- How to get a Covid PCR test for travel and how much they cost
- Which countries are on the amber list and who can travel quarantine-free?
- Comment: It’s time to scrap the day-two holiday test rip-off
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Britons who have received two doses of Covid vaccine may no longer be considered ‘fully jabbed’ and exempt from quarantine once the booster roll-out has begun, a Government source has warned.
The leak, who is reportedly close to talks about Covid certification, told The Mail on Sunday: “The assumption is that you will be required to have the most up-to-date health passport.
“So if the advice is to have a booster six months after your second jab, then that is what you’ll need.”
Double-vaccinated Britons are currently exempt from quarantine on their return from amber list destinations, whereas those who have only received one dose, or none, must isolate for ten days. Many other nations have, in turn, relaxed their own restrictions on double-jabbed travellers.
Last night Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative leader, said: ‘If I were the Government I would tread carefully on this.
“Booster jabs will take a while to get to the majority of the travelling public. And there are issues around whether they are necessary – some scientists say that they may not be necessary.”
Scroll down for more of today’s travel news.
Jet2 adds to ‘winter sun’ holidays
Jet2 has announced an expansion to its 2022/23 winter programme, with the addition of new destinations from its regional and London bases.
Itineraries to the following destinations are now on sale: Canary Islands (Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, and Fuerteventura) as well as Madeira, Turkey, Cyprus, Malaga, Malta, Alicante, Faro and Majorca.
The airline will also launch services from East Midlands Airport in coming weeks.
Cut to testing prices is ‘token step forward’
The reduction in price of PCR testing for travellers – from £88 to £68 – is merely a “token step” by the government, says Business Travel Association chief executive Clive Wratten:
The health secretary’s decision to cut the price of government PCR tests is a token small step forward. These tests remain prohibitively expensive in comparison to other countries and the private sector is unregulated.
UK travellers are currently facing unacceptable demands in order to travel safely, despite our effective vaccine programme.
This Wild West of testing must be brought under control to give business and leisure travellers confidence.
Cruises return to Jamaica
The island of Jamaica has today welcomed its first cruise ship with international passengers since the start of the pandemic.
Carnival Sunshine is scheduled to call at the Port of Ocho Rios, with 95 per cent of its crew and passengers fully vaccinated.
“We welcome this resumption as we know that thousands of Jamaicans depend on the cruise shipping industry for their livelihood, and it will have a positive impact on our economy in general,” said tourism minister, Edmund Bartlett.
Passengers will be permitted to leave the ship on shore excursions within Jamaica’s ‘Covid-19 Resilient Corridor’ regions, after being screened and tested for Covid on disembarkation.
Covid testing: New PCR prices for returning Britons
The cost of travel tests from NHS Test and Trace for people who arrive from abroad into the UK is to be cut, the Health Department has said.
The cost of one test will be reduced from £88 to £68 for UK travellers who have come from green list countries, or those who have arrived from amber list countries and have been fully vaccinated.
Those arriving from amber list countries who are not fully vaccinated must now pay £136 for two tests, rather than the previous £170.
Comment: ’Do I want housekeeping? It’s the main reason I’m here!’
I missed hotels so much during lockdown that I could not wait to escape to the Farmyard in Somerset for the experience I’d been missing, writes Mariella Frostrup:
The one dark moment came just as we were leaving our bedroom for supper when a sweet young girl knocked and asked if we wanted our room turned down, as Covid measures meant some guests preferred not.
I looked at her incredulously, as she looked over my shoulder at a room littered with wine glasses, wet towels, half eaten minibar snacks and a bed that suggested there’d been a WWE wrestling match held on it.
“Do I want housekeeping?” I replied, trying to keep my voice level, “IT’S THE MAIN REASON I’M HERE!”
Climate change already damaging Britain’s historic sites, warns National Trust
The National Trust has warned that climate change is already taking its toll on heritage sites, which may eventually become too expensive to rescue from crumbling coastlines or flash flooding, and will have to be abandoned.
There are questions over the long-term future of sites such as Hurst Castle, on the south coast; the remains of fossilised prehistoric footprints and shipwrecks at Formby beach, in Lancashire; Mount Stewart Gardens, in Northern Ireland; and several 18th and 19th century industrial and agricultural buildings.
