Travel news latest: Australia closed to tourists until 2022

·30-min read
qantas - Getty
qantas - Getty

Australia will remain closed to the majority of international arrivals until at least the start of 2022, the Government has said.

"We won't be seeing borders flung open at the start of next year with great ease," Finance Minister Simon Birmingham told The Australian on Thursday, citing "uncertainties that exist not just in the speed of the vaccine rollout but also the extent of its effectiveness to different variants of Covid, the duration of its longevity and effectiveness."

This marks a delay in earlier plans for the country, which is behind on its vaccination drive target, to open its borders by October of this year, presenting a major blow to those who have been separated from their overseas loved ones for more than a year and counting.

When international travel does restart, it is likely to begin with 'bubbles' shared with nations including Singapore, Japan, and Vietnam, Trade Minister Dan Tehan stated last week.

It comes as New Zealand today stopped quarantine-free travel to Australia's state of New South Wales following the discovery of two cases announced in Sydney.

Health department secretary Brendan Murphy said in January: "Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don't know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus. And it's likely that quarantine will continue for some time."

Scroll down for more of the latest news

04:01 PM

'The Government must work to reduce the cost of testing across the board'

Following the news that Tui have slashed the prices of Covid-19 tests for the customers (see 10.45am), Rory Boland, editor of magazine Which? Travel, has called on the Goverment to "reduce the cost of testing across the board, rather than have consumers rely on a system that is currently fragmented and flawed."

He called Tui's decisions as "great news – but only for Tui customers", adding:

"Other larger holiday companies that can afford to subsidise test costs may follow suit, but medium and small travel firms may struggle to compete, and holidaymakers could face reduced choice as a result.

"People should not have to shop around for mandatory tests if they want to travel, or have their hand forced as to who they book with based on limited provision of cheap tests."

03:50 PM

Vaccinations are not the 'golden ticket' for Covid-free flights, says healthcare firm

British healthcare provider Salutaris People has warned that air passengers who have been vaccinated must still be tested when travelling to avoid "a potential next wave of infection rates".

They urged the UK Government to continue with its testing strategy until at least the autumn.

Dr Brendan Payne, a consultant virologist and infectious diseases physician at Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, said:

The NHS and Public Health England will need to maintain Covid testing capability indefinitely. Covid will not be eliminated by vaccinations and we need to find long-term solutions to live with it. An intensive programme of Covid testing is key as a major defence against new waves and new strains compromising our gains from vaccination.

I don’t see this changing for at least the next year and probably longer. The most likely scenario for the next few years is a continued arms race between new variants of Covid and vaccination. Widespread Covid testing is absolutely crucial in winning that battle.

03:37 PM

Brussels to see two-hour curfew tomorrow

Lockdown measures have been eased across Belgium, with outdoor eating and drinking ready to resume from May 8.

And though the nationwide curfew is set to be lifted this weekend, those living in the Brussels will still have to abide by it on Friday evening, meaning residents will be required to be home by 10pm but allowed out at midnight just two hours later.

In contrast, the rule will no longer apply in regions of Flanders and Wallonia.

Gilles Verstraeten, MP for Brussels, told a Flemish radio station that his "tolerance limit for such absurdities has reached its lowest point by now".

03:31 PM

More than 16 million people have had both vaccine doses

03:29 PM

United Kingdom: Latest Covid-19 figures

Britain recorded a further 2,613 cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, and 13 deaths, official data from the past 24 hours shows.

The daily case number was up on the 2,144 reported on Wednesday, while fatalities declined from the 27 on May 5.

On vaccines, a further 139,097 people were given a first dose in the 24 hours and 404,226 were given a second. In total, 34.93 million people have had a first dose and 16.29 million a second.

03:22 PM

When can I travel to Australia?

With the news that Australia will remain closed for most people until at least the start of next year, we answer all of the questions you might have about travel Down Under, including:

  • Am I allowed to travel to Australia?

  • Are flights to Australia operating?

  • How has Australia relaxed its lockdown?

  • How can I get a refund for my holiday?

Read more here.

