Travel news latest: Spain poised to avoid red list as Covid rates fall

Advice

Holidays to Spain look to be safe from any changes to the Government’s travel traffic light system as the country sees a strong drop in its Covid-19 infection rate.

The popular destination’s latest figures show 181 cases of coronavirus per 100,000 people, down 26 per cent compared to the previous week. The UK’s rate is 320 per 100,000. Spain is the most visited foreign country by Britons.

And according to Robert Boyle, former director of strategy at IAG, between July 22 and August 11 only 1.7 per cent of those returning to Britain from Spain tested positive for Covid-19, down from 3.1 per cent in the previous three weeks.

He believes this means there is “no chance” of Spain being demoted to the red list.

And Scott Hadden, director of Mark Bratt Travel, told the i newspaper that Spain wouldn’t go red because it “the Government would not want to risk the collapse” of the hotel quarantine system.

“There are far too many people in Spain”, he added, and if it happened it would lead to “short-term chaos due to vast numbers who would want to go home”.      

Scroll down for the latest travel updates.

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What’s going on around the world?

Today Thailand passed the one million mark in coronavirus cases. Around  97 per cent of these infections were recorded in the past five months, as the country struggles to get on top of one of Asia’s most severe Covid-19 outbreaks.

And in Brazil, where there have been 20,494,212 cases since the pandemic began, the official death toll has risen to 572,641, according to government data.

Hospitalisations of people under the age of 50 with Covid-19 are at the highest levels seen in the United States since the start of the pandemic

The best adults-only hotels in Tenerife

Although renowned as a family destination, Tenerife also has its fair share of child-free accommodation. If you’re looking for the best adults-only hotels in Tenerife, our pick of the bunch will provide peace and calm in place of kids’ clubs pandemonium, refined dining over mealtime melees, and calm waters rather than inflatable-infested pools.

Yes, family holidays have their place, but in today’s stressed world, a little ‘me-time for the more mature’ is just as important.

Telegraph Travel’s destination expert, Joe Cawley, finds the very best, including top golf, spa and beach resorts.

Read our guide here.

There's only a clutch of luxury hotels with near-perfect settings on Tenerife, and the Iberostar Grand Hotel El Mirador is one of them

There’s only a clutch of luxury hotels with near-perfect settings on Tenerife, and the Iberostar Grand Hotel El Mirador is one of them

A snapshot from India

Train passengers in Mumbai


Credit:
Punit Paranjpe/AFP

Passengers queue up to get their temperature checked after arriving at a railway platform in Mumbai.

ONS: One in 80 people in England had Covid last week 

The Office for National Statistics has reported that 698,100 people within the community in England had Covid-19 in the week ending August 14.

That’s a decrease from the week before when it was one in 75.

In Wales, it increased, with one in 30 having coronavirus (23,500 people). For Northern Ireland, the trend was “uncertain”, with around one in 50 people with Covid-19 – 35,300 people.

Scotland saw a continued drop, with one in 200 people (25,900) with Covid.

Brexit drives British millionaires to Portugal for tax and EU perks — but it’s about to get complicated 

European visa-free travel and citizenship are behind a 34 per cent rise in Britons moving to Portugal, but are you ready for the countryside?  Zoe Dare Hall reports.

The 46,238 official British residents in Portugal are the country’s second largest group of foreign residents after Brazilians (pre-Brexit, we were in sixth place).  Brexit has been a huge driver, says Christina Hippisley, from the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce in the UK. “Before 2016, the numbers either shrank or grew by a maximum of 4% a year, but they’ve been shooting up ever since.”

Portugal’s non-habitual resident tax scheme, which offers foreigners low income tax rates, has also been a magnet for those able to spend at least half the year there. Now that we’re non-EU, UK buyers in Portugal qualify for a golden visa too – which brings perks of European visa-free travel and, after five years, citizenship. 

The scheme is changing, though. From January 2022, much of the Lisbon, Porto and Algarve coast – where most foreigners traditionally settle – will no longer qualify, in a move to push property investment towards more rural areas. 

Find out more here.

