Spain and Greece are tightening restrictions in tourist hotspots in response to a rising number of infections driven by the Delta variant.
Night curfews are to be reimposed in more than 30 towns in the Mediterranean region of Valencia, including in the city of Valencia and popular coastal destination of Benicassim. Social gatherings of more than 10 people will also be banned.
Spain said it had seen its coronavirus case rate triple in just two weeks.
In Greece, unvaccinated people will be banned from bars, cinemas and theatres, after authorities blamed soaring infection numbers on people refusing to have the vaccine. The restrictions will apply nationwide including on the Greek islands.
“After a year and a half, no one can claim ignorance about the coronavirus anymore,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a televised address. “The country will not shut down again due to attitude adopted by certain people … It’s not Greece that’s a danger, but unvaccinated Greeks.”
Both destinations are on the UK’s amber list and therefore set to welcome an influx of British holidaymakers when the new double vaccination quarantine rules come into force on July 19.
Scroll down for more updates.
US lowers travel advisory to Germany and Austria
The United States has lowered its travel advisory for Germany, Austria and several other European countries on Tuesday, advising Americans to exercise increased caution due to Covid, the State Department said on Tuesday.
In an updated advisory dated Monday, the department lowered Germany and Austria from Level 3 “Reconsider Travel” to Level 2 “Exercise Increased Caution.” Advisories for Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Serbia were also lowered, as well as Armenia.
The risk of Covid infection may be lower if someone is fully vaccinated, states the advisory. However, the department also calls for increased caution in Germany due to terrorism.
97 per cent of ski resorts planning to operate fully next winter
The majority of ski resorts and operators are confident of returning to ‘business as usual’ next winter, new research has found. Our colleague Lucy Aspden has the latest:
A study by the Mountain Trade Network and its partner Skitude found that 96 per cent of ski businesses – including resorts, tour operators and other providers – are confident they will be operating during the upcoming ski season.
And they’re desperate for Britons to return to the slopes. 84 per cent of accommodation providers said they want to encourage British skiers back through their doors. Reassuringly 74 per cent said they were confident, or very confident, that Britons will return to the pistes of Europe next winter – however only 28 per cent had the same faith in long-haul ski trips to the likes of Canada, the US and Japan.
Last season was incredibly tough for resorts and operators, with lifts remaining closed and border restrictions preventing Britons from making fresh tracks, but it has sparked a digital revolution for ski holidays. 88 per cent of winter destinations said they want to invest in new technology to both help drive sales and improve the holiday experience in resorts in the future.
“We are seeing a big increase now in the use of technology in ski resorts, including contactless payments, online bookings and mobile apps to digitise the customer journey and offer a better user experience,” said Héloïse Haake, Head of Marketing for Skitude.
Cruise industry hopeful of Scotland restart
With the easing of Scotland’s Covid restrictions announced today, cruise companies are hopeful of a green light to dock in the country this summer after cruise ships were banned.
Though there has been no official confirmation of cruise restrictions ending, Andy Harmer, managing director of CLIA UK & Ireland is upbeat:
We are pleased that today’s announcement indicates that cruises on domestic itineraries can now visit Scottish ports. Domestic sailings have safely and successfully restarted in England, and the effective measures that are in place both on and off ships will similarly be used on cruises visiting Scotland.
We look forward to cruise ships calling at Scottish ports this summer, with guests able to explore some of the beautiful destinations.
FCDO lifts travel advisory against Cyprus
The Foreign Office (FCDO) has today lifted its advisory against non-essential travel to Cyprus.
The country is currently on the UK’s amber list, meaning that fully vaccinated Britons will no longer be required to self-isolate on their return after July 19.
The easing of FCDO advice means that most UK-issued travel insurance policies will be valid in the country.
However, Cyprus last week placed the UK on its own red list, due to the rising prevalence of the Delta variant. As such, the FCDO’s ‘Entry Requirements’ advice states:
Passengers must undergo a PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure and provide proof of a negative result. You must then undergo another PCR test upon arrival at Larnaca or Paphos airports, and remain in self-isolation until the result is issued. Test results should be available within three hours through the online platform. The cost of both tests is borne by the passenger.
The summer holiday plans of our travel editors and experts
Since the beginning of the pandemic, some 18 months ago, Telegraph Travel’s writers and editors have been working to bring you the most up-to-date information and advice on ever-changing travel rules.
Along the way we have had corridors, traffic lights, quarantines, bans, task forces, advisories and watchlists to grapple with. Safe to say, it has not been straightforward.