Travel to Australia from the UK may not be possible until 2022 - Josh Berry-Walker /EyeEm
Travel to Australia from the UK may not be possible until 2022 - Josh Berry-Walker /EyeEm

03:12 PM

Comment: Why Madrid has rewarded the 'patron saint of the hospitality industry'

Writing from Madrid, where an anti-lockdown party – Isabel Diaz Ayuso's Popular Party (PP) – has won a landslide victory in the Spanish election, Fiona Govan observes:

From lamp-posts that line the streets and from giant billboards across the capital’s metro stations, is the smiling face of the woman who has made this state of semi-normality possible, the self-styled patron saint of the hospitality industry, Isabel Diaz Ayuso.

On Tuesday, her gamble paid off, confounding the international political consensus that lockdowns are overwhelmingly popular with the public and securing a landslide win for her conservative Popular Party (PP).

Traumatised by the strictest lockdown in western Europe, when for six weeks Spaniards were confined to their homes, unable to go outside even to exercise as the coronavirus raged, Ayuso’s determination to keep things open won support even from those who wouldn’t traditionally buy into her Right-wing political ideology.

Read on, here.

Isabel Diaz Ayuso -  AFP
Isabel Diaz Ayuso - AFP

02:55 PM

How to get a Covid test for your summer holiday

While huge question marks linger over summer holidays abroad, one thing is clear: there will be Covid tests.

Most countries require arrivals to show "gold standard" PCR test results, which are lab-analysed and generally provide results within 48 hours. However, an increasing number of destinations, such as Italy, also accept certain rapid tests which offer results in minutes and are usually cheaper.

Emma Beaumont and Benjamin Parker break down how the respective tests work and what to look out for when booking one this summer, here.

02:46 PM

Tour operator reports biggest day for bookings since first date of lockdown easing

Luxury travel operator Oliver's Travels has seen a surge in holiday bookings following positive press news surrounding the green list and traffic light system travel plans.

A rep told us:

Yesterday was Oliver's Travels' biggest day for bookings since 12th, April 2021 (after the first date of lockdown easing). They are up 70% on bookings compared to the last two weeks, with 40% of these bookings for predominantly UK destinations. A quarter of these bookings have been made for 2022, showing promise for the longevity of staycations.

As the traffic light news looks more promising day by day, yesterday European destinations saw a surge in bookings, with France up 21%, Portugal 20%, Greece 12% for July and August holidays, and with Spain making up 10% of bookings for June and October.

The remaining 10% of bookings were for Italy, Croatia and the Maldives.

02:33 PM

Nicola Sturgeon should consider easing restrictions sooner, says top scientist

Nicola Sturgeon should consider speeding up the easing of lockdown, one of Scotland's most eminent virus experts said on Wednesday after two-thirds of Scotland's council areas recorded no deaths from the virus last week.

Professor Mark Woolhouse, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh who has advised the Scottish Government on its Covid-19 taskforce, said that in light of continued positive data it is “worth having a look” at easing restrictions faster.

“The data are more positive than almost anybody anticipated when the roadmaps in both Scotland and England were set out,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

“To me, logic dictates that yes we should be considering the earlier relaxation of measures if policy is indeed to be driven by data not dates.”

Can I visit Scotland? Latest advice as self-catering holidays and cross-border travel resume

02:21 PM

Disney World ends temperature checks upon entry

Visitors to Florida's Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando will no longer be required to undergo temperature checks as of May 16, but the rule on masks for everyone over the age of two remains.

The park announced:

Since reopening, we have considered guidance from public health authorities, government agencies, and our own team of health and safety experts as we assess and update health and safety measures to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. We will continue to follow the guidance of health and safety leaders going forward and most importantly encourage people to get vaccinated.

Tickets must still be reserved in advance, with most of May already booked up.

Disney World -  Joe Burbank
Disney World - Joe Burbank

02:08 PM

The ‘green list’ holiday booking guide: Everything you need to know

Ahead of the announcement on which countries will make the green list, Emma Featherstone answers your questions, including:

  • What are the entry rules for “green” destinations?

  • Where do I get a test for my holiday, and when should I book?

  • How do I get my vaccine passport?

  • Could my destination change from “green” to “amber” or red?

Find the answers plus more, here.

