I believe that if lockdown has taught us anything, it’s to take life more slowly; to explore locally and have time to stand and stare – and how better to do that than on a holiday afloat exploring Britain’s glorious inland waterways? If you’re hankering after the simple joys of canal life – the really relaxing moments – then leave the routes that tout one hundred miles and one hundred locks in a week to the macho types who equate the word “holiday” with “challenge”.
Who knows who may descend on you this summer – so here are a few dos and don’ts With many summer holidays in tatters this August, we’re having to embrace a plucky make-do-and-mend approach to travel, stitching together trips from home swaps and family visits. My parents have driven from Belfast to Yorkshire to see my brother and his family, and this week, further south to stay with me in Kent. Meanwhile, my brother Peter, an anaesthetist in the ICU at Bradford Royal Infirmary, is reconsidering taking his wife and kids for a two-week trip to France, in case quarantine laws change overnight (as with Spain) and he’s kept out of the wards on his return. As a Plan B – or perhaps I’m a Plan D, I’ll accept that – I’ve offered them a holiday at my seaside flat in Kent. I imagine this degree of holiday chaos and confusion is standard-issue across much of the UK right now, and we’re all having to get creative. I’m lucky enough to live in Margate, a resort town that, with its freshly pedestrianised pavements, pandemic-friendly al fresco cafés and miles of golden-sand beaches, is doing a pretty strong rendition of the south of France this summer. So as the nationwide game of holiday roulette gets riskier and riskier, with charter flights grounded, quarantine rules changing and infection rates climbing across much of Europe, I’m looking at a summer of hosting travelling friends on their have-a-go holidays. I wish I could say I’m a natural hostess, and as a travel writer who cares fervently and sweatily about people having a lovely time on their travels, you’d expect me to be. But I’m a professional holiday taker, not a natural giver. In fact, I’m a secret introvert, and one of those nervy Irish women who frets that guests aren’t having a good enough time, that my tea is weak, that my chat is weaker, and that everyone has noticed strange books or DVDs on my shelves and is gossiping about me. It’s a feeling of discomfort I can date back to my eighth birthday, so I can’t even blame old age. But this week, with my parents in Margate for their grand old summer holiday 2020, I’m honing my hosting skills. Here are my dos and don’ts for having friends and family over without winding up feeling like you need a two-week retreat in Bali to recover. DO selectively self-isolate My flat is a small one-bed, and being relegated to my own sofa while my parents take my bedroom, for a week, would turn me into Basil Fawlty in less than 48 hours. So I’m splitting my week between the spare rooms of two kind friends who live nearby. As I’m only in their homes to sleep, it’s not a major imposition (and anyway, impositions are fine in 2020) and having an hour to myself in the mornings and evenings will make all the difference. DON’T abandon your routine It takes a healthy dose of selfishness and rudeness to abandon guests and steal off for a Zoom yoga class. But I’ve learnt the hard way that these seemingly selfish routines are precisely what will keep me sane. Nobody cares if I vanish for a couple of hours; they do care if I’m snappy and stressed all day. DO delegate holiday planning duties Even regular activities such as visiting a museum or eating out generally require a bit of research now, and potentially a complicated booking process. There’s no need to do all the online admin yourself. Yes, Margate is my town, but Google is everyone’s domain. DO bring out your own bucket list Last summer, I showed so many friends around Margate’s Turner Contemporary that I knew the exhibits better than most gallery staff. This year, I see hosting family as a chance to work through my list of local spots I’ve never made it to. This way it feels like I’m having a holiday, too. DO plot a project Have you ever noticed that some of your best conversations take place over a shared activity, rather than sitting across a table? A psychologist friend introduced me to this concept of gentle “side-by-side” interaction versus face-to-face, and I’ve taken this and run with it, using it as a brilliant excuse to put my parents to work in my garden this week. So by the end of the weekend, my parents will have had a holiday in Margate – and I’ll have a revamped garden. Remember, responsible travel is all about giving back to the local community…
