What the new tier system means for getaways The 23 countries you can (feasibly) visit after lockdown How to get a Covid test for your holiday Can you travel between tiers at Christmas? Sign up to the Telegraph Travel newsletter It's official: lockdown 2.0 is over, and Britons are once again allowed to go on holiday. The Government's contentious new Tier system comes into motion today, and while that means the vast majority of regions in England are now subject to Tier 2 or Tier 3 regulations, many of us can travel again; both domestically and abroad. Hotels and self-catering accommodation in England can reopen for leisure purposes in tiers 1 and 2, so long as you follow your regional rules, opening the door to staycations again. You may also now leave the country, and there are several destinations that have travel corridors, meaning you won't have to quarantine upon your return. Those in Tier 3, alas, are advised against all 'non-essential travel'. There are however three English regions in the lowest Tier 1 category: Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. In other news today, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has now been approved for use in the UK, Heath Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed, paving the way for mass vaccination to start as early as next week. Scroll down for the latest news.
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Tests show the University of Oxford coronavirus vaccine produces a strong immune response in older adults and scientists hope results will be ready by Christmas. In a 'rolling review' designed to speed up the process, the Oxford team have given regulators access to information to assess before they produce a final clinical data set, according to Prof Sarah Gilbert, lead researcher of Oxford’s vaccine development programme. The vaccine, named ChAdOx1 nCov-2019, has been shown to trigger a robust immune response in healthy adults aged 56-69 and people over 70. Phase three trials of the vaccine are ongoing, with early efficacy readings possible in the coming weeks. Despite this, however, Oxford’s scientists said they would not rush to publish the results of their efficiency trial, after the chair of the Oxford vaccine group, Professor Andrew Pollard, declared they were not in competition with the Pfizer and Moderna, who released their promising results last week, which were around 95 per cent effective. “We are not in a rush,” the professor shared. “It’s not a competition with the other developers. We’re trying to make sure we have very high quality data, working with other partners in other countries. When it’s ready is when we will publish the interim results.” Professor Pollard’s comments come after expectations that 100m doses of the Oxford vaccine, ordered by the UK authorities, would be available for Christmas. This would be enough to vaccinate most of the population - should it receive regulatory approval.
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A new scientific study has shown that mouthwash can eradicate coronavirus within 30 seconds of being exposed to it in a laboratory. The Cardiff University report said that preliminary results show mouthwashes containing at least 0.07 per cent cetypyridinium chloride (CPC) showed “promising signs” of being able to combat the virus. Scientists must now look at whether mouthwashes have the potential to work in people, with a new clinical trial set to look at whether using over-the-counter mouthwash has the potential to reduce the levels of Covid-19 in a patient’s saliva.
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Commuters could face a chilly winter on trains as the industry is set to recommend windows are kept open to prevent the spread of coronavirus. This is despite concerns being raised by scientists that coronavirus 'likes' lower temperatures and could have an impact on the severity of symptoms. Evidence has shown that whilst ventilation is important, there was a decrease in the severity of symptoms in the UK as temperatures rose in the summer months. Rail bosses are set to announce the measure in a bid to reassure commuters that trains are safe after seeing a decline of 400 million passengers during lockdown. Ali Chegini, a director at the Rail Safety and Standards Board, said: “Even though it’s cold, even though you have to wrap up and put woolly socks on, it’s better to keep windows open than to be exposed to the risk of infection.” He said four in every five trains had ventilation systems called HVAC, and that even if the windows do not open "moving air is better than not moving air in enclosed spaces." Mr Chegini admitted that although the aim was not to "get everybody back on the train,” he said that: "If you need to be back at work and you've got a choice between road and rail, road is not the panacea that was originally, without justification, put out there." This idea is due to be approved at Tuesday’s meeting of the Rail Delivery Group, where it could become mandatory for windows to be kept open during journeys and for carriage doors to be opened at stations to aid airflow. Whilst improved ventilation will go some way to reassure passengers, in July government scientists decided that coronavirus spreads fastest at 4ºC amid the mounting concern over the threat of a winter resurgence. A senior member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said Covid-19 “likes” four degrees best - “it survives well at four degrees [celsius]”. Scientists are also understood to be increasingly confident that countries with temperate climates and with relatively severe flu seasons, such as Britain, will also be affected worse by Covid-19 in winter. The maximum capacity of trains has dropped by between 45 and 50 per cent, with social distancing rules driving a loss in ticket revenue estimated at £700m a month. Last month the standards board estimated that a passenger on a train where half of the seats were occupied could take 19,765 journeys without infection if they wore a mask. The board has since revised these figures following risking infection and swab testing to say a passenger could take 5,000 coronavirus-safe trips on average. This follows worries over air conditioning units reintroduced air back into rooms, potentially spreading coronavirus in enclosed spaces. Earlier this year, experts told the Telegraph that air conditioning units that do not have a “dedicated source of outside air supply into a room… could be responsible for recirculating and spreading airborne viral particles into the path of socially distanced users”. Dr Shaun Fitzgerald, a fellow at the Royal Academy of Engineering, said that even when using air conditioning units opening a window would be the best way to mitigate risk of infection. Huw Merriman, chairman of the Commons transport select committee, said: "Hospitality and leisure businesses in cities are dying because we have not got commuters. Commuters are a hardy, stoic bunch, but we are also considerate. You only get confidence if you are realistic with the rule set and then people aren't seen to breach anything." Susie Homan, a director at the Rail Delivery Group, said: "Hundreds of swab tests have been carried out so far showing no sign of Covid-19 on trains or stations and there are no reports of people getting the virus on the rail network." The Department for Transport said it was researching "the risk of Covid-19 transmission on public transport [and] evaluating how to attract passengers back on to the railways at the right time." Britain’s coronavirus-hit train network issue due to coast ministers up to £12 billion of taxpayers money following the scrapping of rail franchises.