01:55 PM

Thomas Cook boss: 'Med Holidays won't be more expensive this summer'

The CEO of Thomas Cook has addressed concerns that holiday prices will soar following the lifting of travel restrictions on May 17.

Alan French told Sky News today:

Hotel prices are probably lower than they've been. Airline prices are probably around par, maybe slightly higher than in the past.

The big unknown is the cost of the testing [...] we are working very hard with our suppliers to get that as low as possible. We are at £60 a test and we are hoping to get that lower through volume buys.

So I don't think that the price of a holiday in the Med this summer is going to be significantly more than it's been in the past.

If anything if you choose the destination correctly and book at the right time there's some fantastic deals out there.'

01:40 PM

Fake Covid vaccine cards sold online for as little as £5

Fake vaccine cards have been sold online for as little as £5, raising fears that some travellers could cheat Covid passport schemes.

Fraudsters on eBay have been charging up to £28 a time for documentation that claims to record a person's Covid vaccination.

The cards – almost identical to those given out by the NHS to people who have received jabs to protect them against the virus – can be customised with details to falsely show a person has received a specific vaccine and the date on which it was administered.

Read more about this here.

01:28 PM

Refresher: How will the traffic light system work?

With the Government expected to lift the ban on foreign travel on May 17, Greg Dickinson has this briefing on how the traffic light system will function:

  1. Green: Holidaymakers returning from green destinations will have to take a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of departure, and then pay for a PCR test on or before the second day of their return to the UK (even if fully vaccinated). They will not have to quarantine.

  2. Amber: Holidaymakers returning from “amber” countries will have to self-isolate at home for 10 days. Amber travellers will also have to have a pre-departure test and book and pay for two PCR tests on days two and eight of their home quarantine. If they want to release quarantine early, they can pay for a PCR test on day five (but will still have to take the test on the eighth day, as well).

  3. Red: British people returning from “red” countries have to quarantine for 10 days in government-approved hotels at a cost of £1,750 per person, with pre-departure tests followed by additional tests on days two and eight.

More questions about visiting Europe? Read on.

01:04 PM

When should I book my holiday?

As Britain waits to find out which countries will be green, amber or red listed, many questions remain – chief among them, when is best to book your holiday?

Our consumer expert Nick Trend advises:

It seems most likely that the later you travel this year, the better your chance of having a holiday free of restrictions. With this in mind, there have been plenty of reports of people looking to book for October instead of July or August.

That is quite late for guaranteed sunshine in Europe: if you do need or want to commit in advance then September is looking like a better month to combine green travel status with decent weather. And, if you have children, then the latter part of August is probably the best option in the school holidays. Nothing is guaranteed – last summer, those who travelled early got in before restrictions hit.

But if you are playing the odds, then later is probably better this year.

Read on for more: 7 ways to guarantee a successful getaway this summer

12:51 PM

Spain tourist arrivals slumped 76% in March

The number of foreign tourists who visited Spain in 2020 fell by more than 80% to a level not seen in half a century as a result of travel restrictions imposed globally.

Foreign tourism this March alone fell 76% from a year ago when a lockdown was imposed mid-month, data showed today.

Spain, the world's second most visited country before the pandemic, received 490,088 foreign tourists in March, down from just over two million in March 2020, according to the National Statistics Institute (INE). Compared to pre-pandemic March 2019, the number was down more than 90%.

Amid stricter travel restrictions in place with Britain, French tourists replaced Britons as the most numerous in Spain compared to a year earlier. More than 109,000 French holidaymakers visited Spain in March, while only 18,000 Britons came.

12:39 PM

Can I visit Portugal?

Portugal has moved a step closer to making the Government's 'green' list. Hugh Morris has everything you need to know about visiting this summer, including:

  • Am I allowed to travel to Portugal?

  • Do I need to take a test?

  • What are Covid restrictions like in Portugal?

  • Am I still covered by travel insurance?

Read the full piece: Latest travel advice as Portugal nears 'green' list

12:26 PM

HAL sets date to return

Holland America Line will restart its cruises in August, with four departures sailing from Piraeus (Athens).

The voyages, onboard Eurodam, are on sale from today. Passengers are required to show proof that they have been be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 at least two weeks prior to departure.

