Travel news latest: US heightens warning against cruise holidays

Advice

Holidaymakers with an increased risk of severe illness from Covid should avoid cruise holidays, regardless of their vaccination status, the US health authority has warned. 

Those who are not inoculated are also advised not to board cruise ships, and even those who are fully-jabbed should take tests before and after travel, said the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a new update.

“The virus that causes Covid-19 spreads easily between people in close quarters aboard ships, and the chance of getting Covid-19 on cruise ships is high,” the authority cautioned.

It urged those travelling on cruises to “get tested 1–3 days before their trip and 3–5 days after their trip, regardless of vaccination status”, and for non-inoculated holidaymakers to also quarantine on return.

“Along with testing, passengers who are not fully vaccinated should self-quarantine for 7 days after cruise travel, even if they test negative,” the CDC added. “If they do not get tested, they should self-quarantine for 10 days after cruise travel.”

Scroll down for more travel news. 

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UK travel curbs ‘killing aviation sector’, pilots’ union warns 

The UK’s aviation industry is faring worse than, and falling behind, its European competitors, according to the pilots’ union Balpa. 

Ahead of the latest review of England’s traffic light system for international travel, the union said it is vital that the Government provides winter financial support for the sector and recognises that Government travel rules are constraining the recovery of UK aviation. Data from Eurocontrol showed that the top three worst affected airports in Europe this month compared to 2019 are in the UK – Gatwick, Manchester and Heathrow.  

Martin Chalk, Balpa acting general secretary, said: 

It is devasting to watch government restrictions destroy the once world leading UK aviation industry. These dire figures show it is not the virus that’s killing the sector, but the artificial, over cautious government restrictions on international travel. 

The government has handed our aviation industry the gold, silver and bronze medal for worst affected airports in Europe: a shameful and deeply damaging prize. 

The UK is now clearly lagging behind our European competitors […]. 

Advice: What to do if you’re in a country at risk of going on the red list

According to new analysis, Jamaica, St Lucia, Dominica and Morocco are among the countries at risk of being added to the red list in this week’s traffic light update.

Aside from contracting Covid-19 and falling unwell while overseas, or getting locked up in barbaric isolation facilities overseas (as reported by the Telegraph last week), this is just about the worst-case scenario for Britons overseas. Arrivals from red list countries must enter a mandatory 10-day hotel quarantine on return to the UK, at their own expense. For a family of four, with two children over 11, this would amount to £6,575.

Is your holiday destination at risk of going red this week? Hold your nerve and hatch a plan says Greg Dickinson.

Here’s your plan of action.

Inside the Hawaiian Four Seasons resort that stars in ‘The White Lotus’

Four Seasons Maui at Wailea is the stunning backdrop for HBO comedy drama The White Lotus

Four Seasons Maui at Wailea is the stunning backdrop for HBO comedy drama The White Lotus

Credit:
Don Riddle Images

The hit HBO comedy drama, The White Lotus, has drawn universal acclaim for its look into the lives of wealthy holidaymakers – following a cast of honeymooners and a family, enjoying a week-long stay at an exclusive Hawaiian resort.

The series explores the dynamics of money and power, plus the unending challenges of high-end hospitality, all set in the fictional White Lotus hotel. In fact, the show was entirely filmed at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, a stunning hotel where rooms start at around £900 in high season.

Take a look inside…

Oman to reopen to fully-vaccinated travellers

Oman will allow anyone holding a Covid vaccine certificate to travel to the country from September 1, the country’s civil aviation authority has announced.

The authority said it had dropped a list of countries from which arrivals were banned due to the pandemic. 

According to reports in the Oman Daily Observer, the new rules will apply to ‘all Omani citizens, residents of Oman, visa holders of Oman, those who do not require a visa to travel to Oman, and those who can obtain a visa upon arrival.’

UK’s first international cruise ‘not without its challenges’

Fred. Olsen has become the first cruise line to complete an international voyage since the resumption of cruising, but the sailing was “not without its challenges”, the operator has revealed.

“This is a big achievement not just for us, but for the cruise industry,” said Clare Ward, Director of Product and Customer Service. ”Being the first international sailing, this cruise was not without its challenges, but we worked very closely with the Icelandic authorities to ensure all went smoothly.

“It is the first time in 17 months that anyone has been able to explore overseas on a cruise again.”

Covid procedures on board included pre-registration forms and testing prior to arrival into Iceland, and before returning to the UK. All passengers were also required to be fully vaccinated.

Cruises that take you to the greatest parts of the Earth

The jungle-cloaked archipelago of Raja Ampat, in Indonesia

The jungle-cloaked archipelago of Raja Ampat, in Indonesia

Credit:
Jennifer E Hayes

A little escapism this Monday lunchtime…

For those prone to severe bouts of wanderlust, expedition cruising can really hit the spot. In fact, a single expedition voyage can sustain even the itchiest of feet for at least a couple of years.

