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Greeks and holidaymakers have been told to stick to rules aimed at controlling Covid-19, as cases creep up in the country.
Greece recorded 121 new cases on Tuesday, which is the highest daily tally since April 22. The surge is believed to be mainly among Greek nationals.
“Any form of complacency is unjustified,” said Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in a statement made today. “We still don’t know how [...] many months we will be forced to live with the virus.”
In the early stages of the pandemic, Greece controlled the spread of Covid-19 with targeted lockdowns and nationwide social distancing measures introduced in March.
Mitsotakis has described the registered rise in infections as "worrying".
Total cases in Greece have now reached 4,855 and there have been 209 deaths. The average number of cases per 100,000 (fortnightly average) is 7.52 – almost double what it was this time last week.
“Strict adherence to the rules is demanded even more at this crucial turn, to prevent a new significant rise in cases in August and the adoption of possible new restrictive measures which will hurt the economy and society,” Mitsotakis said.
The news could mean stricter social distancing and hygiene measures for holidaymakers arriving in Greece. The UK Government is constantly reassessing its list of travel corridors, which Greece is currently on. This means you can currently arrive back from Greece without going into a 14-day quarantine.
Follow all the latest travel news below.
What did we learn today?
Five stories from the world of travel today.
- Salcombe's population surges by 1,000%
- Republic of Ireland's pubs to stay closed
- Face coverings introduced in Amsterdam
- Czechia records biggest daily jump in cases since June
- Quarantine fiasco allowed 10,000 infected arrivals into the UK
Join us tomorrow for another live blog, bringing you updates from around the world.
Covid-hit cruise line denies hiding outbreak but admits 'mistakes were made'
The boss of the Norwegian cruise line that has seen at least 40 cases of Covid-19 has blamed “several deviations from procedures” for the outbreak.
But Hurtigurten has denied trying to cover-up the surfacing of the virus as health authorities and the police investigate the circumstances.
The destinations welcoming digital nomads
In March, remote work became the standard for office staff (for many, this set-up continues). This may have cut out the dreaded commute, but it also further narrowed our horizons. Living rooms and bedroom-cum-offices were the view for most of the working day.
As travel restrictions have begun to ease (albeit in stops and starts), the prospect of a complete change of scene – perhaps one filled with medieval turrets or pink sand beaches – is ever more enticing.
Countries are answering this desire with schemes for 'digital nomads', which, they hope, will help to plug the financial losses of curtailed tourism. Moving overseas at this time should of course be treated with caution (as with all travel during the pandemic). But, for those in a situation that could allow them to pack up their lives for a few months to a year, which destination is best?
What does Virgin's bankruptcy mean for your trip?
The filing has not affected the number of flights operating, which remain limited due to the ongoing pandemic, Emma Beaumont reports.
Virgin Atlantic has confirmed that all upcoming flight and holiday bookings remain valid and that Flying Club members can still earn and redeem their miles as usual. Furthermore, customers with cancellations can continue to request refunds, which are being processed as normal.
A spokesperson for the company said:
“We’re continuing to operate a limited schedule flying to Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles and Barbados from our London Heathrow base and these flights will continue as normal.”
They revealed that passenger loads vary greatly between destinations; Barbados relaunched with high demand, while US routes remain quiet. The company continues to operate strong cargo loads on its passenger routes.
Read the full report, here.
Italy threatens to ban Ryanair over coronavirus rule-breaking
Italy's national civil aviation authority ENAC has threatened to suspend Ryanair's permit to fly in the country over alleged non-compliance with coronavirus safety rules.
It accused the Irish low-cost airline of "repeated violations of the Covid-19 health regulations currently in force and imposed by the Italian Government to protect the health of passengers".
"Not only is the obligation to distance passengers not respected, but the conditions for making an exception to that rule are also being ignored", it said in a statement.
If Ryanair continued to break the rules ENAC would "suspend all air transport activities at national airports, requiring the carrier to re-route all passengers already in possession of tickets".
'Wake-up week' for Greece as Covid-19 cases climb
Greece's Government has announced a "wake-up week" on Covid-19, tightening restrictions after a steady rise in mostly domestic infections.
The country has seen infections increase this month to levels last seen in April, with officials blaming overcrowding in clubs and social events.
"We are calling this a wake-up week. We are trying to awaken people with messages and daily announcements on additional measures," Government spokesman Stelios Petsas told Mega TV. "The virus is here, it feeds on our complacency."