Harry Theoharis, Greece's tourism minister, said: "The Greek Islands have been welcoming Holland America Line ships for many years, and we are proud to work together to welcome the cruise line back this summer.

"We are sure that all visitors to Greece will once again have unique experiences to our beautiful destinations and fully enjoy the rich history, culture and gastronomy of our nation."

Eurodam will be welcoming passengers once again from August - Holland America Line
Eurodam will be welcoming passengers once again from August - Holland America Line

12:18 PM

Indonesia travel ban comes into force

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, has begun a domestic travel ban in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus during the Eid al-Fitr celebrations, when millions normally travel to mark the end of the Islamic fasting month.

According to Reuters, police officers have been deployed across the capital city of Jakarta to check documents and prevent travellers leaving the city if they haven't been granted an exemption.

A ban on travel by air, land, sea and rail was announced in April, and will be in force from 6 May until 17 May.

A traffic jam at Cikupa Toll Gate today - Indonesia Out via Reuters
A traffic jam at Cikupa Toll Gate today - Indonesia Out via Reuters

12:10 PM

Welcome to the new era of pop-up campsites

A relaxation of planning rules has spawned 300 pandemic pop-ups ready for holidaymakers stuck on home soil this summer, reports Hugh Morris.

Anticipating a surge of interest in domestic accommodation due to the uncertainty clouding overseas travel, the Government has relaxed planning permission rules to allow anyone to open up a pop-up campsite for twice the usual duration.

The extension from 28 days to 56 has quickly made running a campsite an attractive option for scores of gardeners, farmers and landowners.

Telegraph Travel has tracked down three such people, from a duck farm-cum-campsite to an exhibition stand designer who turned his skills to bell tents after the pandemic forced his business to close.

Read more: Duckling chaos and working farms – welcome to the new era of pop-up campsites

New Government rules encourage anyone with a bit of land to open a pop-up campsite   - Stitchpool Camping
New Government rules encourage anyone with a bit of land to open a pop-up campsite - Stitchpool Camping

11:59 AM

'As much holiday as responsible' says German minister

Heiko Maas, Germany's foreign minister, has told reporters that his country is keen to welcome back tourists this summer – if it can be done safely.

Speaking at a news conference in Berlin, he said: "I believe that people need a perspective. We want as much holiday as is responsible in the summer."

11:53 AM

Big drop in Spain's usual tourist numbers

Spain, the world’s second most visited country before the pandemic, was visited by 490,088 foreign tourists in March 2021, a drop from the more than two million of arrived in March 2020, according to data from the National Statistics Institute.

This is a 76 per cent drop from last year from a year ago when the country went into lockdown mid-way through March.

11:39 AM

In pictures: How much has the Lake District really changed over the years?

The UK’s most visited National Park celebrates its 70th anniversary this week. These photos show how the area has changed...

lake district - Getty
lake district - Getty
lake district - Getty
lake district - Getty
lake district - Getty
lake district - Getty

See the rest here.

11:18 AM

Where to find Britain's best 'urban wildernesses'

Dotted around the UK are urban jungles teeming with wildlife, serving bumper helpings of wildflowers and toppled timbers for the kids to stack up into forts, writes Joe Bindloss.

In fact, Britain’s cities overflow with pockets of wilderness. You’ll find nature everywhere, from reclaimed railway cuttings and waterlogged wetlands to the former hunting grounds of kings and bishops. City staycationers can have the best of both worlds, mixing museums and marshlands, nightlife and birdlife, gastronomy and green open spaces.

Seeking inspiration? Here are some spots for you to go wild in.

Edinburgh - Andrew Merry
Edinburgh - Andrew Merry

11:02 AM

Hungary cancels Sziget Festival in Budapest this summer

Hungary's Sziget, which organises some of the largest music festivals in Europe, said on Thursday that it had cancelled this summer's main event in Budapest and would instead make a "grand comeback" in 2022, Reuters reports.

The Sziget Festival routinely draws several hundred thousand visitors to an island in the River Danube in the Hungarian capital, with the Foo Fighters, Ed Sheeran, Post Malone and Macklemore among the star guests at the last festival in August 2019.

The company said the pandemic-related uncertainties over travel, accommodation and also the use of vaccination cards domestically and internationally have forced them to rethink this summer's festival plans.