For those heading abroad this summer, there are certainly a few hurdles to overcome before you reach the beach. Whether it's your holiday destination being struck off the 'safe' list overnight, cancelled flights or turning up to find a closed hotel, there’s no doubt that booking a trip overseas remains a risk. An increasing number of countries, including Cyprus and Barbados, are also demanding arrivals present evidence of a recent negative coronavirus test, leaving holidaymakers scrambling to get a test and certificate declaring them Covid-free. Currently, free NHS tests (either at home or a testing site) are only available to those with symptoms of the virus and the people they live with, patients heading into hospital for surgery or residents of virus hotspots. So, if you feel well but need to prove you are Covid-free, then the best course of action is booking a private test. However, with so many companies selling online PCR tests, choosing a reliable and reasonably priced one can be a mine-field. Here, we break down how they work and what to look out for when ordering one. How do they work? There are two options: Ordering a home test kit or booking an appointment at a clinic. Most home kits will arrive within 24 hours and should be sent back the same day. They will then be analysed in a lab and you should receive your results within 48 hours – various companies have different guarantees. If your test is negative, you should then be sent a certificate declaring you Covid-free. However, concerns have been raised that, as there is no standardised certificate, they could be forged. Furthermore, it is not always clear how much information is required in each country. As the free NHS test results are just a text message and short email, there is no guarantee that border officials would deem this acceptable. Some companies, such as C19 Testing, ease fears with a watermarked example of its certificates online, which include the name, address and telephone number of both the laboratory and company, plus the passport number and date of birth of the recipient. Crucially, the date the sample was taken and processed is also recorded. When ordering a kit, it is certainly worth clarifying what will be detailed on your certificate. Tests at clinics tend to have a quicker turnaround. The Private Harley Street Clinic in London, which offers tests for £250, promises results within 24 hours and will issue a ‘fit-to-fly certificate’ at no extra charge. How much do they cost? This is where things get a little murky - a quick Google search reveals tests on sale for an eye-watering £500. There is no doubt that analysing tests and returning results in an extremely short window is not a cheap endeavour, but the disparity in pricing is stark. As a guide, there seems to be a pricing consensus around £150 for tests that return results within 48 hours, with steep rises for shorter time frames. Nick Burton and Dr Alasdair Scott from C19 Testing, which charges a relatively reasonable £119 for an at-home test, say that some are engaging in “exploitative pricing”. They say: “We are operating on thin margins, but as a collective of healthcare professionals, we are not looking to profiteer.” Dr Scott adds: “I wouldn’t be involved if the company wasn’t honest, transparent and evidence-based”. When choosing a test to order then, it’s certainly a good idea to look at whether doctors are involved and ensuring that the company uses accredited UK lab analysis. What happens if your results don't arrive in time? With some countries, such as Cyprus, requiring a certificate issued no longer than 72 hours before arriving, time is of the essence. C19 Testing guarantees that you'll receive your result certificate within 48 hours of receiving your swab in their laboratory, though it may well be sooner. Their lab “processes samples 24/7”, so it makes no difference when you order and return your test. For reassurance they say: “If we don't deliver on our guarantee, you'll receive a full, quibble-free refund.” For late-planners, a few companies offer same-day results. The London General Practice offers test dispatch 24 hours a day, seven days a week and promises results the same day – if swabs are returned by 7am. The service also includes a follow-up video consultation with a doctor though it is not cheap at £315. If Covid-free certificates are adopted by more countries, timing could become a real issue. Travel specialist Dr Richard Dawood points to destinations with “a very long or complex routing”, which may be rendered off-limits to British travellers. How accurate are the tests? There is some debate about the accuracy of home tests versus those performed at a clinic, as people could self-administer the test incorrectly. However, as the Government itself sends out a huge number of home tests every day, one would hope there is faith in the accuracy. Dr Richard Dawood says that test accuracy is “very good” and suggests that potential problems with the certificate system lie elsewhere, with timings and a potential shortage of tests. However, with any coronavirus test there is also the possibility that your sample might prove inconclusive. Private Harley Street Clinic say: “Sample failure is rare, but if this happens, the sample needs to be repeated which takes another 24 hours. If the second repeat fails again, a brand-new collection is required.” It remains unclear how quickly after exposure to the virus you might test positive. The NHS says the optimal time to get a test is within the first five days of symptoms, with less clarity on the pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic. It is not unthinkable, therefore, that you have your in-date coronavirus certificate, but then start showing symptoms on the way to the airport.
There is madness, there is hysteria and then there is the suggestion that travellers in France might soon, once again, be quarantined on their return to Britain. Oh, for heaven’s sake.