Our experts know the travel rules better than anyone – so where are they off to this summer?
Half of EU adults now vaccinated
More than half of adults in the European Union are now vaccinated, according to the latest figures, and regional leaders turned up the pressure to get even more people immunised.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that will be the deciding factor for the future course of the pandemic.
Hotel occupancy rates in UAE soar
Hotel occupancy in the oil-rich capital of the United Arab Emirates surged in June to the highest level since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Abu Dhabi hotels were 68.5% full last month, according to preliminary data from research firm STR. Revenue per available room, a key measure of profitability, was 219.81 dirhams ($59.67), the highest since February.
Room rates have also risen in neighboring Dubai, STR said earlier this year. The emirate is hosting the Expo 2020 international exhibition in October, and is aiming for 25 million unique visits in what it hopes will be a significant boost to the key tourism sector.
The year-over-year percentage increases are “substantial” because of the comparison with the months most affected by the pandemic in 2020, STR said.
The UAE has largely shunned lockdowns since emerging from one last year. While Abu Dhabi has announced some curbs and plans to restrict public spaces to vaccinated people from August, Dubai remains largely open.
The UAE is on the UK’s red list.
France to tighten borders with UK over Delta variant
France will tighten travel rules for unvaccinated Britons as President Emmanuel Macron encourages millions more French people to get the jab amid a surge in Covid-19 cases fuelled by the delta variant.
In a televised speech on Monday evening, Mr Macron raised the possibility of making the vaccine mandatory for all citizens and announced that jabs would be compulsory from September for health workers.
“Everywhere, we will have the same approach: recognising civic engagement and putting the restrictions on the unvaccinated rather than on all,” Mr Macron said with the Eiffel Tower in the background.
Mr Macron also announced enhanced border checks to avoid importing new cases from at-risk countries, including Britain.
In practice, this means unvaccinated travellers from the UK, which is currently on France’s orange list, will have to provide a negative Covid test taken less than 24 hours before traveling, Europe minister Clement Beaune said.
They will still need to have an “urgent reason” to travel. Currently, the test can be taken within 72 hours of travel.
Poll: Would you delete your track and trace app so that you can go on holiday?
Cayman Islands plan full reopening for January, 2022
The Cayman Islands is to begin a gradual reopening after months in total lockdown.
The first stage has begun, reducing the quarantine period from 14 days to five for vaccinated arrivals from overseas, but visitors must still apply for special dispensation to enter the Caribbean country.
It will not be until September 9 when there will be a “limited introduction of tourism”, but quarantine restrictions will remain.
On October 14, fully vaccinated travellers will no longer need to quarantine, but cruises will still be prohibited.
The islands said the final stage of reopening will be January 27, 2022, adding: “Once the country has completed all five phases and following a thorough assessment from the Government and health officials, Cayman Islands will celebrate its Grand Reopening, welcoming all travellers without quarantine or travel restrictions. At this time, cruise tourism may resume.”
All of Scotland to move to Level 0
All of Scotland will move to Level 0 from Monday, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.
The announcement means the number of people who can meet indoors will rise to eight people from four households, with ten people from four households able to meet in an indoor public place such as a pub.
Under the new rules, 15 people from 15 households will be able to meet outdoors.
Hospitality businesses will be able to open until midnight, according to the new restrictions, with soft play centres in areas moving from Level 2 also able to open.
Mass stadium events will also be able to admit more people, with 2,000 seated patrons and 1,000 standing.
Indoor events will be limited to 400 people.
Why you should shun the yurt and go ‘proper camping’ this summer
High-end, comfortable, gourmet – glamping is a world away from the real thing.
Ellen Manning writes:
“While glamping may incorporate the word, these days it’s about as far from proper camping as you can get. From your en-suite toilet facilities and heating and running water, to real beds, and in the really high-end cases, gourmet food delivered to your door, it’s basically a hotel where the walls are made of something other than bricks.
“You can tell yourself you’re intrepidly exploring the great outdoors, but really you’ve just packed a bag and swapped your house for a different location.
“You see, the joy of camping is that it’s different. It’s not home, it’s not a hotel. It’s camping. Whether you’re in a tent, caravan or campervan, there are certain things that make proper camping different from the glamping experiences that are touted around these days, and they are what gives it its charm.
“Real camping is boiling the water for your morning tea or coffee on a gas burner, rather than clicking the button on a kettle. It’s the traipse to the toilet block first thing in the morning or carrying your shower stuff across a muddy field, hoping you won’t drop your smalls in front of everyone. It’s realising you’re sleeping on a slope only when it’s too late to change it and having to wear extra layers of clothes to bed when it’s cold – not turning on a wood burner or electric heater as if you were at home.”