Lizzy Carlyle, the National Trust’s Head of Climate and Environment, said: “We are doing everything we can to protect and preserve the historic landscapes we care for. But it is right to say there are some difficult decisions that lie ahead in how we manage them, especially some coastal locations.”
Canada to require Covid vaccines for travellers
Canada will require all arriving travellers to be vaccinated against Covid, in new restrictions expected to be imposed by October.
Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said that employees in the federally regulated air, rail, and marine transportation sectors will also be required to be vaccinated.
The new rules will apply to ”all commercial air travellers, passengers on inter-provincial trains, and passengers on large marine vessels with overnight accommodations, such as cruise ships,” Alghabra said at a news conference.
Canada’s second largest airline Westjet said it was “working diligently to implement this policy for airline employees” and would follow requirements for passengers, but suggested rapid-testing as an alternative for unvaccinated travellers.
Travel The Unknown ceases trading
Adventure travel specialist Travel The Unknown has ceased trading, citing the financial impact of ongoing Covid restrictions. A statement from the company reads:
The duration of the pandemic to date, as well as the uncertain forecast in regard to international travel, has led to this very difficult decision.
We are grateful to those clients who chose to postpone their trips and are sorry to those of you whose trips we could not fulfil. However, due to the lack of bookings and departures over the past 18 months and a gradually worsening financial position, combined with working in a complex supply chain and an extremely challenging business environment for travel companies, we were sadly left with no choice.
No further bookings are being taken, and customers with existing bookings will not be able to travel. It is anticipated that the company will formally enter into liquidation on or before 1 September 2021.
‘Gatwick fined me £100 for a 45-second drive through passenger drop-off zone’
Our consumer champion Sally Hamilton helped secure a £100 refund for a Telegraph reader, after they were fined by Gatwick for infringing its ‘drop-off zone’ – for a mere 45 seconds.
The latest from Australia, as Darwin enters lockdown
- Troops help police set up roadblocks in Sydney
- Melbourne faces nightly curfew, extended lockdown
- Victoria’s Premier says state at “tipping point”
- Canberra extends lockdown for further two weeks
Australia’s biggest city of Sydney recorded its deadliest day of the pandemic today, as troops and police set up roadblocks to limit the movement of people, while Melbourne faced a nightly curfew and a further two weeks of lockdown.
While Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Darwin – which entered into lockdown today – are all under tight restrictions, cases have steadily risen.
New South Wales detected 478 infections, the highest one-day rise since the pandemic began.
Sydney, which is in its eighth week of lockdown, is the epicentre of Australia’s third Covid wave that threatens to push the country’s A$2 trillion ($1.5 trillion) economy into its second recession in as many years.
In total, Australia has recorded 966 Covid deaths.
Hong Kong reclassifies 15 countries as ‘high risk’
Hong Kong’s government said it would upgrade 15 countries including the United States, Spain and France to “high risk” from “medium risk” by August 20, meaning international arrivals from those countries will face lengthened quarantine.
The government said arrivals from Bangladesh, Cambodia, France, Greece, Iran, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United States would all face the new restrictions.
Hong Kong has some of the most stringent coronavirus entry requirements globally, with arrivals from countries considered “high risk” mandated to undergo compulsory quarantine for 21 days in a designated quarantine hotel, even if they have been vaccinated.
Countries including Brazil, India, and the United Kingdom had already been classified as “high risk”, but the government had largely relaxed measures for travellers from most other countries, prompting hope of increased international travel for residents and a greater number of foreign visitors.
Holidaymakers travelling just 118 miles for summer breaks
Britons are only travelling an average of 118 miles to their holiday destinations this summer, the equivalent of the journey between London and Bristol.
The number of people having holidays in the UK is up five million on last year, said the research for Churchill Motor Insurance, but the average round trip totals just 236 miles.
The distance is equivalent to travelling between Birmingham and Leeds, or just a couple of miles short of Edinburgh to Newcastle. This compares to, say, a 400 mile journey from the Midlands to the Scottish Highlands or 305 miles from London to St Ives, Cornwall.