Whether you travel on a retired polar icebreaker, a cruise/freighter hybrid, a state-of-the-art ship with helipads and hydrophones or a more modest expedition champion, phenomenal scenery, access to rare species (and sometimes remote cultures) and the thrill of waking each day in an extraordinary environment are common to all.

The best expedition cruises – which you can book now.

The five hidden travel rules that are most likely to catch you out

In a post-Brexit and pandemic world, regulations have amplified to the extent that it feels almost impossible to remember them all, writes Emma Beaumont. Many requirements stay buried in the small print, and only become apparent as you reach the check-in desk – and the result can be catastrophic. 

Beware these ‘hidden’ rules.

In pictures: the view around the world

Passengers walk through Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, China, amid a Covid outbreak at the airport. The outbreak was linked to five cases among workers, but over 100 others were also told to quarantine. 

Passengers walk through Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, China, amid a Covid outbreak at the airport. The outbreak was linked to five cases among workers, but 120 others were also instructed to quarantine. 

Credit:
ALEX PLAVEVSKI/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Britons enjoyed an outdoor screening of Jaws this weekend, at the 'Wavelengths' drive-in cinema in Watergate Bay, Cornwall.

Britons enjoyed an outdoor screening of Jaws this weekend, at the ‘Wavelengths’ drive-in cinema in Watergate Bay, Cornwall.

Credit:
Jam Press

In Nepal, a man dressed in traditional costume takes part in a procession to mark the Gai Jatra cow festival in Kathmandu.

In Nepal, a man dressed in traditional costume – and face mask – takes part in a procession to mark the Gai Jatra cow festival in Kathmandu.

Credit:
AFP

Direct flights to amber-listed Kazakhstan to resume

Direct flights between Heathrow and Kazakhstan capital Nur-Sultan will resume next month, national carrier Air Astana has announced.

From September 18, the airline will offer non-stop services on Saturdays and Wednesdays, with economy return fares costing from £511, incl taxes.

Kazakhstan is currently on the amber list, and requires UK travellers to present a negative Covid test certificate on entry. 

‘We’re the only humans ever to have seen this little patch of the planet, here in Antarctica’

Scenic Eclipse is a state-of-the-art discovery yacht offering adventure and comfort in Antarctica in equal measures

Scenic Eclipse is a state-of-the-art discovery yacht offering adventure and comfort in Antarctica in equal measures

Credit:
Roger Pimenta

Mike Unwin explores the world’s most remote continent on a state-of-the-art ‘discovery yacht’ equipped with two helicopters and a submarine:

It was over a week ago that our cruise departed from Ushuaia, at the southernmost tip of Argentina. This meant two “sea days” sailing south over the notorious Drake Passage – ample time to orientate ourselves; to check out the six restaurants, locate the bridge and plot the quickest routes from cabin to spa, gym and cocktail lounge. 

Yes, it was clear that this “expedition” would hardly meet Shackleton’s definition of the word. “We want you to feel like you’re on board your own yacht, with just a few friends,” said Captain Erwan Le Rouzic at our welcome address, his Gallic tones lending a pleasing hint of Jacques Cousteau to our adventure.

Read on, here.

Serengeti II, review: ‘We’d be better off watching The Lion King’

Lioness Kali with her three cubs

Lioness Kali with her three cubs

Credit:
BBC

Simon Fuller’s wildlife series offers up beautiful cinematography – with a soap opera plot, writes Anita Singh:

The show is the brainchild of Simon Fuller – yes, the man who brought you the Spice Girls – and his take on the wildlife genre is one step away from Johnny Morris doing the voices on Animal Magic.

The animals all have names, and soap opera storylines. Kali the lioness has got a deadbeat partner, Sefu. He’s “a male she could once depend on. But when duty calls, he fails her.” Honestly, ladies, what can you do? But Kali is also hiding a secret from Sefu: he isn’t the father of her kids. If he finds out, there’ll be hell to pay. And a plot you could easily transfer to an episode of EastEnders.

Read the full review, here. 

New Zealand extends virus lockdown

New Zealand’s government has announced it will extend a strict nationwide lockdown until at least Friday as it tries to extinguish a growing coronavirus outbreak.

Ardern extended the strict level 4 national lockdown by three days until midnight on August 27, while its largest city Auckland, the epicentre of the current outbreak, will have restrictions in place at least until August 31.

“We don’t yet believe that we have reached the peak of this outbreak, or necessarily the edge of it,” Ardern said at a news conference in Wellington.

“That does mean the safest options for all of us right now is to hold the course for longer,” she added.