Viceroy Residence terrace and pool view at Ombria Resort 

Viceroy Residence terrace and pool view at Ombria Resort 

Credit:
 Sphere Estates

No cruise buffet? No problem

Buffets aboard cruise ships were one of the victims to Covid-19 health protocols. But it’s not all bad, as Telegraph Cruise writer Dave Monk can attest on Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady.

The beautiful corners of France that the French don’t want you to know about 

Our France expert, Anthony Peregrine, shares what makes our Gallic neighbours such consummate tourists and reveals the places they favour for their own holidays.

French holidays are a serious matter. Ever since the Popular Front government granted paid holiday in 1936, the French have considered taking their holidays akin to exercising a political right – and a right which must be performed properly at that. 

Given the variety and grandeur of their land, the French tend to favour simple pleasures. They have some cracking man-made attractions – historical theme park Le Puy du Fou, Disneyland Paris, the Louvre museum, the Eiffel Tower, DJ David Guetta – but depend on them less than some other nations might. Walks, hikes, bikes and waves provide stiff summer competition, as do food and drink. The evening aperitif is as immutable as sunset. 

And the French bring to it all a sense of entitlement. They spend little time saying sorry or worrying they are doing the wrong thing  – on the contrary, they usually give the impression they are marking holiday activities out of 10. In fact, they approach the whole affair with a cool-headed conviction that, quite frankly, we Brits – picking our way apologetically and tentatively around the globe – could likely learn from.

Read Anthony’s guide here.

France

France: it’s so alluring the French don’t need to holiday anywhere else

Credit:
Getty

In pictures: Fargradalsfjall erupts

Fargradalsfjall 


Credit:
Sean Gallup/Getty

Fargradalsfjall 


Credit:
Sean Gallup/Getty

Fargradalsfjall volcano spews molten lava near Grindavik in Iceland. While this volcano lies in the volcanic lowlands south-west of Reykjavik, other Icelandic volcanoes lie under the island’s large ice caps, such Eyjafjallajokull, which erupted in 2010.

Since the 1990s, 90 per cent of Iceland’s glaciers have been retreating and projections for the future show a continued and strong retreat in size of its three ice caps. The reduction in mass and pressure from the melting ice caps is increasing the likelihood of further seismic and volcanic activity.

Jet2 ups capacity to green list destinations

 Jet2.com and Jet2holidays have added more summer flights and holidays to green list destinations in response to continued demand.

An extra 10,000 seats will be going on sale to Malta, Madeira, Croatia (Dubrovnik and Split) and Jersey, with flights departing from across England.

Steve Heapy, the chief executive of of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said the company was “very pleased to be adding more flights and holidays” but that they remained “frustrated” by the countries left off the green list.

On one hand, we are very pleased to be adding more flights and holidays to such fantastic destinations but on the other hand we continue to be left frustrated that so many more destinations remain off the green list for no discernible reason. We are now right in the middle of the peak holiday season so we urge the Government to take the handbrake off international travel and adopt the same approach as it has to so many other areas of everyday life. The vaccination programme continues to be a huge success so we should be able enjoy the benefits of that, including enjoying our holidays this summer.

Read more: Which countries are on the green list and when is the next update?

Sri Lanka on edge of lockdown

Sir Lanka’s president is expected to address the nation later today as infections and deaths overwhelm the island’s health system, leading to calls for a complete lockdown.

The country recorded its highest single-day death toll of 187 and 3,793 cases on Wednesday. Religious leaders, politicians and businessmen have called for an immediate nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of infections, Reuters reports.

There have been 28,047 cases in the last seven days, a jump of almost 20 per cent on the week before.

Many restrictions are already in place, with schools, gyms, and swimming pools closed and weddings and musical shows banned. Authorities also imposed a night curfew from Monday, restricting movement from 10pm until 4am every day.

‘I want to show how class it is, simple as that’

Siobhan McSweeney gets out of her flat to reveal the beauty of Northern Ireland 

Siobhan McSweeney gets out of her flat to reveal the beauty of Northern Ireland 

Credit:
Kelvin Boyes

Derry Girls actor Siobhan McSweeney has revisited the country for a new TV series.