"With sadness in our heart but knowing our responsibility, seeing all the uncertainty around [...] we have made a decision to prepare for next year's Sziget festival instead," said Tamas Kadar, lead organiser of Sziget, in a statement.

sziget - Sandor Csudai
sziget - Sandor Csudai

10:48 AM

Indonesia to ban travel during homecoming period at end of Ramadan next week

Indonesia's Eid al-Fitr festivities are usually accompanied by an exodus of workers leaving cities to celebrate with families, with as many as 20 million people travelling.

This year's ban starting on Thursday will last for 12 days exempting only civil servants, police and military officers, and those who need to travel for work.

Officials imposed the restrictions to try to avoid a repeat of spikes linked to religious holidays last year.

Indonesia, a country of 270 million and the world's most populous Muslim nation, has confirmed more than 1.6 million cases and 46,000 deaths from Covid-19, the largest totals in Southeast Asia.

10:39 AM

Plane engine burst into flames after engineer incorrectly refuelled aircraft

A plane flying from Gatwick to Stansted was forced to make an emergency landing when its engine burst into flames after an engineer incorrectly refuelled the aircraft, a report has found.

The maintenance worker, who didn't speak English as his first language, had added nearly 38 times too much anti bacterial chemical into the Airbus A321-211 fuel on 23 February 2020, investigators found.

Three days later, the airliner was forced to make an emergency landing after one engine caught fire and the other stalled resulting in it almost crashing near Gatwick airport.

The disaster may only have been averted because the 236-seat plane was flying light with no passengers and just seven crew in quiet airspace and in clear conditions.

Jessica Carpani has the full story.

10:30 AM

When will the holiday green list be announced?

It is unlikely that the green list will be announced today, since it is polling day in the UK local elections.

It is understood Government ministers are meeting today to discuss the traffic light system, and will have a further meeting tomorrow morning to finalise the list. It is likely that the list will be announced at a Downing Street press conference on Friday, which typically take place at 5pm.

Greg Dickinson has more.

10:20 AM

Search rush among British holidaymakers for international destinations

Britons are gearing up to book their summer holidays ahead of the unveiling of the traffic system, with search roaring for the Algarve, Gibraltar and Malta last week – all tipped for the 'green list'.

They’re also looking to stay longer on holiday, according to the latest data from Lastminute.com - with the average booking for Malta now for 7 nights rather than the usual average of 3-5 nights.

Andrea Bertoli - CEO of the lastminute.com group says:

We’ve repeatedly said we’re looking for a stable summer of travel news from the government announcements because we think it’s going to be a case of “I’m a holidaymaker - get me out of here” as 90% of our searches are for international destinations.

While we understand it is difficult for policymakers and we want to keep everyone safe, continuous uncertainty and u-turns do not help either the consumer or the travel industry. The only flip-flops we want to see should be on the beach. In order to give everyone peace of mind, we’d advise the government to select some stable routes and progressively add more destinations, rather than changing plans every second week.

Algarve - Getty
Algarve - Getty

10:07 AM

How will the new 'traffic light' system kickstart holidays again?

The ban on foreign holidays is nearing its end date of May 17.

When it does lift, it will be replaced with a three-tier traffic light system based on risk.

The Government is expected to reveal this week which countries will be on the green list, with only a handful set to make it.

Find out all about how it will work here.

09:58 AM

Snow in Scotland and the Lake District

Spring has taken a breather in Britain's northern quarters, and it's been snowing instead...

snow - Tom McNally/Triangle News
snow - Tom McNally/Triangle News
scotland - Reuters
scotland - Reuters

09:45 AM

Britain’s biggest tour operator slashes PCR costs for holidaymakers to £20

TUI has slashed the price of PCR tests by over half on the eve of the Government revealing its 'green' list of countries for holidaymakers.

Britain's largest tour operator will offer travellers who book holidays with the company to “green” list destinations a £20 deal for two tests; one a lateral flow to be used pre-departure back to the UK and one the gold standard PCR test for use on or before day two of their arrival back in Britain.

It is also offering holidaymakers travelling to “amber” list destinations a £50 packaged for one pre-departure lateral flow test and two inbound PCR tests for day two and day eight of their ten-day home quarantine.