Over 380 new infections have been announced in August by the national public health organisation. Only 10 per cent of cases in Greece can be traced to foreign arrivals, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told a cabinet meeting today.
"We have located three sources of concern: very regular crossings from Balkan countries by ethnic Greeks and residence permit holders... social gatherings, including clubbing youths, weddings and baptisms, and public transport," Petsas said.
Australia's hysterical response to this pandemic is downright bonkers
Robert Fenwick Elliott writes:
"I left England more than two decades ago to live here in Australia, so I can’t speak for the mood in Britain at the moment. But in the land Down Under, all sense of perspective appears to have been lost amid this pandemic. "
Read his argument on how Australia is getting everything so wrong.
Why right now is "the best time to open a brand new London hotel"
Yotel began life as an airport hotel, first at Heathrow and soon followed by Gatwick. The premise was simple: take the idea of first-class cabins on planes and apply it to accommodation. Minimum space, yes, but with smart design and luxury features.
Now, it is coming to Clerkenwell. The CEO explains why he is so happy to be opening the brand’s first hotel in the capital's centre this summer.
Read our exclusive interview here.
Fifth terminal to be built in Southampton
Some better news for the future of cruise as funding has been agreed on a fifth cruise terminal in Southampton, reports Benjamin Parker.
Solent Local Enterprise Partnership will inject almost £16 million into the project, which has been under discussion for a decade.
Associated British Ports regional director Alastair Welch said: “We are pleased to hear of the announcement confirming the government’s continued support for the cruise sector, which is crucial to our economy.
“We look forward to confirming the details linked to this announcement to ensure we are able to support the resumption and future growth of cruise as soon as possible.”
Pubs, cafes, restaurants ordered to shut in Aberdeen after Covid-19 cluster emerges
Bars, restaurants and cafes have been ordered to close as lockdown restrictions are reimposed in Aberdeen over a coronavirus cluster in the area.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said 54 cases have now been reported in the outbreak. A five-mile travel rule has been put in place and residents are being told not to enter each other's houses.
All indoor and outdoor hospitality venues have been told to close by 5pm today. The measures, which apply to the Aberdeen City area, will be backed by Government regulations, the Ms Sturgeon said, and will be enforced if the rules are not followed.
The First Minister said people should not travel to Aberdeen, but those who are already there can remain. She added the changes will be reviewed next Wednesday, when she hopes they could be removed, either in entirety or in part, but they could also be extended beyond that seven-day period if necessary.
The Azores breached Portugal's constitution by imposing quarantine on visitors
The Azores Islands, 1,400 km from the Portuguese coast, breached the national constitution by demanding air passengers quarantine for 14 days, the country’s Constitutional Court has ruled.
The court said authorities on the islands treated people as if they were serving "a short prison sentence" by confining them in hotels, regardless of whether they had symptoms or not.
“The competence to legislate on rights, freedom and guarantees lies with the parliament, or the (national) government - and only with those two sovereign bodies,” the court ruled.
The regional government of the Azores made the decision in March that all arriving air passengers must go into a two-week quarantine on arrival.
Switzerland adds mainland Spain to quarantine list
Switzerland's health authorities have added mainland Spain to its list of countries that must quarantine on arrival.
Anyone travelling from Spain to Switzerland must go into self isolation for ten days, to help curb the spread of Covid-19.
The measure will take effect from Saturday, and (unlike the UK's travel ban on Spain) excludes the Balearic and Canary Islands.
“For the first time we did not put an entire country on the list, but rather those areas where we can say the geographical separation and above all the passenger flows — and that is decisive — can really be differentiated,” said Patrick Mathys, head of crisis management for the federal public health office.
How did Italy, once the world's coronavirus pariah, avoid a second wave?
Italy has – so far – avoided the kind of second wave that has caused such concern in other countries. This has made it one of the safest bets for last-minute holiday this summer.
How was your first post-lockdown holiday?
While some remain reticent to travel, millions of Britons have already returned from their first post-pandemic holidays - indeed, around 600,000 of us were in Spain when the Government put the entire country on the quarantine naughty step last month.
Telegraph Travel’s writers have filed postcards from France, Malta, the Greek islands, Iceland and Amsterdam in recent weeks, as well as various corners of the UK, and they reported both pros and cons when it comes to Covid-era holidays.
On the plus side, beaches and attractions are often quieter, and - deprived of income for four months - tourism workers are rolling out the red carpet. On the other hand, the new rules around masks and social distancing can make relaxation difficult, while some locals - those that don’t rely on visitor spending - haven’t been so welcoming. There’s also the form-filling faff once you’re back on British soil.