“I feel a huge obligation to Northern Ireland, because Northern Ireland has been so good to me and, living in London, I’m aware of the polite ignorance that permeates around the topic of Northern Ireland here,” she says.

The series was filmed on and off throughout the last year, juggling both varying lockdown measures and Siobhan’s schedule, which she admits was all over the place. Despite this, they spent a week in each area so that they could visit both the obvious tourist attractions and those that are less well-known.

“I very much wanted to show, in as honest and authentic a way as possible, the people I know in Northern Ireland and the experiences I’ve had and show how class it is. It’s as simple as that. And something as simple as that can be quite radical in its own way. I’m not saying a travel show is radical and certainly not the way we’re doing it, but it’s an honest depiction and a fun depiction of an incredible place that people should go and visit post-haste.”

Read the full interview: Siobhan McSweeney on her love for Northern Ireland

Singapore to keep mask mandate for time being

Singapore, one of the world’s most vaccinated countries, is likely to stick to its mask mandate for some more time, according to its foreign minister, as the city-state cautiously reopens its borders and eases its COVID-19 restrictions.

“I don’t think people want to wear masks. But on the other hand, I think we’ve gotten used to it,” Vivian Balakrishnan, who was a medical doctor before taking up politics, told Reuters. “That should be the last measure we dismantle.”

Masks have been compulsory since April last year in Singapore, which has been among the most successful countries in containing coronavirus outbreaks, with only 46 deaths recorded.

Singapore has vaccinated more than three-quarters of its 5.7 million population.

Loss of business travel hitting the UK economy, data shows

The UK lost more than £4 billion in GDP last week due to the decline of business travel trips following Covid-19, according to the Business Travel Association.

Data from Travelogix shows that in the second week of August 2021, international business travel trips from the UK dropped by 85.3 per cent compared to the same week in 2019, and there was a reduction of 314,477 international and domestic business travel trips in the past week. 

The data shows travel restrictions to:

  • Ireland has cost UK GDP £753 million this week
  • Germany has cost UK GDP £519 million this week
  • The United States has cost UK GDP £458 million this week
  • Switzerland has cost UK GDP £303 million this week

Italy: Latest Covid figures

As of yesterday evening another 7,260 coronavirus cases have been recorded in Italy, with 55 deaths reported.

This compares to 7,162 cases and 69 deaths recorded on Wednesday.

‘Do not worry’ about Spain holidays

 The chief executive of The PC Agency travel consultancy, Paul Charles, is among those who believe Spain is safe from the red list

Lockdown extended in New Zealand

New Zealand has extended its national Covid-19 lockdown as case numbers continue to rise and a Delta variant outbreak spread from Auckland to the capital Wellington.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the initial three-day lockdown, which would have expired overnight Friday, would be extended by another four days. She added that New Zealand was still trying to assess the scale of the outbreak, which emerged in Auckland this week, ending the country’s run of six months without community transmission.

A pop-up testing station in New Zealand

A pop-up testing station in New Zealand

Credit:
Fiona Goodall/Getty

“We just don’t quite know the full scale of this Delta outbreak. All in all, this tells us we need to continue to be cautious,” she said.

Ardern said all the cases, including those in Wellington, were linked, giving less cause for concern.

“That’s important, as it means we’re starting to build a picture of the edges of this cluster,” she said. “At this stage, we don’t have random cases popping up.”

20 places bid for UK City of Culture 2025 title

A record 20 places from across the UK have submitted an expression of interest to become the UK City of Culture 2025.

Those bidding include Bradford, Cornwall, Durham, Powys, Southampton and Stirling, and entrants have been tasked with proving that they can “put culture at the heart of their plans to recover from the impact of the pandemic”, according to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

The winner, which will be announced in May next year, will take on the baton from Coventry as the 2021 UK City of Culture.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said

This record number of applications from all four corners of the country is testament to the huge success of City of Culture in generating investment, creating jobs and boosting local pride.

This prestigious prize creates a fantastic opportunity for towns and cities to build back better from the pandemic and I wish all bidders the very best of luck.