Belgium is officially off the FCO’s ‘green list’, meaning anyone arriving into the UK from the country, as of August 8, will have to self-isolate for 14 days. However, there is an exception for travellers who drive through Belgium, as many do from Germany and the Netherlands, to reach the UK via France. Provided the car makes no stops during the entire journey within Belgium, no passengers get out and no new passengers get in, then the occupants of the car will not need to quarantine upon their arrival into the UK, the Department for Transport has confirmed. This means that if you’re driving through Belgium en-route to Britain, you won’t be able to stop for petrol or supplies if you want to avoid self-isolation. It takes between two to three and a half hours to drive across Belgium from the borders of Germany or the Netherlands to reach France. The rules for driving through Belgium The FCO states the following for people travelling in private vehicles through a non-quarantine exempt country, including Belgium: If you do make a stop, you don’t need to self-isolate if: No new people get into the vehicle No-one in the vehicle gets out, mixes with other people, and gets in again You do need to self-isolate if you make a stop and: New people get into the vehicle, or Someone gets out of the vehicle, mixes with other people and gets in again Check for updates from the FCO regarding this here. Will my travel insurance be invalid while I’m in Belgian territory? It depends on the policy (they vary widely) and when you bought it. Fiona Macrae, head of Travel Insurance Explained, tells Telegraph Travel: “In order to return home to the UK, if you have no alternative but to drive through a country which has been removed from the FCO safe to travel list, and your journey started before the change of advice was issued, then should you have an accident, in general your travel insurance will offer cover for any emergency medical treatment required.” Broadly speaking, however, once a country has been removed from the FCO’s green list, you’ll struggle to get cover. But it’s not impossible; Oliver Smith explains how: How to get travel insurance should you choose to ignore Foreign Office advice What about the Eurotunnel? Many people enter France from countries including Belgium to use the Eurotunnel, in order to reach the UK. As it stands, France does not impose border checks on travellers arriving from Belgium, so you shouldn’t face problems crossing the line from Germany or the Netherlands. But this could change if France decided to restrict arrivals from Belgium in response to the rising cases. Make sure to check the French Ministry’s advice for foreign nationals page before you travel. Eurotunnel Le Shuttle is today (August 7) dealing with high call volumes following news that Belgium was removed from the FCO’s safe list, and stated on Twitter: “Phone lines and live chat are extremely busy at the moment. We have brought in extra staff to help our customers with their queries.” Eurotunnel is currently operating up to four services an hour from Folkestone to Calais. And since the UK lifted its restrictions on arrivals from France, it has proved popular. Late June saw the operator’s biggest day for bookings ever, with three times as many passengers securing a crossing compared to the same date in 2019. At the time John Keefe, director of public affairs at Eurotunnel, said: “Travel with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle is proving very popular as you can go from home to holiday without leaving your car: no crowds, no contacts, 35 minutes to cross from Folkestone to Calais and you are on your way.” The company is also offering refundable tickets, to reassure holidaymakers who fear last-minute border closures. Prices start at £72 per car for up to nine passengers. The Eurotunnel: what to expect when using the shuttle this summer What about Eurostar? Rail travellers arriving to the UK from services that include a stop in Belgium will have to self-isolate for 14 days, according to the Department for Transport. This means that Eurostar passengers arriving into London from Amsterdam will have to go into quarantine, since the route involves a change of trains in Brussels. Check Eurostar's dedicated coronavirus page for updates. What if France is removed from the FCO’s green list? There are fears that France could be the next on the red list due to a spike in infections; it recorded 1,604 cases on August 6, marking the first time since April that it saw more than 1,600 new infections on two consecutive days. If the FCO did remove it from the quarantine-exempt list, you would no longer be able to arrive into the UK from France via services including the Eurotunnel without having to quarantine for 14 days. For now though, France remains on the the green list. What if Covid-19 spoils my holiday? Key questions answered, from cancellations to local lockdowns
The Government seems determined to dissuade us from heading abroad this summer. Last month, after a spike in cases in the north of Spain, it announced that 600,000 Brits in the country – even those 2,000 miles away in Lanzarote – would have to unexpectedly quarantine for two weeks when they returned to UK soil. Now it is thought to be closely monitoring the situation in France, where cases are also on the rise.
In the African bush, safari tourism and wildlife have long enjoyed a symbiotic relationship, depending on each other for survival. The Covid-19 pandemic has dealt a devastating blow to the continent’s tourism sector, estimated to be worth around US$38 billion in 2018. Consequently, Africa’s vulnerable wildlife has been hit hard too. A new initiative, Ride4Rangers, led by UK Africa tour operators in partnership with conservation charity Tusk, of which Prince William is Royal Patron, is aiming to soften the blow – by getting on their bikes.