Trains and coaches not to enforce mask wearing
No domestic train operators or major bus and coach firms will require passengers to wear face coverings on services in England from Monday, according to industry bodies.
Transport companies have the power to turn away customers who refuse to cover their noses and mouths even when the legal requirement is lifted on July 19.
On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “we expect and recommend” that people continue to wear face coverings in “crowded and enclosed spaces … such as on public transport”.
Cross-Channel train firm Eurostar and airlines such as British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair will continue to require passengers to wear face coverings from July 19. But train industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) announced that all domestic train operators, such as Avanti West Coast, TransPennine Express and Southeastern, will not go that far.
An RDG spokesman said: “Rail companies will ask people to follow the Government guidance and, out of respect for others, wear face coverings if an indoor setting is busy. Train travel is low-risk, with the majority of carriages well ventilated by air conditioning systems or by doors and windows.”
The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), which represents major bus and coach operators such as National Express and Megabus, announced that its members will not mandate the wearing of face coverings from Monday.
Covid cases surge eightfold in the Netherlands after nightclubs reopen
Mark Rutte, the caretaker Dutch prime minister, apologised on Monday for lifting all Covid restrictions too soon, as the government was forced to shut nightclubs again after just two weeks.
Social distancing curbs and midnight closure times for bars and restaurants have been reinstated as the delta variant pushed infections in the Netherlands to the highest level so far this year.
The government also cancelled all festivals and events with large crowds and live music for the next month.
“What we thought would be possible, turned out not to be possible in practice,” Mr Rutte told reporters on Monday. “We had poor judgement, which we regret and for which we apologise.”
‘I’m getting my second jab a month early so I can go on holiday’
Some vaccination clinics have been offering second doses after just 21 days – and Annabel Fenwick-Elliott will be joining the queue:
I face two conundrums in regards to getting my second jab sooner. A: is it selfish? And B: is it even possible? It feels a bit selfish, but in fact it is not. I have two doses assigned to me, so I’m not ‘stealing’ the second from someone else.
Nor am I jumping the queue. NHS England’s “grab-a-jab” campaign, which kicked off last month, has been actively encouraging people to get their first or second jabs as soon as possible, by way of walk-in centres with no appointment needed.
‘Wild’ camping launches in Northumberland
Those looking for spectacular solitude in Northumberland this summer will appreciate the launch of Wild By Consent, a directory of off-grid campervan pitches across the region.
The site connects campervanners with local landowners, offering ‘wild camping’ pitches in beautiful surroundings – with a guarantee that you will have the entire locale to yourself. Wild camping is currently illegal in England, but all With Wild Consent sites have full landowner permission.
From sea views overlooking Lindisfarne Nature Reserve and Dunstanburgh Castle to a tranquil river scene on the banks of the river Till, every location promises wilderness and privacy. Prices start at £25/night per pitch, rising to £100/night for ‘super premium’ locations. wildwithconsent.com
Dragoman: ‘There is no choice but to shut up shop’
Adventure tour operator Dragoman has announced it will suspend operations and close its headquarters “until we can see clear and permanent signs of being able to run trips again”.
The overlanding specialist, which pioneered adventure travel across Asia and South America, issued a statement via its website today:
We thought back in 2020 a chink of light meant we’d soon be overlanding again, albeit perhaps to countries closer to home than the norm.
But we are now 16 months into the pandemic, and long-haul travel in the way that Dragoman has operated for the past 40 years is, sadly, unlikely to be possible in the short to medium term. We have got to batten down the hatches and to sit it out as best we can, much as we hate the idea of doing so.
No new bookings will be taken until we see light at the end of the tunnel and feel confident that we can restart our operations. There is no alternative but to shut up shop until the world’s borders are once again open to travel.
All clients with bookings will be refunded in full, and no new bookings will be taken.
‘I booked a holiday… and then deleted my track and trace app’
My colleague Emma Beaumont has spoken to a number of people who have deleted their NHS app in order to avoid quarantine requests.
It’s a similar story for 29-year-old civil servant Tom*, who is planning on heading to Portugal next month and has already decided to switch off the contact tracing capability on the app in case it jeopardises his trip.
He says: “I’ve followed every rule during the pandemic, but I’m vaccinated now – surely I should be allowed to live my life. And with ‘Freedom Day’, it feels like the Government has essentially given up on lowering cases so why should we go on having to isolate?
