Rome and Barcelona at risk of second lockdowns

barcelona – afp Since lockdown has gradually eased all over the world, localised spikes have followed,

barcelona - afp
barcelona – afp

Since lockdown has gradually eased all over the world, localised spikes have followed, and the threat of new restrictions loom. 

Spain’s coronavirus rates have tripled in the three weeks since lockdown was eased. As a result of outbreaks in Catalonia, up to 96,000 residents of three Catalan towns have been advised to stay at home and residents in Barcelona were advised on Friday to leave their home only for essential trips. This advice was widely ignored, and over the weekend 4,581 new cases were recorded in Spain, bringing the total to 264,836.

Ana Rodríguez, a Catalan health worker, told The Telegraph’s destination expert Sally Davies: “The problem with asking people not to leave town because we might be looking at a second lockdown, is that they will see it as potentially their last chance for a weekend away. It was always going to backfire.”

In Italy, residents of Rome and the encompassing region of Lazio have been warned that local lockdowns may be reimposed if there continue to be new clusters. “I appeal for the use of masks, otherwise, we’ll have to close down again” said Lazio Health Commissioner Alessio D’Amato.

The new outbreaks threaten potential disruption for scores of holidaymakers this summer.

Follow all the latest travel news below.

12:25 PM

American tourists banned from the Bahamas

The Bahamas will shut its borders to visitors from the US from tomorrow, although tourists travelling from the UK and EU will not be turned away.

The Caribbean nation has seen a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in the last few days, prompting Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis to close all airports and seaports to American arrivals mere weeks after opening them for the first time since lockdown.

Dr Minnis said: “We are taking these strong actions to save lives. I understand the frustration and the disappointment of many Bahamians and residents that may ensue as we reimplement certain restrictions, but as a country, we have to do what is right and what is necessary.”

While many countries are not subject to the new travel ban, anyone wishing to enter the Bahamas, including returning nationals, must now provide proof of a negative RT-PCR Covid-19.

12:15 PM

Quarantine rules lifted for travellers from Spain to Scotland

Scottish holidaymakers can jet off to Spain without quarantining on their return after SNP ministers finally announced that restrictions will be lifted this week.

Humza Yousaf, the Justice Secretary, unveiled the about-turn following a “thorough review” of Covid-19 “prevalence rates” on mainland Spain and the Spanish islands, Simon Johnson reports. The change means Spain will be added to 57 other countries from which incoming travellers will not have to isolate when they arrive in Scotland.

This came despite Spain having reported in the last week the steepest daily jump in coronavirus infections in more than two months, with the Catalonia region recording more than 1,000 infections per day. Health authorities are trying to halt the surge, which has led to four million people around Barcelona being asked to stay home for 15 days.

Not everyone is thrilled that Scotland’s international airports are now open again. Gabriel Scally, president of epidemiology at the Royal Society of Medicine told The Times that with Scotland “now within touching distance of getting to zero Covid”, he is concerned that all the work thus far to contain the virus could be undone by lobbying from the tourism industry.  “It is a tremendous worry. I’m astounded by the power and influence the airlines are able to exert.”

11:21 AM

Virtual summer camp launched for bored children

With an unprecedented rise in interest in camping and the great outdoors this summer The North Face has launched a virtual summer camp for youngsters keen to learn the essential skills needed for adventure travel and holidays in the wild, reports Lucy Aspden.

Running until July 31, the Summer Base Camp is led by the clothing brand’s team of professional athletes including ski mountaineer Hilaree Nelson, rock climber Nina Williams and Academy Award-winning film director and climber Jimmy Chin. These pioneering experts spend their lives exploring some of the world’s most extreme environments, from Everest to the desert. 

It’s free to register for the interactive video tutorials, which can be watched live or saved for later and cover everything from adventure photography, mapmaking, survival skills and basecamp building.

The summer camp is the latest initiative from the brand that also launched a €1million fund to support companies, individuals and charities whose business it is to encourage exploration and adventure and are now out of work due to the pandemic. 

10:57 AM

Will overtourism return to Cornwall?

BA will resume more domestic short-haul destinations by the end of this month, with a service from London to Newquay among them. Is this a good thing?

Not for Justin Francis, CEO of  Responsible Travel, who tells Telegraph Travel today: 

“We’re facing a climate emergency – we should not be flying short distances to destinations that can be reached by other means. We instead need to be investing in improving public transport links. But there’s also the concern here of potential overtourism, which is likely to be more severe this year as more people opt for staycations. There’s a risk of such a route exacerbating the problem locally, and it could look opportunistic.”

Read more: European holiday hotspots are now cheaper than a train ride to Cornwall

10:36 AM

Can I visit Portugal? The latest advice as air bridge talks continue 

Yes and no. 