Charles Hymas has the full story.

09:33 AM

Thailand says foreigners and expats will get Covid vaccines

Thailand has confirmed that it plans to include 3 million foreigners living in the country in its mass vaccination programme, which is still yet to kick off, amid concerns over the scope of access.

Opas Kankawinpong, head of the disease control department, told a briefing:

Anybody living in Thailand, whether they be Thai or foreign, if they want they vaccine, they can get it. No one is safe until everyone is safe.

Concerns among expatriates have been raised in recent weeks, with some venting frustrations on social media about a lack of public information, problems registering or confusion over private vaccine availability, according to Reuters.

Thailand needs to immunise about 50 million people to achieve herd immunity of about 70% of the population, based on estimates of 67 million Thais and 3 million foreign residents, he said.

09:21 AM

Grant Shapps: 'The sooner we can restart international travel the better'

Watch the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps discuss plans to revive overseas travel at the G7 Summit, below; pledging that when travel restarts, 'it will stay that way'.

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09:10 AM

'No hint' that any Covid variant can evade vaccine effectiveness, says leading scientist

It remains the only key reason to limit international travel for Britons – the threat of a variant that could render the jabs less effective.

But how likely is this to happen?

Sharon Peacock, head of the Covid-19 Genomics UK Consortium (COG-UK) and professor of public health and microbiology at the University of Cambridge, said, when asked whether a variant will emerge somewhere across the globe that is resistant to current vaccines:

We haven't seen anything like that to date, and the question you're asking is the million-dollar question in many ways, everybody wants to know what's the likelihood and when is it likely to occur, if at all.

What we don't know is if it is likely to occur. We know that as mutations accumulate in the virus, it can actually make it more fit in terms of avoiding our immune system, but the more mutations it accumulates, it could actually lead to a virus that is less infectious, for example.

Some people have predicted that a virus could emerge that is pretty resistant to vaccines, but we haven't seen any hint of that at the moment.

08:58 AM

The countries most likely to be on the holiday 'amber list'

Fewer than 10 destinations may be green-listed on Friday, with much of Europe to be put in the amber category, writes Emma Featherstone.

AMBER LIST COUNTRIES - Getty
AMBER LIST COUNTRIES - Getty

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday that putting a significant number of countries on the green list when overseas holidays resume would risk an “influx of disease”. He has been accused of an “overly cautious” approach by Conservative MPs and industry bosses after the European Commission proposed that fully vaccinated Britons could travel to Europe without facing testing or quarantine from as early as the start of June.

However, it is expected that fewer than 10 destinations will initially feature on the green list. The list is predicted to include Gibraltar, Malta, Israel and Iceland. Portugal and the USA have also been suggested as potential inclusions. They may well be rated “amber” in the first review. It should also be noted that the UK is on the USA’s “Do not Travel” list.

Read the full story here.

08:43 AM

'Great care' needed when travelling

Flexibility is needed when making holiday plans, according to Margaret Harris, spokesman for the World Health Organisation.

She told Sky News that people looking to travel abroad will need to pay close attention to where they are going and the situation there, and that "great care" is needed due to the speed in which Covid-19 can change a situation.

She added that people could find themselves stranded abroad if they are not careful.

08:37 AM

A snapshot of Europe

Gyms and sports centres are reopening in Denmark from today – to anyone showing a 'coronavirus passport' showing they're free of the virus, that is. Theatres and cinemas are also open, with a maximum capacity of 2,000 people.

A 'coronabike' mobile testing station in Berlin, Germany - Sea Gallup/Getty
A 'coronabike' mobile testing station in Berlin, Germany - Sea Gallup/Getty

News has emerged this morning that the pandemic has cost Air France-KLM €1.5 billion (£1.3 billion) in losses over the first quarter of this year. According to reports, the carrier expects to run half of its capacity until at least the end o

08:27 AM

New ship heads to UK shores ahead of cruise restart

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Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking Cruises has said he welcomes "the return of safe domestic cruises as an important component in the travel industry’s recovery"

“We are in a position to restart operations quickly and to start sailing again in May because we have kept our ships crewed during warm lay-up throughout the past 12 months. We have been implementing our additional protocols, including daily quick and easy non-invasive saliva PCR tests for our crew, for almost six months now.”

