Travel news latest: Cornwall tourist board urges holidaymakers not to visit unless tested

Advice

The Cornish tourist board has asked holidaymakers not to visit without taking a Covid test, amid a rise in cases in the county.

Chief executive of Visit Cornwall Malcolm Bell told the PA news agency: “We are asking people not to come unless they have booked ahead and request they take a lateral flow test before, during and after (their) stay so that (people) can be safe and help us to manage the current spike.”

He appealed to visitors to “treble their efforts as much as possible” with the hands, face, space guidance, and try to remain outdoors.

According to health agency data, both Devon and Cornwall have recorded 500 cases or more per 100,000 people in the seven days to August 18. Just one week before, the figure was 300 or fewer per 100,000 people.

On Monday, health officials said they were investigating 4,700 cases of Covid which are suspected to be linked to the Boardmasters festival, which took place nearly two weeks ago in Newquay.

The cases are spread across the country but around 800 are living in Cornwall, a council official confirmed.

Scroll down for more of the latest news.

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PNG bans India flights in diplomatic spat 

Papua New Guinea has today banned flights from India indefinitely and accused the South Asian country’s diplomats of “deception” over apparent breaches of Covid travel rules.

An official of the Melanesian nation claimed that in an act of deliberate “deception” India’s High Commission helped unauthorised travellers – some Covid-positive – to arrive in Papua New Guinea.

A repatriation charter flight from India arrived in Papua New Guinea via Indonesia early on Tuesday with 111 people on board – 30 more than the original number approved, according to officials.

The flight had been the subject of intense negotiations between both countries and was rejected four times by Papua New Guinea over virus fears, before an agreement was reached to allow 81 passengers to enter.

Police Commissioner David Manning said “India’s High Commission in Port Moresby deliberately participated in the deception” to bring more than that number in. “As a consequence of this deliberate show of disrespect against the people and Government of Papua New Guinea, there is now an indefinite ban on any further repatriation flights from India,” he said.

Airline operators CapaJet and Garuda Indonesia are also banned from entering Papua New Guinea airspace “until further notice,” he added.

Turkey expects to turn amber this week

Turkey expects to be removed from the UK’s travel red list on Thursday, the country’s embassy in London has said.

“The scientific data on Covid-19 support our expectation that Turkey will be removed from the red list at the upcoming review,” the embassy said in a statement to Sky News.

Turkey has been on the red list since May. The embassy told the news organisation that Turkey has improved its genomic sequencing and continues to make progress with its vaccination programme. More than half of adults in the country have received two doses.

Furthermore, according to NHS Test and Trace data, just 1.7 per cent of those arriving into the UK from Turkey have tested positive in the last three weeks. This figure is similar to that of Spain, which is already amber.

“We expect the UK to take into account all these developments and remove Turkey from the red list this week,” the embassy stated.

As it stands, the requirement to isolate for a full 10 days in a quarantine hotel on returning to the UK makes a holiday in Turkey out of the question for the bulk of travellers.

Delta variant sends deaths soaring in remote French Polynesia

Covid infections are soaring in the sparsely populated Pacific territory of French Polynesia, with health authorities reporting 54 deaths from the virus over the weekend as the Delta variant spreads among a largely unvaccinated population.

More than 300 people have died from Covid-19 since the pandemic hit the remote archipelago, which is home to 280,000 inhabitants. Over half of those deaths have come in the last three weeks.

The territory has so far recorded 7,591 infections, though the true figure is likely higher as most asymptomatic people are not being tested.

High rates of diabetes and obesity have made the population more vulnerable.

The territory’s limited health care system has struggled to cope, with one major hospital setting up beds in hallways to handle the rising number of patients. Bodies have been loaded onto refrigerator trucks to relieve pressure on the overwhelmed morgue.

The Polynesian archipelago is now under a curfew and the Society Islands – which include the largest island of Tahiti and other more densely populated areas – are under lockdown.

Forget Snowdon – head up these rival mountains with a fraction of the visitors

The Welsh mountain’s popularity has soared to unsustainable levels, so why not explore these high-altitude Snowdown alternatives with sparser crowds?

Phoebe Smith has four great suggestions.

Craig Cwm Silyn

Craig Cwm Silyn is a crowd-free alternative visible from Snowdon

Credit:
 Westend61

Turkey provides the UK Government with data to support its case for going amber

Turkey‘s case to be moved to the amber list in this week’s traffic light review is strong, reckons travel expert Paul Charles, of the PC Agency…

First person: What I learnt returning to university digs, in my late forties

Our writer Tom McPherson returned to student halls in Glasgow, which now double up as budget city break accommodation. Here’s what he had to say…

Until 2021, I thought there was very little that would persuade me to return to the scene of student accommodation. But ‘very little’ is, of course, the exact amount of reasonably priced accommodation currently left unbooked in Britain this summer, so when I heard that empty student residences were being repurposed as cheap holiday stays for the general public, I packed my rucksack (it was always a rucksack, as it implied that I’d spent the summer Interrailing rather than going on holiday with my parents) and headed back off to uni.