You can visit Portugal now, but you would need to self-isolate for 14 days on your return. The country was left off the list of countries for which the UK is exempting quarantine rules.

Portugal was also excluded from another list exempting the nation from the Foreign Office advice against all but essential travel, apart from Madeira and the Azores.

This means you can visit Portugal’s islands, with insurance, but you will need to quarantine when you arrive home, but if you take a trip to, say, the Algarve, you will be doing so against FCO advice and will need to self-isolate in the UK. 

The Government’s next review of travel regulations is due on July 27. And for many, it can’t come soon enough.

Read Oliver Smith’s full advice piece here.

algarve - Jose Sarmento Matos
algarve – Jose Sarmento Matos

10:24 AM

Second national lockdown possible, says professor

Without effective cluster busting a second national lockdown is entirely possible, Professor Devi Sridhar, Professor of Global Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, has said as she warns against the Prime Minister’s optimism, our Global Health Security team reports.

Prof Sridhar said:

“If you have existing community transmission, where England is at now, you’re going to see spikes. It is inevitable. As we’ve seen with Australia in Melbourne, you’re going to have to tip into a local lockdown. If the local lockdown gets too stretched then you’re going to have to go into a national lockdown and that’s what’s happened in other places.”

So you cannot say that the UK will never have another lockdown, Prof Sridhar suggested. In fact, “the only place on the planet who can possibly say that is New Zealand, because they’re out in the pacific and they’re an island, and they’re checking everyone coming out there on flights.”

10:15 AM

Britons are keen to travel again, but not too far afield

A new survey has painted a positive picture of the future for the adventure travel industry after finding that 95 per cent of those questioned plan to venture abroad next year.

The latest market-wide survey, conducted by travel company Much Better Adventures on 3,080 respondants, found that Italy topped the list of post-lockdown destinations to visit, but that long-haul travel has fallen from favour.

Here are the top 10 countries UK adventure travellers are considering in the next year or two were, in order of preference:

  1. Italy

  2. Norway

  3. France

  4. Spain

  5. Croatia

  6. Greece

  7. Canada

  8. Slovenia

  9. Sweden

  10. Iceland

What about you? Let us know in the comments box at the bottom of this article.

10:01 AM

Tunisia welcomes back tourists

Tourists are back on Tunisia‘s beaches after charter flights resumed to the North African country. 

Late last week, 155 mask-clad holidaymakers from France, Germany and Luxembourg were greeted on the resort island of Djerba with temperature checks at the air port, AFP reports. 

“We can’t save the whole season, but we will do everything we can to save part of it,” said Tunisian Tourism Minister Mohamed Ali Toumi. The FCO, however, still advises Britons against all but essential travel to the country.

djerba - afp
djerba – afp

“When global tourism ground to a halt, one of the first countries I thought of was Tunisia,” writes Telegraph Travel’s Greg Dickinson, who visited last year.

“The country’s tourism industry has had a tumultuous decade, with the Tunisian Revolution of 2011 and the horrific Sousse terrorist attack of 2015 causing visitor numbers to drop – particularly from the UK.” You can read all about his investigative trip here.

09:50 AM

What if Covid-19 spoils my holiday?

It’s a question many of us will be raising for quite some time to come, what with the complications of local lockdowns, quarantine and isolation measures, and the potential for last-minute cancellations.

Fortunately, we have Nick Trend on hand to drill through the eventualities. Read his summer holiday travel advice here.

09:22 AM

Canada’s top tourist towns are struggling

The unemployment rate in Banff, in Canada’s flagship national park, has risen to a whopping 80 per cent as a result of the ongoing lockdown, said Leslie Bruce, chief executive of Banff and Lake Louise Tourism.

In the British Columbian mountain resort of Whistler, hotel occupancy dropped to ‘pretty much zero’ between mid-March and the end of June, said Barrett Fisher, president and CEO of Tourism Whistler, as reported by Reuters.

Since the border restrictions were imposed between the US and Canada, more than 10,000 US citizens have been turned away after trying to enter the country for tourism or other ‘non-essential reasons’, according to the Canada Border Services Agency.

The European Union has excluded the US from its initial “safe list” of countries from which the bloc allows non-essential travel, but gave approval to Canada earlier this month.


09:09 AM

Small ships are the future of the cruise industry, study finds

A survey by travel agency Mundy Cruising showed almost two-thirds – 63 per cent – of its customers plan to cruise in 2021, with 15 per cent hoping to sail this year. 

The majority of respondents (56 per cent) plan to travel on a ship carrying 50-500 passengers, compared to 44 per cent who preferred this size of ship before.

At the other end of the spectrum just seven per cent of the 332 people polled, plan to travel on a ship carrying more than 1,000 passengers in future, compared to 19 per cent before coronavirus.