08:16 AM

Breaking: Tui to offer Covid testing for just £20

TUI is launching testing packages for customers costing from £20 per person for green list destinations, including a lateral flow pre-departure to the UK and a PCR test for day 2 upon arrival.

For amber list destinations, the price is £60pp and also includes the PCR test required for day 8 of the required self-isolation.

Customers will be able to order tests on a new booking hub, due to go live on Monday, May 8, an hour after booking their holiday.

The Government is expected to announce its traffic light system either today or tomorrow. Stay tuned for more as it happens.

08:05 AM

Australia's Covid current situation

Australia has to date recorded 910 deaths, 29,884 cases of Covid-19. Across the country, 111 new cases have been discovered in the past seven days.

Its vaccination behind is lagging behind schedule, with only 159,294 first doses administered; representing 0.78% of the population.

See more data from around the world via our Coronavirus Live Tracker.

07:56 AM

The 10 beautiful islands every Briton should visit

As Britain waits for its international borders to reopen, our experts have profiled 10 beautiful islands in the UK that should be on your travel radar; from the heights of Scotland to the southern edges of England.

Read the piece here.

skye - Getty
skye - Getty

07:46 AM

Tokyo governor says mutant strains becoming dominant

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said on Thursday that the number of new cases among younger people are on the rise and called on residents to further curtail their movements.

Mutant strains of the virus are becoming dominant, and fears are growing that the current surge could exceed the third wave that crested in January, Mr Koike said at a meeting of health experts.

Tokyo plans to ask the central government on Thursday to extend the current state of emergency, local media reported, citing unnamed officials.

tokyo - Reuters
tokyo - Reuters

07:38 AM

A third of New Zealanders want to postpone international travel for another year

New Zealanders remain nervous to plan trips abroad, even more so than their neighbours in Australia, according to new research.

Booking platform Expedia found that more than a third of those surveyed plan to put off international travel for at least another 12 months.

Nearly 60 per cent reported 'stress' around booking a trip overseas, compared to 47 per cent of Australians.

Australia and New Zealand have had a quarantine-free travel bubble since April 18, but New Zealand today suspended this two-way agreement with New South Wales following two new cases found in Sydney.

07:28 AM

Australia races to trace source of mystery case

Australian authorities were racing to track the source of a mystery Covid-19 infection in Sydney on Thursday, the first locally transmitted case in the city in more than a month, warning residents to brace for more cases.

Health officials are baffled by the case of a man in his 50s who tested positive on Wednesday, given he had no known links to high-risk jobs or people.

The New South Wales (NSW) state health department issued an alert naming more than a dozen venues visited by the unidentified man in recent days, including restaurants, cafes and shopping centres.

Tests on the man showed a higher viral load than typically seen in infected people, potentially increasing the chance that the man has spread the disease, the health department said. Considered to have been infectious since April 30, he was the first case reported in NSW since March 31.

Follow our live Covid blog for more.

07:23 AM

Exclusive: ‘Illogical’ plans to make vaccinated travellers take Covid tests ‘must be ditched’

The Government must recognise the vaccination status of British travellers and ditch “illogical” plans to force them to take tests, say the UK’s leading aviation and travel bosses.

In a joint article for The Telegraph, the chief executives of BA, Heathrow, easyJet, Manchester Airport Group and Jet2 say the “over-abundance of caution” by the Government is out of kilter with other European countries and threatens millions of Britons’ holiday plans.

They say it is illogical to require fully vaccinated British holidaymakers to pay £60 per person to take a PCR test when returning from a safe “green” list country judged by the UK to be low risk, with minimal Covid infections or variants.

Read the full story here.

07:16 AM

What happened yesterday?

A quick recap of the top headlines:

  • Holidaymakers could need paper Covid vaccine certificates

  • No test required for holiday to Gibraltar

  • Develop 'clear' rules for travel, G20 tourism minsters told

  • Tourism bosses call for extra bank holiday

  • Tests cost more than the average short-haul flight, says trade body

  • Jet2 brings forward Iceland flights to meet demand

  • Madeira to offer free departure tests to all visitors

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