So what was your first post-lockdown break like? Where did you go and what did you learn? Was it worth the four-month wait or did you find it hard to get into the holiday spirit? Were the locals pleased to see you? Did you feel safe, or were the social distancing rules a little OTT?
Comment at the bottom of the live blog to share your experiences. We’ll publish a round-up of the most interesting and insightful responses next week.
The secret seaside alternatives to crowded Cornwall and Devon
Millions of Britons are swapping their usual holiday in the Med for a summer staycation.
But with Cornwall and Devon oversubscribed, where can you go for peace and quiet?
National Museum visitors overjoyed as venue reopens
Visitors to the National History Museum have expressed their delight as the venue opened its doors for the first time in months today.
People queued outside the London museum this morning to become some of the first members of the public to go inside since it was forced to close at the start of the coronavirus outbreak.
A range of new safety measures have been put in place, including mandatory pre-booking, a reduction in the museum's capacity and social distancing rules.
Jen White, a 36-year-old production manager, travelled with her children from Manchester for a visit to the museum. She told the PA news agency: "I have been homeschooling these guys, so we have been literally cooped up in the house. I just wanted to get out and educate them somewhere that is not a home school setting. I think when they get in they will be wowed because we have never done this before."
Vicky Lowry said her son had told her on the way to the museum: "This is going to be the best day of my life."
Victoria under lockdown as virus continues to spread
More bad news for Victoria, which on Wednesday reported its deadliest day of the coronavirus outbreak: 15 fatalities in the past 24 hours and a record daily rise in infections.
The Australian state reported 725 new cases compared with 439 a day earlier. It recorded its previous one-day high of 723 cases and 13 deaths last week.
Victoria earlier this week imposed a night curfew, tightened restrictions on people's daily movements and ordered large parts of the local economy to close to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The prettiest canal boat summer holidays as UK demand soars
Canal holiday bookings have gone up by 150 per cent since lockdown lifted, reports one boat operator.
Lucky then, that opportunities to take to the water are plentiful within the UK, with more than 2,000 miles of navigable inland waterways on the island of Britain alone.
Global death toll from the coronavirus surpasses 700,000
The global death toll from the coronavirus surpassed 700,000 on Wednesday, according to a Reuters tally, with the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico leading the rise in fatalities.
Nearly 5,900 people are dying every 24 hours from COVID-19 on average, according to Reuters calculations based on data from the past two weeks.
That equates to 247 people per hour, or one person every 15 seconds.
By contrast, 2,030 people around the world die per hour from cardiovasculcar disease.
Pubs, cafes, restaurants ordered shut in Aberdeen
Bars, restaurants and cafes have been ordered to close as lockdown restrictions are reimposed in Aberdeen over a coronavirus cluster in the area.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said 54 cases have now been reported in the outbreak.
A five-mile travel rule has been put in place and residents are being told not to enter each other's houses. All indoor and outdoor hospitality venues have been told to close by 5pm today.
The measures, which apply to the Aberdeen City area, will be backed by Government regulations, Ms Sturgeon said, and will be enforced if the rules are not followed.
The First Minister said people should not travel to Aberdeen, but those who are already there can remain.
Two more cruise lines discover cases of Covid-19
Guests and crew on a North Sea cruise ship are now in quarantine, after a passenger tested positive for Covid-19.
The passenger who sailed on SeaDream tested positive after returning home to Denmark. SeaDream was the first cruise liner to resume international ocean cruising since the pandemic.
According to SeaDream, the passenger had been travelling home to Denmark from Tromsø, departing the Norwegian city on August 2. It is believed that the passenger had no symptoms. Guests are now in isolation as the ship returns to Bodø.
This comes after UnCruise Adventures – the first to resume overnight cruises in US waters – confirmed on Tuesday that a passenger on its current Alaska voyage tested positive for Covid-19.
In a statement, SeaDream Yacht Club said: “We sincerely hope that there is no COVID-19 on board, and we are not aware of any other guests or crew who are infected or have any symptoms, but we are taking all necessary precautions.
“All guests and crew were informed, as well as the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) and the Norwegian Directorate of Health as soon as we received the information this afternoon.”
Sweden suffers record plunge despite lighter lockdown
Sweden’s light-touch lockdown failed to spare its economy from a historic plunge in GDP as Covid-19 triggered a collapse in exports and spending.