Scotland isn’t a country usually associated with overt displays of emotion. Taciturn grit is the de fault setting for myself, and my fellow Scots.
Overtourism has taken another scalp in the South West, having already made the towns of Padstow and Salcombe unliveable for locals and turned the beaches of Cornwall into Benidorm with drizzle.
Like many Aberdonians I woke up emotional and despondent facing a new lockdown, but while we're restricted to travelling a maximum of five miles for leisure purposes, there’s still a great deal to see, and to celebrate, in the Granite City.
You don’t have to strain your synapses terribly hard to understand the appeal of the so-called bubble holiday. The exclusive-use villa, the full-takedown hotel, the buy-out island, the private jet to get you there and back.
Little Belgium is a quarter the size of England and has one-fifth of the population, but it has the unenviable record of the world’s highest Covid-related death toll per capita.
Things have gone very quiet on the Brexit front – travellers and politicians have other things to worry about at the moment, perhaps. But last week I received an email from Carol, a reader whose husband suffers from a long-term illness and she is very preoccupied about Brexit indeed. The illness sometimes requires medical treatment at short notice and she is anxious that they will no longer be able to afford to go on holiday abroad, because the costs of insuring him will be so high. Her point was that currently they are able to travel in Europe without insurance cover for that specific condition. This is because they can rely on the reciprocal health – or EHIC – arrangement, which entitles UK citizens to medical care using the public health system in all EU countries, plus a few other non-EU members such as Switzerland and Norway. It’s an excellent and sensible scheme, and it especially benefits older travellers and those who are at higher risk of needing urgent medical care. I have warned that we may lose it as a result of Brexit but have clung on to the hope that it will be included as part of the final trade deal. The latest signals from Government are not encouraging, however. It is seeming more and more likely that we will end the transition period on Dec 31 without such a deal. A clue lies in a public briefing document published recently (gov.uk/visit-europe) that warns about the likely changes for travellers in several different areas. These include new arrangements for pet travel (the pet passport scheme is ending and four months’ notice will be required under the new system) and stricter requirements for passport validity and for border control. Not only will we have to queue in the slow track when we arrive in an EU country, but we may have to show a return or onward ticket and prove that we have enough money for our stay. The guarantee of free roaming for mobile phones is also ending. The only consolation the Government offers us on this is that we are protected from getting mobile data charges above £45 without our knowing. In other words, once you’ve spent £45 on data, your roaming will be blocked unless you agree to pay more. But it is the threat to the EHIC card which, I think, will be the greatest loss to some holidaymakers. Insurers tell me that if the scheme does end, the additional costs for standard travel insurance policies will not be especially high. As Carol points out, however, for anyone with a pre-existing health condition and all those aged over 65, the consequences could be very significant. For these people, travel insurance, if they can find it, can cost hundreds of pounds. And the option to buy a policy which excludes cover for a specific condition, in the knowledge that emergency treatment is available at no (or low) cost locally, will no longer be viable. Meanwhile, even the healthiest older travellers can expect increases in premiums at 65 and probably every five years after that. Whatever your view of the EU, it is hard not to concede that it has brought many benefits to consumers. The rules which protect our rights to refunds for cancelled holidays and flights, and which also protect our money in the case of a tour operator going out of business all stem from EU directives. Anyone who has gained compensation for a delayed flight can also thank the EU. These benefits are not currently under threat, thankfully, because they are enshrined in UK law. For all the posturing and politics of the negotiations, surely it is in all our interests to rescue as many benefits as possible from our membership, including the EHIC card. Let’s not bite off our own nose to spite the EU’s political face.
I have to admit, the idea of a ‘bubble holiday’ troubled me. Lockdown involved months of seeing the same four walls and the same (in my case) three people – albeit my favorite people. Would a bubble holiday not mean simply swapping our four walls for four different walls, and extending our bubble to include more of my favourite people, who presumably, once the novelty had worn off, would become just as irritating as the other three?
I should be in Greece by now. Instead I was turned away at the British Airways check-in desk at Heathrow yesterday.
