantine update. He said:
The weekly in-out, snakes and ladders-style quarantine game is just not helping the travel sector in any way whatsoever. This policy must be abandoned and replaced by effective testing.
There is a danger that we will simply return to blanket quarantine, which was abandoned after only three and a half weeks because it was so unpopular. That’s the way we are heading.
UK quarantine rules breach is a criminal offence, says Grant Shapps
Grant Shapps has reminded people that breaking quarantine is a criminal offence during an appearance on LBC.
Asked about the individual who tried to board a flight even after having received a positive coronavirus test result, the Transport Secretary said:
No, if you've got the test, you need to stay home.
You're not just doing this for yourself, you're doing it for those around you. Don't put other people's lives at risk. Not only that when you do that, you are committing offences as well.
As with breaking a quarantine, if you come home from one of these countries that is quarantined, it is a criminal offence, it goes on your criminal record.
You don't want to be in that position and the police have 4,000 cases of people who they are pursuing in various different ways.
Don't break your quarantine and for goodness sake be sensible.
Switzerland, Czech Republic and Jamaica out, Cuba in
British holidaymakers now face a rush back from Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Jamaica to avoid quarantine after the countries were added to the UK’s travel ‘red list’.
Quarantine measures come into effect from 4am on Saturday, after which arrivals from these nations are required to self-isolate for 14 days, transport secretary Grant Shapps announced on Twitter last night.
Covid-19 infection rates in all three countries had breached the seven-day 20 per 100,000 threshold the UK Government takes into account during its weekly review of travel corridors. Switzerland saw cases rise to 21.7 per 100,000 residents, Jamaica hit 20.7 and the Czech Republic reached 20.1.
Mr Shapps also announced that Cuba is back on Britons’ travel map with infection rates at just 2.4 over a seven-day period. However, tourists can only stay in a designated clutch of resort hotels on the Caribbean island.
Jet2 extends cancellation of Balearic and Canaries services
The budget carrier has cancelled all holidays to the Balearic Islands until the end of November and has extended the suspension of its programme to mainland Spain and the Canaries until September 12.
It said: “Because of the ongoing uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the current UK government advice, we have taken the difficult decision to suspend flights and holidays to the Balearic Islands for the rest of Summer 20.
“We are obviously very disappointed to be making this announcement, as we know how much our customers look forward to their well-deserved holidays in these fantastic destinations.
“Where customers are affected by any programme changes, we have been repeatedly recognised by independent travel agents for how we have handled this, and we will be automatically cancelling affected trade bookings with a full refund."
Discussions are underway' to ease the travel restrictions for the Maldives
Currently, the FCO advises against all but essential travel to the Maldives, and it remains off the UK's quarantine-exempt list – this despite the country's low infection rates and only 28 deaths.
But, according to the Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), high-level talks are taking place to change that status. Mohamed Thoyyib tells us:
"The UK is one of our most important markets so, with the Maldives High Commission in the United Kingdom and the Maldives Ministry of Tourism, discussions are underway to ease the travel restrictions for travellers from the UK.
"Along with the Maldives’ one-island-one-resort concept and abundant choice of private villa facilities, the geography of the country means the Maldives is the ideal destination for guests who are keen to avoid crowds during their holiday this year. In line with the comprehensive COVID-19 safe tourism guidelines and hygiene certification programme issued by the Maldivian Ministry of Tourism in June 2020, all 166 resorts situated in the island nation will be required to take protective measures, ensuring the safety of tourists and also staff working in the industry."
What are your thoughts on airport testing?
Face masks compulsory across Paris from today
Face-masks will be compulsory in outdoor areas throughout Paris as of Friday after a post-lockdown record of 6,100 new coronavirus infections in 24 hours, report David Chazan and James Badcock.
The Paris authorities made face-masks mandatory in crowded central areas earlier this month and the rule is now being extended to the entire city, Jean Castex, the prime minister, announced. Masks are now compulsory everywhere in Marseille, and in most indoor public areas across France. An average of 700 people a day are being fined €135 (£120) for failing to wear masks.
The prime minister said the government is determined to get people back to work and children back to school without a second national lockdown, which would be economically catastrophic. But he added that France has made contingency plans for either a nationwide or local lockdowns.
Comings and goings on the quarantine-list
Seventeen countries have now been removed from the UK’s quarantine-free list since the policy was introduced in July. Only seven have been added.
Out: Spain, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Croatia, Malta, Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Monaco, Andorra, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and Aruba.
In: Portugal, Cuba, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Why hasn’t Gibraltar been added to the red list?
Despite a seven-day case rate of 139.5 per 100,000, in excess of every other European territory and the 10th highest in the world, Gibraltar remains on the green list.
Perhaps special allowances are being made because it’s a British Overseas Territory (although the same allowances haven’t been made for Turks and Caicos or the British Virgin Islands). Or perhaps it is because the little exclave has been doing so much testing (although this factor didn’t stop the UK snubbing Luxembourg).
Fabian Picardo, the chief minister of Gibraltar, which has already been added to Germany’s high-risk list, told Today on BBC Radio 4 that Gibraltar was being unfairly judged because it has tested around 32,000 people, or 95 per cent of the population.
“We’re doing a good job in detecting the virus and dealing with it,” Mr Picardo said.
“If you do a more detailed dive and you look at the fact that we are doing more testing than most places per head of population, then you’ll understand that we are now being very successful at identifying cases of the virus and then exercising controls in terms of imposing self-isolation. [Should restrictions be imposed], I’d be concerned about the impact on people who are having to travel to the United Kingdom from Gibraltar not just for the exchange of tourism. It’s about business, it’s about studies, it’s about health.”
Weekly quarantine-list review 'causing panic' among holidaymakers
The consumer group Which? has reacted to the latest quarantine announcement.
Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said:
While we all understand that changes to travel restrictions are necessary, the government's fixed weekly review approach is causing panic with some holidaymakers abroad – many of whom will be held to ransom by airlines to purchase new flights at extortionate fares to beat the quarantine deadline.
The government should be transparent with its data and decision making on travel corridors so holidaymakers have the information they need in advance to decide whether it is safe to travel and struggling tour operators can offer them trips to alternative destinations, rather than facing the financial hit of yet more cancellations and refund payouts.
The Liechtenstein conundrum
Liechtenstein is bordered by Switzerland (removed from travel corridor list today) to the west and south, and Austria (removed from travel corridor list last week) to the east and north. Liechtenstein has no airport. So you can only visit Liechtenstein if you drive there from, say, Germany.
While crossing Switzerland or Austria by car, you don’t need to self-isolate if:
No new people get into the vehicle
No-one in the vehicle gets out, mixes with other people, and gets in again
The European countries on the quarantine naughty step
All these countries can now longer be visited without a two-week quarantine when you get home. For context, the UK's case rate is 11.4 per 100,000, and anything above 20 gets Whitehall all a-flutter.
Andorra (95.8 cases per 100,000 during the last week)
Bosnia and Herzegovina (58.5)
North Macedonia (39.1)
Czech Republic (20.1)
What happened yesterday?
The biggest stories from Thursday:
Just three people have been fined for breaking quarantine rules, police figures show
St Lucia has eased restrictions for visitors
Germany has warned its citizens not to visit high-risk countries
Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Jamaica ejected from the UK's quarantine-free list
Cuba back on travel map