Output contracted by a record 8.6pc in the second quarter compared with the previous three months, but the Nordic nation suffered a much smaller hit than many other European economies.
Despite some of the most relaxed Covid-19 restrictions in the world, its exporters were hit by tumbling global demand and household spending slumped as the virus struck.
Read the full report here.
Looking for a last-minute holiday?
Spain and Portugal might be off the cards, but there are plenty of favourites in Europe with case numbers under control (either better or comparable to the UK) where you will neither have to quarantine on arrival nor return, and where you can – crucially – hit the beach without wearing a face mask.
Here are your best bets for a last-minute, quarantine-free escape.
The shambolic reality of Britain's ridiculous quarantine policy
We have received comments from Britons arriving back in the UK.
Carly Reed returned from a family holiday in Spain on Sunday, July 26, the day after the Government changed its Foreign Office advice for the country and removed it from the travel corridor list.
“Since we’ve been back, we haven’t had one phone call,” she said. “We’ve followed the rules to a tee, but no one has contacted us, neither I nor my husband. Not even an email to say your quarantine will end on this day. Not even a text.
“It’s ridiculous. When I got to the customs guy at Newquay Airport, he was very strict and officious – it did make you realise that this is quite serious – but then nothing.”
Frederico Felix lives in Slough. He returned from Portugal – a country excluded from the UK’s ‘green’ list – on Sunday.
“I was really surprised when I landed in the UK, but in a negative way. No airport staff or Border Force officers were wearing face masks; everyone in Portugal was,” he said. “After I left the aircraft a member of staff from Heathrow asked me if I completed the form and that’s it, no one actually checked if I really did or not.
“Since I arrived home no one from the Government has been in touch with me at all.”
Read the full report from Hugh Morris, here.
Take part in our poll
What constitutes seaside perfection, for you?
With a scorching weekend ahead, we have a very important question for you.— Telegraph Travel (@TelegraphTravel) August 5, 2020
What constitutes the perfect British seaside? The results will feature in our Saturday supplement of the @Telegraph.
Latin America has world's highest Covid-19 death toll
Latin America has surpassed Europe to become the region with the highest number of Covid-19 deaths worldwide, according to Reuters.
Latin America has now recorded more than 206,000 deaths, around 30% of the global total.
Brazil, the Latin American country most affected by coronavirus, recorded a total of 95,819 deaths as of Tuesday. Mexico, the second-most affected country in the region, has reported 48,869 deaths.
The spread of the pandemic has also accelerated in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru.
Last week, Latin America also became the most-affected region by number of cases – surpassing 5 million on Monday.
Britain prepares for heatwave weekend
With some scorching days ahead, and millions of Britons understandably keen for a dose of seaside fun, crowds are likely at many of the UK’s best-known beaches. So swap Southend, Brighton and Woolacombe for one of these lesser-visited treasures, taken from Hidden Beaches by Daniel Start.
Keep it quiet, but these are England's best secret beaches.
Tourist breaks 200-year-old statue
This is the moment that an Austrian tourist broke three toes off a 200-year-old statue.
Italian police have identified a 50-year-old Austrian man, who broke three toes off the statue at the Gipsoteca Museumin Possagno, northern Italy, while posing for a photograph.
The statue is a 200-year-old plaster cast model of Antonio Canova's statue of Paolina Bonaparte, and was damaged in the incident on July 31.
Brits can travel to Barbados to work from home
If recent months spent working remotely spawned fantasies of abandoning the makeshift set-up in the spare room for a laptop beneath a palm tree, then Barbados – which was officially declared ‘Covid-free’ on June 30 – may have just the thing.
The Caribbean island has recently launched the Barbados Welcome Stamp (BWS), which allows foreigners to live and work there visa-free for a year. Provided you can prove an annual income of at least $50,000, you and your dependents could find yourselves joining a new wave of digital nomads on the island with the fastest broadband speeds in the Caribbean within a matter of weeks.
Fancy it? Read the full report here
Virgin Atlantic files for US bankruptcy protection
Virgin Atlantic has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US as part of its bid to survive the pandemic downturn that is hammering the airline industry.
The airline founded by Sir Richard Branson made the Chapter 15 filing in US federal bankruptcy court in New York after a proceeding in the UK.
A spokeswoman for Virgin Atlantic said the filing was part of a court process in the UK to carry out a restructuring plan that the airline announced last month.
The process is supported by a majority of creditors and the company hopes to emerge from the process in September, she said.
Read the full report here.