Please note our writers visited Barbados prior to the coronavirus pandemic With its plethora of excellent restaurants and many hundreds of friendly rum shops, Barbados isn't a Caribbean island naturally suited for spending all day, every day of your holiday under the auspices of an all-inclusive resort. However, if you want a relaxing break with all meals and drinks and use of a host of facilities included, there are some enticing everything-included places to stay, both on the lively south coast and the quieter and more upmarket west coast. Here’s our pick of the best all-inclusive hotels in Barbados, from vast adults-only resorts to smaller to more intimate properties. Sandals Barbados, Christ Church One of the most popular adults-only hotels in Barbados for all-inclusive holidays, this Sandals property is situated on the developed south coast by the soft white sands of Dover Beach. The hotel is more stylish than one might imagine an all-inclusive hotel to be – for example, hibiscus and bougainvillea, waterfalls and poolside fire pits, mattresses in giant pods and swinging love seats all help create a romantic atmosphere, and one pool is flanked by elegant, candy-striped cabanas. Guests are mostly young to middle-aged couples, many from the UK, who come to luxuriate in the smart rooms, dine in a wide choice of high-quality à la carte restaurants, enjoy spirited evening entertainment, and make the most of access to the facilities at interconnecting Sandals Royal Barbados.
It wasn’t M1-style hitchhiking, the kind where you stand facing the traffic, 'Liverpool' scrawled on cardboard, holding out a thumb. Here, on the stray single road crossing the Isle of Arran, there were so few cars that the most sensible strategy was to assume you’d be walking. I was cold, wet and muddy, but that’s not the reason I remember the day so well. That trip to the west coast of Scotland, at the age of 15, was one of my first independent adventures, planned on my bedroom carpet with maps requested by post from the Scottish tourist board and a booklet from the Youth Hostel Association. I’d persuaded three friends to come with me, the only way my parents would rubber-stamp my plans. We left by train from Watford for the greatest trip ever. After running around Glasgow and the west coast, we ended up basing ourselves on the Isle of Arran that summer. The memories still make me smile, the seeds of a life in travel. We trekked, we swam, we made new friends. That day we were hitchhiking in the rain had begun in glorious sunshine. We’d planned to climb Goatfell, the island’s highest peak, but it was tougher than we expected and we ended up circuiting jagged summits and granite ridges, among heather and juniper trees. As the day rolled on, the clouds gathered, shifting from summer to winter in an hour, which is what everyone tells you about Scotland. It turned out to be a classic Atlantic squall with high winds and sheets of rain. The four of us started laughing, slightly hysterical, but that soon quelled into moody silence. It was still a long way on foot to our hostel in Lochranza on the north shore. A few cars passed us by, understandably. There were four of us, sodden, each carrying oversized backpacks that were also soaking wet. When I saw a Mini in the distance, I stuck out my thumb, almost as a joke. It slowed, before stopping. The driver was a young woman, just a few years older than us. “Pile in,” she said, with her warm Scottish inflections. I looked at the four of us. “Are you sure?” “Of course,” she smiled. “Water dries.” We squashed in, wearing wet Macs and muddy trainers, our packs squashed on our laps. “Sorry,” I said. “We’re messing up your nice car.” She shook her head, handing around boiled sweets, before giving us top tips on where to find the best chips, a sheltered spot to swim, her favourite pub, a good view of Jura. The windows were steaming up and she rubbed them with the sleeve of her denim jacket, pinned with badges, such as CND and Save the Whale; she was my instant hero. She went out of her way, driving us right to the door of our hostel. I can’t remember her name, but I will never forget her effortless kindness. She made me look forward to the day when I might have a car and give someone unpresentable a lift. Even before the coronavirus, hitchhiking was becoming less common among travellers, but it’s still one of the most elemental ways of moving around: asking a favour of a stranger, being awarded one. Arran was easy, it turned out. Texas was trickier. A friend and I travelling together had so many come-ons that we eventually flagged down only pickup trucks, allowing us to ride apart from the driver in the open air. One had a shotgun rack hanging in the back window. Yet some of my most joyful road trips have stemmed from thumbing a ride: San Diego to San Francisco for Fourth of July celebrations; chewing coca leaves from Sucre to Potosi, Bolivia; Cologne to Frankfurt in a soft-top; Nairobi to Malindi, Kenya, where the driver invited me to have dinner with his family when we arrived. But my most memorable hitchhike was in northern Laos after the bus I was riding broke down. Sitting cross-legged on the lay-by, a truck driver took pity on me and another traveller. We sat atop his cargo of rice till we reached the next town, five hours away, no money exchanged. That other traveller and I ended up continuing to Xishuangbanna together, in southern China. She and I stayed in touch for years, often talking about the driver who never knew he forged our friendship. It is surely for these chances, these experiences, that we travel and why we will travel again.
