Travel news latest: Transatlantic corridor in doubt as EU recommends US travel curbs

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The EU has removed the US from its Covid safe list for non-essential travel, further dampening hopes for the opening of a transatlantic corridor.

“Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, the Republic of North Macedonia and the United States of America were removed from the list,” a statement from the European Council said.

This move to halt non-essential travel from the US follows a rise in Covid numbers in the country – its seven-day infection rate is now 337 per 100,000 people; the UK’s is 331, for comparison. Meanwhile, travellers who have been in the UK or the EU in the 14 days before arrival are still banned from entering the US. 

Tori Emerson Barnes, US Travel Association executive vice president of public affairs and policy, told trade publication Travel Weekly that the EU’s advice was a “disappointing development following the boost in inbound visitation by vaccinated travellers that many EU countries experienced this summer”. 

He added: “We encourage the EU to remain open to vaccinated Americans, and likewise urge the United States to take immediate steps to begin welcoming vaccinated individuals and restoring our travel economy.”

Scroll down for the latest travel news.

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US raises travel alert for European countries

The US raised the travel risk alert for Germany, Switzerland, and several other European countries on Monday, due to the Covid rates in those nations.

Switzerland, Estonia, North Macedonia, Azerbaijan, and St Lucia have been included in the level 4 category, meaning they are among the highest-risk destinations for travellers, according to the latest advisory from the US Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Germany, Canada, and Moldova have been moved up to level 3, “reconsider travel,” up from level 2.

Costly PCR travel tests ‘here to stay’

Holidaymakers’ hopes of cheaper trips have been dashed after a health minister said on Friday that PCR tests will stay for the foreseeable future.

Lord Bethell indicated to test providers at a roundtable last Friday that the tests – which on average cost more than £70 – are unlikely to be scrapped in the near future despite calls from Tory MPs for them to be axed.

Senior MPs are pushing for the PCR tests to be replaced by cheaper lateral flow tests for double jabbed holidaymakers returning to the UK from amber and green list countries. At present, all arrivals have to take at least one PCR test on or before day two of their return.

Read the full story.

Vaccine passports hit by NHS blunders

Up to 700,000 vaccine passports have been affected by NHS blunders, locking many people out of foreign travel, after the wrong data was recorded by health officials, The Telegraph can reveal.

Ministers have said Covid passes – already used for travel to dozens of countries – will become compulsory for entry to nightclubs and large venues by the end of next month.

But hundreds of thousands of vaccine records have now been found to contain errors, including those which have left double-jabbed people without the proof they need.

Read the full story.

Scramble to evacuate as California fire nears Lake Tahoe

Residents and tourists in communities near Lake Tahoe fled on Monday as a fierce, two-week-old wildfire roared closer to the popular resort destination through drought-parched forests in northern California’s Sierra Nevada mountains.

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Flames and smoke rise as the Caldor fire moves closer to South Lake Tahoe, California on Monday

Credit:
Getty

Evacuations in and around the town of South Lake Tahoe came as the U.S. Forest Service said it was taking the unusual step of closing all 18 national forests in California to the public in the midst of a fire season already shaping up as one of the worst on record.

The closure is due to last 17 days, starting Wednesday, and effectively extends a shutdown of nine national forests in northern California that began on Aug. 23 and was due to expire over the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend.

A similar closure of all 18 national forests in California was imposed last September due to what the Forest Service then called “unprecedented and historic” fire conditions. In its latest announcement, the agency cited “fire behavior that is beyond the norm of our experience.”

The agency also cited “significantly limited” resources available for wildfire suppression given the scores of large fires burning in California and a dozen other Western states.

Tui cancels holidays to Jamaica due to Foreign Office advice 

Tui has cancelled holidays to the Caribbean country, despite Jamaica remaining on England’s amber list for travel following the government update, due to Foreign Office advice. 

The Department for Transport’s traffic light system and the Foreign Office advice for travel are run separately and have often differed since international travel resumed this year, under a new system, on May 17. Tui announced over the Bank Holiday weekend that it would be cancelling all holidays to Jamaica. A statement on its website said

Due to the updated travel advice from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office advising against all but essential travel to Jamaica, TUI UK have cancelled all holidays to Jamaica until Saturday 11th September 2021.

Customers currently on holiday in Jamaica can continue their holiday and return to the UK on their planned flight.

Customers will be contacted in departure date order to discuss their options, which will include amending to another holiday with an incentive or cancelling and receiving a full refund. “We’d like to thank our customers for their understanding and patience.

The 20 greatest destinations in Italy

Italy is a country of year-long delights, and now that fully vaccinated Britons will be able to travel there without quarantine upon arrival, it’s the perfect time to get planning.

Nick Trend suggests 20 enticing options for each month of the year, including September in the Italian Lakes. 

Holidaymakers have been attracted to the lakes since Roman times, and each has its own special character and appeal. If you’re after a quieter romantic escape, you may be drawn to Lake Orta or Lake Como. Outdoorsy types should head to the northern shores of Lake Garda for canyoning and kite surfing, while Lake Iseo is well-suited to hikers and cyclists. And for opulent hotels, and grand resorts, Stresa, Pallanza, and the Golfo Borromeo of Lake Maggiore are the places to stay. The September weather is usually idyllic.

Read the list in full.

Italy lifts quarantine rules for double-jabbed Britons

Italy has ditched its five-day quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated Britons, starting from today. 

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Vin Diesel is seen during the Dolce&Gabbana Alta Moda show, which was held in Venice this weekend

Credit:
Getty

Health Minister Roberto Speranza confirmed that he had signed a decree ending the requirement for visitors from the UK from August 31, provided they are double-jabbed and present a negative test upon arrival.

Those who are not double-jabbed will still need to quarantine for five days in Italy, and will have to do the same for up to 10 days on return to the UK, given it remains on the amber list. 

Read our advice for travel to Italy.

Four-hour Heathrow queues after Border Force staff sent to help Afghan refugees

Holidaymakers were hit by four-hour queues at Heathrow Airport over the Bank Holiday weekend after Border Force staff were sent to help Afghan refugees.

Pregnant women and families with young children were among those who had to sit on the floor amid “brutal queues” due to staff shortages, passengers said.

Travellers claimed on social media that only a quarter of passport control desks in Terminals two and five were open to handle hundreds of arriving passengers.

The Home Office confirmed that the delays were caused by Border Force officers being redeployed to help process those fleeing Afghanistan since the Taliban took control of the country.

Read the full story.

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