Face coverings introduced in Amsterdam
As of today, anyone stepping foot in the Red Light District or the Kalverstraat and Nieuwendijk shopping streets must wear a face covering. The rule also covers market hours at Albert Cuypstraat and Plein ‘40–’45, Greg Dickinson reports.
To those not au fait with Amsterdam, this can broadly translate as “the busiest bits”. Although, slightly confusingly, the central Dam Square and Damrak, the avenue leading to Centraal Station, will not require face masks. Nor will Nieuwmarkt, a square just to the east of the Red Light District.
The good news? These areas are wholly avoidable.
How not to camp...
The head of communications of the Lake District National Park has issued a plea for people to camp responsibly.
Huge thanks to all the @lakedistrictnpa visitor management and rangers teams who’ve worked hard all weekend to help the vast majority of kind visitors and to clean up after the unkind ones. You’re very welcome to visit but please don’t leave any mess for us to tidy up. pic.twitter.com/TKzW6CH4wb— TheLakesTony 🌳🌲 (@TheLakesTony) August 2, 2020
Republic of Ireland's pubs to stay closed
The Irish Government has decided not to move to Phase 4 of its Covid-19 recovery plan, meaning pubs and hotel bars remain closed.
Taoiseach (Irish PM) Micheál Martin said the Republic of Ireland could not "risk moving backward". Mr Martin said the decision would be reviewed again in three weeks' time.
The next phase would also have allowed gatherings of up to 500 people outdoors and 50 indoors.
It is the second deferral of Phase 4 after the Irish cabinet voted to delay it in July amid concerns about the spread of the virus.
On Tuesday, the cabinet also made changes to the green list for travel and announced face coverings will be mandatory in shops and shopping centres from Monday 10 August.
Cyprus, Malta, Gibraltar, San Marino and Monaco have been removed from the list of countries from which travellers would not have to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Returning from holiday to Britain has become an "utter farce"
Laura Craik, who recently returned from Denmark to the UK, writes:
The form itself is confusing, geared towards visitors rather than residents. Users are asked to input how long they expect to be staying at their UK address, with a drop-down menu of dates that means they have to choose one in order to proceed to the next page. As mine is my permanent residence, I arbitrarily chose 3rd August 2060. At one point, my husband – not a stupid person – got so frustrated that the words “they can bloody well not let me back in, then” rang out from the bedroom.
Find out more about Laura's experiences, here.
Salcombe's population surges by 1,000%
The small Devonshire town - dubbed ‘Chelsea on Sea’ due to its popularity with middle-class Londoners - has been left “exhausted and overwhelmed” by a larger than normal influx of city-dwellers holidaying in the UK.
After Salcombe’s population surged by 1,000 per cent thanks to British tourists making the most of loosened lockdown restrictions, its mayor said visitors “think they are in a bubble” when it comes to social distancing and has urged them to “show a bit of respect”.
“It's like August bank holiday weekend every day, everybody is exhausted and overwhelmed. The businesses need the customers but we would just like a bit of respect back for the town that they claim to love,” town mayor Nikki Turnton said.
Anna Turns reports on what it's like on the ground.
Quarantine fiasco allowed 10,000 infected arrivals into the UK
Failure to introduce quarantine at the start of the outbreak saw up to 10,000 infected people enter the UK, accelerating the spread of disease, an investigation by MPs have said. Charles Hymas has this report.
The all-party home affairs committee today (Wed) said the Government’s “inexplicable” decision to lift restrictions on some one million people who arrived in the UK between March 13 and lockdown on March 23 contributed to the pace and scale of the Covid-19 outbreak in Britain
They said this “highly unusual approach” to the pandemic contrasted with other countries from Singapore and New Zealand to Spain which were at the time introducing more comprehensive measures including quarantine and self-isolation for international arrivals.
Read the full article here.
Czechia records biggest daily jump in cases since June
Czechia has recorded its biggest daily jump in new Covid-19 cases since the end of June, as a recent spike in cases continues.
The central European country recorded 290 new infections on Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases to 17,286. There have been 383 deaths, and 11,812 people have recovered.
What happened yesterday?
A quick look at yesterday's main stories, in the world of travel.
- EasyJet adds more flights after bookings surge
- Tui cancels more Portugal holidays
- Hays Travel tells Boris to ‘save summer’ as it cuts 900 jobs
- Australia closes Uluru national park after protests from locals
- Space holidays in a year, says Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic
- Path cleared for 737 MAX to return to service
- Glastonbury 2021 unlikely to go ahead
Now, on with today's news.