The west country as a whole remains the most popular destination for staycations, with 15 per cent of Britons planning to visit this year. 10 per cent are hoping to go to Scotland.
Consumers ‘being misled by false claims’ from Covid test providers
Some of the government-approved Covid test providers are misleading consumers with false and inaccurate statements on their websites, according to research by travel consultancy The PC Agency.
One of the recommended testing firms shows “a mandatory Day 2 and Day 8 Test” as its first option on its website, even though Day 8 testing is not mandatory for fully-jabbed returning Britons.
Another leading provider claims you need “a mandatory PCR test for most flights leaving the UK. Get tested before boarding a departing flight from the UK.”
But most flights leaving the UK do not require a mandatory PCR test, and the claim is false.
The misleading wording comes despite promises by the Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, to clamp down on “providers acting like cowboys”, as well as a guarantee from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that “swift action” would be taken if it found exploitative practices.
Travel industry leaders have called on Government to take action against the offending test companies.
Paul Charles, CEO of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: ”Even some of the government’s approved providers are fuelling confusion among travellers with inaccurate and misleading information on their websites. Why haven’t Ministers and the regulator already clamped down on these statements and banned such sites from fleecing consumers?”
Airlines reroute flights to avoid Afghanistan airspace
Major airlines are rerouting flights to avoid Afghanistan airspace after the Taliban declared it is now in full control of Afghanistan following the fall of Kabul.
Flight-tracking website FlightRadar24 showed few commercial flights over Afghanistan at 0300 GMT this morning, but many planes overflying neighbouring Pakistan and Iran.
The latest updates from the airlines:
- British Airways, Lufthansa, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic said they were not using the country’s airspace. A United spokeswoman said the change affects several of the airline’s US–India flights.
- Emirates has suspended flights to Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, until further notice, the airline said on its website.
- Korean Air Lines said some of its cargo flights were using Afghanistan airspace, though its passenger flights were not.
- China Airlines said it was ‘keeping an eye on the situation’, reports Reuters, and would adjust flight paths if needed in accordance with US and European Union airspace instructions.
New rules for ‘mix and match’ vaccine arrivals from Europe
Travellers from Europe who have been vaccinated with two different jabs will now have to quarantine on arrival in Britain, after the Government altered the rules this weekend.
It means that people who have had two doses from different suppliers – for example a first from AstraZeneca and a second from Pfizer – will have to remain in isolation for 10 days after arriving in the UK.
The UK Government’s move comes despite there being no reports or medical evidence to show that mixing vaccine brands lessens protection from Covid.
The practice of mixing vaccine doses is common in Europe, particularly among younger people in countries where guidance on the AstraZeneca vaccine changed amid concerns that it can cause rare blood clots.
Amongst those who have mixed vaccines are Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and Olivier Veran, the French health minister.
Travel discounts offered to boost vaccination uptake among young
Travel discounts, clothing gift cards and gym passes are among the latest incentives announced to help boost Covid vaccination rates among young people.
Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, announced that five companies will be offering incentives to persuade the young to get jabs.
Lastminute.com will provide £30 gift cards towards holidays abroad to all young people getting vaccinated through its website, while Better leisure centres will give over-16s a £10 voucher to use on any of its membership deals and a free three-day pass at any of its 235 leisure facilities across the UK.
National Express Buses (Midlands) will offer 1,000 people five-day unlimited travel saver tickets which can be used within 90 days. Tickets can be claimed by sharing vaccine booking references in the company’s app.
The moves come as all 16 and 17-year-olds will be offered a Covid vaccine in the next week in an attempt to boost immunity levels before schools go back next month.
The weekend headlines
Before we begin, here’s a quick recap of the weekend’s top travel stories:
- FCDO lifts advisory against Italy travel
- Europeans with ‘mix and match’ jabs face quarantine in England
- Germany imposes 10-day quarantine on US, Turkey and Israel arrivals
- Holidaymakers charged up to 4x advertised price for Covid travel tests
- New Orleans and San Francisco to introduce Covid passes
Now, on with today’s travel news.