Jacinda Ardern holds a map of New Zealand during a Covid update press conference in Wellington

Jacinda Ardern holds a map of New Zealand during a Covid update press conference in Wellington

Credit:
Getty

The news came as health authorities reported 35 new local infections of the fast-spreading delta variant, the highest number of daily COVID-19 cases in New Zealand since April last year.

First discovered last week, the outbreak has grown to 107 cases. But health authorities say they’ve found links among most of those cases, giving them hope they can quash the outbreak. Authorities said they’ve tested about 3 per cent of the nation’s entire population over the past six days.

Charity launches mental health support for pilots

UK charity PilotsTogether has launched a crisis support service for pilots, amid warnings of “increased pressures” due to the pandemic.

Pilots can text #WePilots to 85258 to find professional, independent, and anonymous support on a range of wellbeing issues – including anxiety, depression, loneliness, and abuse. The service is being provided in partnership with Shout 85258, a 24/7 UK text messaging service for times when people feel they need immediate support.

“The impacts of the Covid-19 are going to be with us for some time,” says Scott Bateman, Chairman of PilotsTogether. 

“Pilots, including those currently flying, those on furlough, and those who have been made redundant, continue to be affected by increased pressures through this challenging chapter. The #WePilots 85258 text service is a powerful way we can help our community as they navigate through this uncertain chapter.”

Commercial airlines to join Afghanistan evacuation mission

The United States has enlisted the help of six commercial airlines to help transport people in their evacuation from Afghanistan, as Washington seeks to step up the pace of departures of Americans and at-risk Afghans from Kabul.

American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines and privately held Omni Air will provide three aircraft each. There are also two aircraft from Hawaiian Airlines, and four from United Airlines.

American Airlines and Delta said they would start relief flights on Monday and, along with other carriers, welcomed the call to aid the US military amid the humanitarian crisis. “American… is proud to fulfil its duty to help the US military scale this humanitarian and diplomatic rescue mission,” the airline said in a statement.

Biden said the flights would bring people from “staging locations” like Qatar and Germany to the United States or a third country. He called it the initial stage of the program. “None of them will be landing in Kabul,” he said.

Human sewage ‘dumped from Chinese ships’ is destroying reefs in disputed South China Sea

Human waste and sewage dumped into the disputed waters of the South China Sea are causing lasting damage to fragile reefs and marine life, according to US experts who have been tracking the unfolding environmental catastrophe from space. 

Liz Derr, founder and CEO of Simularity Inc, a software company creating artificial intelligence technologies for satellite imagery analysis, said evidence suggested it was “highly probable” the effluent came from Chinese ships linked to Beijing’s maritime militia patrolling and anchoring in politically-sensitive reefs and atolls. 

A Simularity report used satellite images from over the past five years to show how raw sewage had accumulated and caused algae in a cluster of reefs in the Spratlys archipelago where China has territorial claims and Chinese ships often gather in batches. 

“This is a catastrophe of epic proportions and we are close to the point of no return,” Ms Derr told an online conference, warning that schools of fish, including migratory tuna, breed in the reefs that are being damaged and could cause fish stocks to considerably decline in an offshore area that is a key regional food source.

Nicola Smith has the full story.

Covid world view: latest international headlines 

  • Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, began a strict lockdown today in an attempt to curb its worst coronavirus outbreak. People in high-risk districts are not allowed to leave home under the tight restrictions, which will remain in effect for at least two weeks.
  • In Hong Kong, the granting of a quarantine exemption to Hollywood star Nicole Kidman is drawing criticism from lawmakers as the city tightens entry restrictions for international travellers. Kidman, who reportedly flew to Hong Kong last week from Sydney, was exempted from a week-long quarantine.

In Mumbai, India, a rail passenger gets their temperature checked after arriving on a long-distance train

In Mumbai, India, a rail passenger gets their temperature checked after arriving on a long-distance train

Credit:
Getty

  • Sri Lanka has announced a 10-day lockdown starting on Friday night in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, as surging infections and deaths overwhelm the island’s health system.
  • Thousands demonstrated across France for a sixth consecutive weekend against a Covid health pass required for daily activities, highlighting a simmering political risk for President Emmanuel Macron.
  • In Taiwan, President Tsai Ing-wen received her first dose of the island’s domestically developed coronavirus vaccine today, launching its rollout to the public. The vaccine was given emergency approval by regulators in July, using a shortcut that prompted fierce opposition from parts of Taiwan’s medical and scientific community.

Australia restrictions ‘not sustainable’, warns PM

Australia must start to learn to live with Covid when higher vaccination targets are reached, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said today, despite concerns in some states about the impact of a surge in cases in Sydney.

With over half of all Australians stuck in weeks-long lockdowns to curb the highly infectious Delta strain, Morrison said the country must move forward and start reducing restrictions as more people became vaccinated.