“I obviously wouldn’t travel if I had any Covid symptoms, but I don’t see anything wrong with opting out of this silly system, especially with all the tests you need to travel already making it pretty safe.
“After the last 18 months, I just need a holiday and I’m not going to be at the mercy of this app.”
Despite not seeing a moral issue with his decision, Tom says he has “kept it quiet” that he’s deleted the app, admitting that he doesn’t want people to judge his decision.
*Not his real name
Which countries are on the green list?
Sydney poised to extend lockdown as cases swell
Australian authorities reported a slight slowdown in new COVID-19 cases in Sydney on Tuesday, but may still extend a lockdown in the country’s largest city to douse an outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant.
New South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned the harbour city’s more than 5 million residents not to become complacent as she reported 89 new locally transmitted cases, down from Monday’s record high for the year of 112 infections.
“One day is not a trend, the numbers will keep bouncing around,” Berejiklian said in a televised news conference.
The outbreak was also showing signs of spreading further afield, alarming health officials.
One of the New South Wales cases was in Goulburn, a regional centre 200 km (120 miles) from Sydney that had not recorded a case in a year. Neighbouring Victoria state reported three new cases, its first in almost two weeks, in a family who had returned to Melbourne from a visit to New South Wales.
Spotlight: How bad are cases in Greece?
India warns of complacency at tourist sites
Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned on Tuesday against overcrowding at tourist sites and called for faster vaccinations against the coronavirus even as official figures indicated a slower spread of new infections.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) said on Monday it feared gathering of tourists and pilgrims could become super spreader events that fuel a deadly third wave of infections and it warned against complacency.
“I will say very emphatically that it is not OK to have huge crowds in hill stations, markets, without wearing masks,” Modi said in comments posted on Twitter while acknowledging the tourism industry has been badly hit by lockdowns.
India’s coronavirus caseload of 30.91 million infections is the world’s second-highest behind the United States.
Its official tally of deaths is 410,784, many of them coming in a brutal second wave of infections in April and May when people died outside hospitals as they waited for beds and bodies were washing up on the banks of the holy Ganges river.
On Monday, the top doctor’s association warned of growing complacency and more mass gatherings at which people ignored coronavirus protocols.
“Tourist bonanza, pilgrimage travel, religious fervour are all needed but can wait for a few more months,” the IMA said.
The red list countries that could move to amber in time for summer holidays
There is plenty of discussion about which countries could move from ‘amber’ to ‘green’ ahead of the summer season, with all eyes on holiday favourites Spain, Portugal, Greece and France. The next update is due on July 19, after a Government announcement due the previous week.
A promotion to the green list means anyone arriving from these countries would no longer need to quarantine on return from holiday, regardless of their vaccination status.
But some ‘red listed’ countries could be in the running for an ‘amber promotion’ in time for mid-July, judging by the latest data, meaning an end to the expensive mandatory hotel quarantine that passengers returning from the 56 red-listed countries face. And, now that it has been confirmed that the Government is waiving quarantine restrictions for fully vaccinated passengers returning from amber-list countries from July 19, exciting developments could be afoot.
Scotland set for rules to be relaxed
Nicola Sturgeon is set to announce today whether Scotland’s coronavirus restrictions can be eased as planned on Monday.
The First Minister has said she hopes to move the whole country to Level 0 from July 19, depending on the latest case numbers, hospital admissions and the vaccination rollout.
Level 0 would reduce the two-metre distancing rule to one metre in indoor public spaces.
Indoor gathering restrictions would be further lifted to allow up to eight people from up to three households to meet.
France to introduce vaccine passports for restaurants and shopping centres
Emmanuel Macron, the French president, raised the possibility of forcing all citizens to get vaccinated on Monday, as he announced that jabs would be compulsory from September for health workers to help battle a fresh rise in Covid cases.
“We must go towards vaccination of all French people, it is the only way towards a normal life,” Mr Macron said in a televised address to the nation.
“A new race against the clock is on,” he said, referring to the highly contagious delta variant.
“We may need to ask ourselves the question of mandatory vaccination for all.”
In a televised address, Mr Macron also said special Covid-19 passes would be required for anyone who wants to go to a restaurant, shopping mall or hospital or get on a train or plane.
To get a pass, people must have proof they’re fully vaccinated, or recently recovered from the virus, or have taken a fresh negative virus test.
The hidden risks of going on a summer holiday this year
A phone call from Track and Trace, late test results and airport queues are among the possible stumbling blocks, even for the double jabbed. Emma Featherstone writes.