There's skiing for winter and seafood suppers in seaside towns for summer in the corner of Italy that "doesn't exist"
Every passenger and crew member on a cruise ship in Norway have tested negative for Covid-19 after a case was confirmed on a previous sailing.
Three weeks ago I packed a suitcase and headed to the airport to catch a flight to Ibiza. It’s a journey I’ve made hundreds of times before and it’s usually accompanied by the faint flutter of butterflies in my stomach. This time, however, they were caused by anxiousness rather than excitement. It was my first trip to the White Isle this year and my first flight since the outbreak of Covid-19 – so, as well as sunscreen, a face mask and hand sanitiser now formed key components of my checklist.
You will read no more obvious a statement than the following words – but the footage that emerged from Beirut on Tuesday evening was appalling. And in a very modern way.
Birmingham aparthotel Staying Cool at the Rotunda and fine dining restaurant Wilderness combine in this pop-up for the post-lockdown age
It’s been five months since a punter has walked through the doors of an Irish pub. Five months of shutters pulled tight, tills gathering dust and nonsense going un-uttered. After months of silence, the pubs across Ireland were gearing up to open their doors on August 10, next week. But on Tuesday it was announced that the grand reopening would be pushed back yet again, this time until at least August 31. To say that the news was met with outrage would probably be understating it. There’s something a little trite about saying the Irish pub is at the heart of every community. But it’s true. A pub is far more than just a place to sink a few pints – for many, particularly in the countryside, it may well be all you have (unless you want to hang out in the post office). The rural pub is a vital social lifeline. For years, I lived in a tiny village in the west of Ireland, where the same line of auld fellas would prop up the bar as soon as it opened each afternoon, just to have someone to talk to. There was simply nowhere else to go. The thought of those people with nowhere to turn, particularly after five months of solitude, is heartbreaking. And that’s not taking into account the publicans, who have lost a colossal amount of money since they closed on March 15, just two days before Paddy’s Day. They will be closed for at least half a year. And yet, no support package has been offered. The news also comes at a point where we, as a country, are getting pretty sick of our ever-confusing path out of lockdown. At the start, we were fairly smug at how it was handled – Ireland went into lockdown swiftly, and we had a good handle on the crisis from the get go. We did as we were told. We stayed inside. We supported our government, even when our then-Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was quoting The Terminator and Mean Girls during his televised addresses to the nation. But right now, it’s hard to keep track of what we can or cannot do. We can, technically, go to a pub – provided the pub in question serves food, we eat a “substantial meal” that costs at least €9 (£8.10), and only stay for 105 minutes. And that’s without going into the complicated distancing rules that change according to whether or not you pre-book a table (they veer so closely to a GCSE maths question that I can never quite decipher them). So that’s something, right? You can have a pint or three, so long as you order a hefty portion of flaccid chicken wings and don’t outstay your welcome. The only problem? A huge number of pubs in Ireland don’t serve food at all. At the end of my road, there’s a gorgeous, rickety old boozer that will make you a ham and cheese toastie (if you manage to charm the cantankerous landlord). But according to these rules, that’s not enough. If they wanted to serve anything more substantial they’d have to build an extension, because there’s barely enough room in there to squeeze yourself into the toilet cubicles, let alone whip up a stew. I get it, of course. The virus hasn’t gone anywhere, and the numbers here are sneaking back up. But those numbers have increased while the pubs were closed. That’s thanks in no small part to the house parties that have replaced pub culture over the last couple of months. Last week, it felt like half of Dublin descended on the house next door to mine for a gathering that would put Burning Man to shame. The music throbbed through the walls from 2pm until 9am the following morning, and a never-ending stream of people spilled through the front door like clowns from a Mini. The longer the pubs are closed, the longer parties like this will keep happening. I’m lucky – in my heart of hearts, I’m an old lady who loves nothing more than a 10pm bed time. But if I were a social butterfly, I’d no doubt be drawn to the parties that are raging across the city (I draw the line at the rumoured illegal raves, but I’m not cool enough to be invited to those anyway). What makes it harder is watching bars and pubs open up in other countries, seemingly without consequence. Seeing friends in London reconnect over icy cold G&Ts; or sinking pints in the pub gardens of the Cotswolds has been particularly painful. The longer our beloved pubs stay closed, the higher the chances that an increasing number of them will never open their doors again. This ruling is a death knell for an industry that’s integral to the social fabric of this country – and one that is already on its knees.