The new-this-year company doing the repurposing, Zeni, has 139,000 budget beds on its books, across 16 cities — ranging from fizzing metropolises (London, Birmingham), to cheery seaside weekenders (CardiffDublin), dreaming-spire seats of academic excellence (OxfordCambridge), and Huddersfield. 

Read on, here.

Zeni

Can student accommodation make for a comfortable city break pad? Zeni is trying to break the mould

Credit:
Matt Cant

Greece to end free Covid testing for unvaccinated

Greece will end free testing for unvaccinated people to boost inoculation rates and head off any renewed spike in delta variant infections of the coronavirus.

New measures which will come into effect on September 13 stop short of forcing people to take a jab, but oblige unvaccinated persons to test either once or twice a week, depending on their profession.

Free testing for vaccinated people will continue.

The cost of the rapid test, set at 10 euros (£8.50), is a sizeable expense for people in the crisis-hit country where salaries average 1,161 euros (£993) a month.

Authorities said six million people in the country of 11 million had received one or two doses, but a million more were needed to build adequate immunity.

athens

Athens today as new measures have been announced

Credit:
AP

Discos, puppet shows and sex toys – Virgin’s new ‘cruise ship for millennials’ sets sail

Richard Branson‘s Scarlet Lady has completed her maiden voyage, but can she win younger generations over to cruising?

Judy Cogan reports:

Until setting sail from Portsmouth, I never imagined myself on a cruise. I prefer a weekend spent meandering around an unknown city with no real agenda.

It’s impossible, however, not to get swept up in Branson’s adults-only floating playground of fun. The billionaire businessman is on a mission to flip cruising on its head and entice a younger generation, specifically millennials, to take their maiden voyage.  

Aged 38, I secured millennial status by one (precious) year. And so I entered a world where passengers are called “sailors” and currency is called “sailor loot”, although I was promptly banned from uttering the on-board greeting of “ahoy” by my eye-rolling (younger) friend.

Has Branson succeeded in pulling in a new generation? The jury is still out.

Read on, here.

Scarlet Lady

Scarlet Lady is the first of the new Virgin Voyages fleet

Credit:
Virgin Voyages

Airbnb to offer free housing for 20,000 Afghan refugees globally

Peer-to-peer rental giant Airbnb has announced it will be hosting 20,000 Afghan refugees for free around the world. 

Hosts are being encouraged to welcome those fleeing the crisis in Afghanistan on a temporary basis, with Airbnb to pick up the tab. 

In a statement on Twitter, the company’s CEO Brian Chesky said:

The displacement and resettlement of Afghan refugees in the US and elsewhere is one of the biggest humanitarian crises of our time. We feel a responsibility to step up.

While we will be paying for these stays, we could not do this without the generosity of our Hosts.

If you’re willing to host a refugee family, reach out and I’ll connect you with the right people here to make it happen!

First ‘post-lockdown’ Bank Holiday weekend predicted to drive sales for hospitality

New research reveals that confidence among small and medium-sized businesses is returning to pre-pandemic levels, with hospitality and leisure businesses forecasting a revenue boost of 27 per cent.

According to the seventh instalment of the report from Barclaycard Payments, which processes nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, 60 per cent of small to medium hospitality and leisure businesses expect an increase in revenue across the August Bank Holiday, which is the first long weekend post-lockdown.

Additionally, consumer demand to return to shops, pubs and restaurants has also led 60 per cent of retail and hospitality businesses to report equal or higher customer numbers than before the onset of the pandemic.

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.

Poll: Which of these off-limits countries are you most excited to visit? 

How do the UK’s Covid figures compare with the US?

The USA still won’t give Britons the green light to enter its country. So how does our data compare?

The US‘ current seven-day case rate is 316 per 100,000 citizens; only slightly lower than the UK‘s, which is 344 per 100K

As for its vaccination drive, the US has double-jabbed 63 per cent of its population, while the UK has now reached 79 per cent.

Surely we have a strong case for access by now? Here are both the charts:

The US:

The UK:

Australia concedes lockdowns are ‘unsustainable’ as Jacinda Ardern extends delta restrictions

Continuous lockdowns are “unsustainable”, the Australian prime minister said on Monday, marking a shift in policy away from the rigid lockdowns that have characterised the country’s Covid response, reports Giovanni Torre in Perth.