“If you are planning a trip overseas this summer there are a number of potential catches to consider. Foremost, whether your chosen destination is welcoming UK travellers and, if so, what entry requirements it has in place, such as proof of full vaccination or proof of a negative Covid test. Should you need a test for entry, it is possible that the result will not be delivered in time.
“Next is travel insurance: as of July 10, there were 80 countries on the amber list to which the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) was still advising against non-essential travel. It will be difficult to secure cover should your destination feature among these.
“Then, of course, it is possible that you could test positive for coronavirus – or be contacted by Track and Trace – at some point before your holiday (or indeed find out that you have the virus while abroad).
“Despite all this, if you keep the potential stumbling blocks in mind (this list is not exhaustive), prepare for any problems and remain flexible, it is possible to have an enjoyable holiday abroad this summer. We explain some of the potential risks in more detail and how best to avoid, or reduce, them.”
Washington Monument to reopen as cases fall
The Washington Monument will reopen to visitors this week for the first time in six months, according to the National Park Service.
The national landmark honoring America’s founding father was shut as a security measure in January for President Joe Biden’s inauguration, and was kept closed due to Covid-19 restrictions.
It has been closed for the majority of the pandemic, but will now reopen to visitors; they must reserve a ticket online and masks must be worn.
Towering above the city sharing its name, the monument celebrates the military and political leadership of George Washington, whose Continental Army led newly-American revolutionaries to independence from Britain.
On its completion in 1884, the 555-foot (170-meter) obelisk was briefly the tallest building in the world. Hundreds of thousands of pre-pandemic tourists visited the structure annually, according to data from the National Parks Service.
Spain curfew to forbid public activities after midnight
The AFP has more detail on Spain’s reintroduction of restrictions in the region of Valencia.
Regional leaders in northeastern Catalonia said all public activities must finish at half past midnight, and no more than 10 people will be allowed to gather in private or public places.
“The data are more than worrying, they are frankly very, very bad,” Catalonia’s public health secretary Josep Maria Argimon told reporters in Barcelona.
The whole of Spain has been facing a “rapid” and “significant” increase in the incidence of the virus for several weeks, with 368 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days, said Fernando Simon, the central government’s chief epidemiologist.
The latest wave of the disease has hit in particular under-30s who have not been vaccinated, he added.
In the province of Valencia, south of Catalonia, a 1 to 6 am curfew was restored in 32 towns, including the regional capital Valencia, Spain’s third largest city after Madrid and Barcelona. All meetings were restricted to six people.
In the face of the increase in Covid-19 cases, neighbouring France last week advised people not to travel to Spain, labelling it a “red zone” country.
Hospital occupancy numbers in Spain are increasing slowly while the death rate is not rising at all, as so many more vulnerable people have been vaccinated, Simon said.
According to the health ministry, 59 percent of Spain’s 47 million people have received at least one vaccine dose, while 45 percent have been fully vaccinated.
Spotlight: How quickly are cases rising in Spain?
Too early to be talking about freedom as virus is still ‘troubling and dangerous’, warns WHO
It is too early to to be talking about freedom because Covid is still “troubling and dangerous”, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned.
Dr David Nabarro told Radio 4’s Today programme the virus is “troubling and dangerous”, that the “pandemic is advancing ferociously around the world” and that “I don’t think we’ve anywhere near got through the worst of it“.
Asked about the Government’s switch to personal responsibility, he said: “All this doesn’t quite fit with the position that was taken by Britain, along with other nations, some months ago when there was a real effort to try to prevent large numbers of people getting the disease, partly because of the risk of death and partly because of the recognition of the risk of long Covid.
“It’s necessary to be unequivocal on this particular challenge. What does urging caution mean? It’s important that everybody knows the best possible advice on how to prevent themselves being infected. I accept that vaccination has changed the nature of the equation in the UK but quite honestly from any point of view it’s too early to be talking about massive relaxation or freedom when the outbreak curve is on such a sharp ascent.
“Yes, relax, but don’t have these mixed messages about what’s going on. This dangerous virus hasn’t gone away, it’s variants are coming back and are threatening those who have already been vaccinated – we have to take it seriously.”
Five stories to keep an eye on today
Good morning and welcome to the travel live blog. Here aere five stories we’ll be watching today…
Oxford residents told to take Covid tests before travelling
Heathrow ‘chaos’ as 120 security staff told to isolate
Four tourists ordered off Bali for violating virus restrictions
Heathrow passengers down almost 90pc on pre-pandemic levels
India medical experts call for postponement of tourism