British holidaymakers who travel to the Canary Islands will find any Covid-related costs are covered by the regional government, should they contract the virus. The islands are included in the UK’s 14-day quarantine for travel from Spain and the Foreign Office advisory against all but essential international travel, a decision that has dealt a blow to the region's tourism-dependent economy. It is hoped that this new measure to pay any costs that Spanish or foreign tourists could incur as a result of catching the virus during an island holiday, including health expenses, accommodation fees and quarantine charges, will provide reassurance to potential visitors. “It will help the economic recovery of the archipelago,” Yaiza Castilla, the region’s minister for tourism, said in a video posted on Twitter. The travel policy, the first of its kind in Spain, will come into effect this week. It will be managed by the French Insurance company Axa and will run for one year. Health-related repatriation costs are among those covered the policy, but health conditions that were known ahead of a tourist’s visit to the islands are excluded. 'Our shared history goes beyond tourism': President of Balearics urges UK to drop blanket travel ban The inclusion of the Canary Islands in the UK’s blanket quarantine for travellers from Spain has caused much consternation, given their low infections rates – in the last seven days the Canaries have recorded 94 cases (4 per 100,000). Spain as a whole has saw 1,772 new cases on Wednesday – the highest daily rise since lockdown was lifted in June. The country now has 78 infections per 100,000. However, infections are mostly concentrated in a few regions. Catalonia, the region that includes Barcelona, one of Europe’s most-visited cities, has some of the country’s highest rates – 6,708 (88 per 100,000) in the last week. Both Germany and Switzerland have excluded the Canaries and Balaerics from their quarantine rules on travel from Spain, with the Canaries being some 1,360 miles from Barcelona. Around 600,000 Britons were caught up in the Government’s announcement on July 25 that it would reintroduce quarantine for travel for Spain. The decision came into effect with just a few hours notice in answer to rising infection rates. Spain was included on the Department for Transport’s original travel corridors list for quarantine-free travel, which was published on July 3.
Italy’s civil aviation authority has warned Ryanair it could be banned from the country over allegedly ignoring national coronavirus safety rules. The Ente Nazionale per l'Aviazione Civile (ENAC) accused the low-cost carrier of "repeated violations of the Covid-19 health regulations currently in force and imposed by the Italian Government to protect the health of passengers". "Not only is the obligation to distance passengers not respected, but the conditions for making an exception to that rule are also being ignored," it said in a statement. Airlines operating into Italy are exempt from running at 50 per cent capacity - to aid social distancing on-board - if they are able to meet other regulations. ENAC said Ryanair was failing to do so. If Ryanair continued to break the rules, ENAC said, it would "suspend all air transport activities at national airports, requiring the carrier to re-route all passengers already in possession of tickets". Ryanair, which on Thursday said it had restored 60 per cent of its original flying schedule for August, refuted the claims, describing them as “factually incorrect”. A spokesperson said the airline is “committed to the highest level of safety for our passengers and crew at all times”, adding: “The claims made in ENAC’s press release today are factually incorrect. Ryanair complies fully with the measures set out by the Italian government and our customers can rest assured that we are doing everything to reduce interaction on both our aircraft and at airports to protect the health of our passengers when flying Ryanair.” It added its procedures are in line with the “safety recommendations and measures set out by the Italian Government and also the European Safety Agency (EASA) & European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC)”. Ryanair said its safety measures included contactless boarding, limits to carry-on baggage, a reduced in-flight service and the mandatory wearing of face masks by customers and staff. The Irish airline said it will increase its flight frequencies throughout August, with more than 1,600 routes and over 11,000 weekly flights. It said it “encourages all passengers to observe the healthy flying measures it has had in place since mid-May, including the mandatory use of facemasks and a reduced in-flight cashless service”. This week website AirlineRatings.com said it was introducing a grading system for carriers and their compliance with coronavirus rules. The world's only safety and product rating website said it would award airlines a Covid19 "star" if it passed four out of six criteria: website information on Covid-19 procedures; face masks for passengers; personal protection equipment for crew; modified meal service; deep clean of aircraft and social distancing on boarding. Editor-in-Chief, Geoffrey Thomas, said that: "it was concerning to find that many airlines did not appear to comply with the COVID-19 agreed standards for protection of passengers and crew." It has not yet announced which airlines comply with its criteria.