“[Lockdowns] cannot go on forever, this is not a sustainable way to live in this country,” he said during a televised media conference in Canberra.

“Because if not at 70 and 80 per cent [vaccination rates], then when? Then when? We must make that move and we must prepare to make that move and we must prepare the country to make that move.”

The federal government last month unveiled a four-stage plan to relax restrictions once 70 per cent of its 25 million people aged over 16 are vaccinated, with stringent lockdowns “unlikely” to be required.

When vaccination coverage reaches 80% only “highly targeted lockdowns” would be necessary and vaccinated Australians would be free to travel interstate.

Chilterns and Cotswolds earmarked for national park status

A source told The Telegraph: “Natural England has already started work to assess two new AONBs and extension of the Chilterns and Cotswolds AONBs 

A source told The Telegraph: “Natural England has already started work to assess two new AONBs and extension of the Chilterns and Cotswolds AONBs 

Credit:
Getty

The Government is to launch the biggest shake-up of national parks in more than 70 years, including plans to create a “national park city”, The Telegraph understands.

A major review of national parks in England, modelled on the Hobhouse Report of 1947 that first proposed the idea, will designate new areas to be protected with National Park and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) status.

The Chiltern Hills and Cotswolds, which are currently AONBs, have been privately proposed as future National Parks and the move would see them placed under more stringent planning regulations to protect landscapes across eight English counties.

The move would increase the total size of parkland in the UK by 30 per cent, the biggest addition since the creation of the Peak District, Snowdonia, Lake District and Dartmoor National Parks in 1951.

The protected areas would encompass the limestone villages of the Cotswolds, home of the Chipping Norton set of influential politicians and media executives, including David Cameron.

‘Much of Europe won’t change’ in this week’s traffic light update

We are expecting transport secretary Grant Shapps to update the travel traffic light list this Wednesday or Thursday, but analysts predict that the status of most European countries will remain the same. 

“Much of Europe won’t change because the Government would create utter chaos at our borders during the bank holiday weekend and week,” forecasts Paul Charles, chief executive of The PC Agency.

Five amber countries are expected to turn green: Poland, Bhutan, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Saudi Arabia. This is according to analysis by the PC Agency, which is based on Covid infection rates, the proportion of tests coming back positive, and the level of vaccination.

However, eight green countries including Israel are expected to turn amber, meaning anyone who is not fully vaccinated will have to return home before next Monday’s deadline to avoid being forced to quarantine for 10 days at home

The other seven are popular holiday spots including Croatia and Madeira, and the Caribbean islands of Anguilla, Antigua and Turks and Caicos, as well as Lithuania and Montserrat.

‘Cowboy’ Covid test companies given final warning by Government

More than 80 “cowboy” Covid testing companies face being removed from the Government’s website after misleading travellers over prices.

A rapid review by the Government found that nearly one in five recommended providers of Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) holiday test kits advertised lower prices on the GOV.UK website than they later charged customers.

Spot checks will now be carried out and companies will be removed from the list if they do not update their pricing within the next three days, the Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed.

A further 57 companies were removed from the list after they were found to no longer exist, or were unable to provide the two and eight day testing needed to comply with test-to-release requirements.

Mr Javid said: “It is absolutely unacceptable for any private testing company to be taking advantage of holidaymakers and today’s action clamps down on this cowboy behaviour.

Sarah Knapton has the full story.

Caribbean set for red list as travel experts warn of scramble home

Jamaica is currently on the amber list, meaning that fully-vaccinated Britons do not have to quarantine on return – but its case rate is rising

Jamaica is currently on the amber list, so fully-vaccinated Britons do not have to quarantine on return – but its case rate is rising

Credit:
Valery SharifulinTASS via Getty Images

Four Caribbean and African holiday destinations are at risk of UK travel bans being imposed this week, sparking a scramble by holidaymakers to return to avoid hotel quarantine, an analysis suggests.

Jamaica, St Lucia, Dominica and Morocco have seen rising Covid rates that put them on course to be red-listed this week when Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, unveils the new traffic-light ratings for the final days of summer.

The analysis by travel consultancy The PC Agency also indicates Covid rates in the Balearics and Spain are high enough to merit inclusion on a red list.

But the researchers say they will not be added because of the travel chaos it would mean for tens of thousands of Britons forced to rush back and the lack of hotels in the UK in which to quarantine them.

Charles Hymas has the latest.

The weekend’s headlines

Before we begin, a quick recap of the travel headlines this weekend:

  • ‘Cowboy’ Covid test companies given final warning by Government
  • ‘Take the handbrake off’ international holidays, says travel boss
  • Spain poised to avoid red list as Covid rates fall
  • Germany to label parts of Greece as ‘high risk’
  • Lockdown extended in New Zealand

Now, on with today’s top stories. 

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