Kaye Holland has the full story.

09:05 AM

Bournemouth beach hut sets seaside cliff ablaze

Sunbathers fled to safety yesterday after a fire in a beach hut set a seaside cliff ablaze, Jessica Carpani reports.

It is thought the fire started from a gas stove being used inside the wooden hut on the busy promenade on Bournemouth beach, which was packed with thousands of visitors soaking up the 23C sunny weather.

Due to the gorse being tinder-dry and a strong southerly breeze fanning the flames, a huge 100ft long strip of the sloping cliff was set alight.

Eight fire crews raced to scene at 3.50pm and put out the fire in the beach huts and set about tackling the fire on the cliff. South Western Ambulance Service said there were no reports of any injuries.

bournemouth - Tracy Steadman/BNPS
bournemouth – Tracy Steadman/BNPS

08:57 AM

Tribal, twee and cavorting in swamps: How the rest of the world views Britain

As a Middle Eastern news outlet has described Newcastle as “tribal and violent”, Guy Kelly wonders how the rest of us Britons are seen by foreigners. Starting with Cornwall:

“The big toe of Britain is a land populated by a fiercely defensive people who speak, for historic and comedic reasons, in faux-pirate accents. Their diet consists solely of meat-and-potato-filled croissants called ‘pasties’, and tiny, tasteless circular cakes cemented with jam and clotted cream (in that order; the reverse will see you exiled to neighbouring Devon, which is the fiercest punishment a Cornish person could inflict upon anybody). Cornwall – pronounced “Corrrrrrnwaaarrrlll” – has its own language, its own flag, and treats outsiders with suspicion unless they have lived there for approximately 150 years.”

Read the rest of his amusing piece here.

08:49 AM

Nepal to resume international flights

Nepal will allow international flights to resume from August 17, a minister said on Tuesday, nearly four months after suspending them amid the pandemic.

“We’ll prepare the safety regulations which must be followed by airlines to operate,” Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister Yogesh Bhattarai told Reuters.

The country, home to eight of the world’s highest mountains, Mount Everest among them, is heavily reliant on tourism.

So far, Nepal has reported 17,844 infections with 40 deaths from the disease.


08:36 AM

British cruise line collapses

UK cruise operator Cruise and Maritime Voyages has gone into administration, with the “global pandemic of seismic proportions” being blamed for its demise, Ben Parker reports.

The line, which has six ships in its fleet and was founded in 2010, has “ceased trading with immediate effect”, according to administrators Duff & Phelps. It comes after concerns were raised last month that the company was in desperate need of additional funding – which it said it was “confident” of securing.

There are no passengers on board any of CMV’s vessels, with all operations paused since March. It has been due to resume sailing on August 25. All future bookings have been cancelled.


08:21 AM

A look at the numbers

  • California reported a record increase of more than 11,800 new cases on Monday. This is the first time the state has reported over 10,000 new infections since setting a record with 10,861 cases on July 14.

  • Florida has reported over 10,000 new cases a day for the last six days in a row and Texas has reported over 10,000 cases for five out of the last seven days.

  • Meanwhile in Australia, the second most populous state of Victoria has reported three deaths and logged 374 daily cases of infections, compared with 275 cases a day earlier. It has recorded just under 6,300 total confirmed cases of Covid-19, which is nearly half of the total infections in Australia.

  • India reported more than 40,000 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, a record high for the country.

  • Brazil‘s death toll surpassed 80,000 on Monday. The figure, second only to the death toll in the US, quadrupled in two months.

08:13 AM

China requires negative Covid-19 tests for arriving air passengers

 Passengers of China-bound flights must provide negative Covid-19 test results before boarding, China’s aviation authority said today, as the government looks to further reduce the risk of imported coronavirus cases amid increased international travel.

Nucleic acid tests must be completed within five days of travel, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said on its website. Tests should be conducted at facilities designated or recognised by Chinese embassies in host countries, it said.

In the past month, CAAC has allowed more foreign airlines to resume services in China and add flights to the country as the economy recovers. Deutsche Lufthansa AG on Friday said it would double the number of flights to and from mainland China in coming weeks, and Air France KLM SA said it has received approval to add more China flights.

However, a number of airlines have been suspended from operating China routes after more than five passengers tested positive for the coronavirus upon arrival.

08:02 AM

What we learnt yesterday

A re-cap of the main stories:

  • Fire on Bournemouth beach

  • Mexico receives stamp of approval to resume tourism, despite high death toll 

  • Greece tightens rules for foreign seasonal workers 

  • Beaches in Barcelona reach capacity, despite ‘stay home’ calls

  • First international flights land in Madeira 

  • Coach for Crisis protest reaches Westminster

  • Cinemas reopen in China

See yesterday’s live blog here.