“That is our goal – to live with this virus, not to live in fear of it,” Scott Morrison told reporters.

His remarks came as Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand‘s prime minister, extended her country’s lockdown until the end of the week in response to 107 Covid cases.

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

Read the full story here.

Travel test firms remain unregulated despite promise to crackdown on ‘cowboy providers’

Travel test firms are remaining “unregulated” despite a promise to crackdown on so-called “cowboy” firms.

The Medical Director of DAM Health, one of the UK’s largest testing providers with more than 40 clinics across the country, has said that the company has to “self-regulate” due to the lack of guidance from the Government.

Professor Frank Joseph told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Unfortunately there’s no regulation for us and we would welcome it.

“We’ve had conversations with local councillors in Liverpool to say ‘look you know there is no regulation but we have to self-regulate’.”

This comes after it emerged that Sajid Javid’s review of “cowboy” travel test providers, which are firms peddling false claims and rip-off practices, have seen less than 2 per cent of providers removed from the Government’s approved list so far.

Head on over to our coronavirus live blog for more.

Numbers on the rise in New Zealand

New Zealand has recorded its highest increase in Covid cases since April 2020, but authorities said the numbers were not rising exponentially and the majority of the cases were still centred in Auckland where the recent outbreak started.

Authorities reported 41 new cases today, taking the total number of infections in the country to 148

Advice: When New Zealand could reopen its borders.

Boardmasters: Nearly 5,000 Covid cases may be linked to Cornwall festival

Almost 5,000 coronavirus cases have emerged that are suspected to be linked to a music festival in Cornwall earlier this month.

Health officials are investigating 4,700 cases after the Boardmasters event two weeks ago.

The cases are spread across the country but around 800 are living in Cornwall, a council official confirmed.

He said people who tested positive for Covid-19 reported they had been to the festival, held between August 11 and 15 in the Newquay area.

Read the full report here.

cornwall

Boardmasters Festival 2021 at Fistral Beach on August 12

Credit:
Jonny Weeks/Getty

Australia’s focus must shift, says government’s pandemic adviser

Australia can proceed with its reopening plans when the country reaches 70-80 per cent vaccination levels, the government’s pandemic modelling adviser said, even as some states hinted they may not ease border curbs if Sydney fails to control its delta outbreak.

The Melbourne-based Doherty Institute said the country’s focus must shift to limiting the number of Covid deaths and hospitalisations, from its current zero-cases strategy, when at least 70 per cent of the country’s population above age 16 is fully vaccinated.

“This level of vaccination will make it easier to live with the virus, as we do with other viruses such as the flu,” it said in a statement late on Monday. 

Only 30 per cent of Australia’s adult population has been fully vaccinated.

Hawaii wants to limit traveller numbers

Hawaii‘s governor is urging residents and potential visitors to limit travel to the islands to essential business while the state struggles to control outbreaks of the delta variant of coronavirus.

Governor David Ige wants to curtail travel to Hawaii through the end of October: “It is a risky time to be travelling right now.”

He said restaurant capacity had been restricted and there was limited access to rental cars.

But Mr Ige is stopping short of last year’s strict travel rules that required quarantining and essentially shut down Hawaii’s tourism industry. He notes the CDC says fully vaccinated people can travel domestically.

Hawaii’s seven-day average of new daily cases hit 671 on Monday, more than triple the level four weeks earlier.

At a glance: the situation in Turkey

With Turkey hoping to be removed from the red list later this week, here’s the latest data.

Turkey’s current seven-day case rate is 163  per 100,000 citizens. The UK’s, by comparison, is 344 per 100K

As for its vaccination drive, Turkey has double-jabbed 55 per cent of its population, while the UK has now reached 79 per cent.

US ban on UK travellers could stay in place until November, airlines fear

The US could maintain its ban on UK travellers until Thanksgiving on November 25, airlines fear, in a further blow to US-UK relations, reports. Charles Hymas.

A major airline is this week expected to postpone plans to launch scheduled services from London to New York in September until November amid concerns that there are no signs of any imminent lifting of the ban.

Another airline revealed it expected the ban to continue into the autumn, although it hoped that Joe Biden, the US president, could introduce exemptions for double-jabbed Britons. 

At present only Americans, their relatives and some very tightly defined exempt groups are allowed into the US.

Read the full story here.

What happened yesterday?

A quick recap of the top stories:

  • Wildfires threaten Greece island resort

  • ‘Cowboy’ Covid test companies given final warning by Government

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

  • Chilterns and Cotswolds earmarked for national park status

  • Oman to reopen to fully-vaccinated travellers

  • US heightens warning against cruise holidays

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