Sydney faces curfew and longer lockdown

Almost half of Sydney’s population will be under a nightly curfew and an extended lockdown from next week as Australia’s delta variant outbreak continues to grow.

New South Wales (NSW) Premier Gladys Berejiklian extended Sydney’s lockdown on Friday until the end of September and imposed new restrictions, including a curfew, limits on exercise and a requirement to wear a mask when outside.

The 9pm to 5am nightly curfew will take effect from Monday in the 12 worst-affected council areas, which covers about 40 per cent of Sydney’s population of five million people. Anyone caught entering those areas would be fined and required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Police in a suburb of Sydney speak to a member of the public

Police in a suburb of Sydney speak to a member of the public

Credit:
Joel Carrett/Shutterstock

Ms Berejiklian told a news conference: “I asked health and police to work together, to give me a final list of what we can throw at this, to leave no shadow of a doubt as to how serious we are about getting the rate of growth down, the case numbers down.”

A similar curfew is already in place in Melbourne, which means that more than a quarter of Australia’s population will be confined to their homes from Monday, with the exception of essential workers.

NSW reported 644 new infections on Friday, most of them in Sydney, Australia’s biggest city. With only about 28 per cent of people above 16 years of age fully vaccinated, Australia has failed to contain Sydney’s outbreak.

Japan battles worst wave of infections 

Japanplans to dramatically ramp up daily Covid-19 tests, borrowing from anti-contagion measures used in the recent Tokyo Olympics, as it battles its worst wave of infections, driven by the delta variant.

New infections exceeded 25,000 on Thursday for the first time, a tally by national broadcaster NHK showed, with the surge mainly among those in their 40s and 50s, most of whom are unvaccinated.

Man in Kyoto, Japan

The Japanese government has called for a state of emergency in most prefectures

Credit:
 Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty

The speed and severity of Japan’s delta-driven infections are overtaking the strategy of targeted cluster tracing it has favoured over the mass testing used by many nations.

The cabinet office said Japan intends to employ its full daily capacity of about 320,000 PCR tests, or about triple the use now.

More cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand

New Zealand’sCovid-19 outbreak widened beyond its largest city Auckland on Friday as new infections were discovered in the capital Wellington and case numbers jumped to 31.

The findings meant Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will most likely extend a nationwide lockdown that she announced this week to try and curb the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.

Health authorities said 11 new cases were recorded on Friday, of which three cases were in Wellington.

The three in Wellington had recently travelled to Auckland and had visited locations that were identified as exposed to the outbreak, the health ministry said in a statement.

Read more: When New Zealand could reopen its borders

Only eight ‘cowboy’ travel test firms taken off list since review began 

Sajid Javid’s review of “cowboy” travel test providers has seen less than two per cent removed so far, with misleading £20 offers still available.

A week after the Health Secretary announced an “urgent” review of false claims and rip-off practices by the firms, there are only eight fewer test providers on the 422-strong list than last week.

An investigation by The Telegraph found companies on the approved list are also continuing to promote offers to provide tests “from” £20, but which come with catches when a prospective holidaymaker clicks through from the government’s site to the firms’ websites.

Nearly all of the 16 companies offering tests from £20 could only deliver them at that price if the returning holidaymaker travelled in person to have the test at the testing firm, usually outside London and as far away as Glasgow or Livingston.

Read the full report from Charles Hymas.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid during a visit to the Bournemouth Vaccination Centre

Health Secretary Sajid Javid during a visit to the Bournemouth Vaccination Centre

Credit:
Steve Parsons/PA

Good morning

Welcome to Friday. Here’s a reminder of yesterday’s top travel stories:

  • Which? poll leads to row over the definition of package holiday
  • Spain court orders end to Barcelona virus curfew
  • Canadian airline to mandate Covid vaccinations or tests for staff
  • Support the inbound tourism industry, trade body tells Chancellor
  • Singapore to start gradual easing of border restrictions
  • England’s tourist attractions see 65 per cent drop in visitors 
  • Unesco urges Afghan cultural protection

Follow us here throughout the day for the latest travel news. 

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