Foreign trips risk 'screwing up' domestic unlock, says Grant Shapps

·27-min read
heathrow - REUTERS
heathrow - REUTERS

Loosening restrictions on international travel would risk 'screwing up' the progress made by the UK's vaccination drive, Grant Shapps has warned.

The Transport Secretary told Sky News that Britain must wait for other countries to 'catch up' on our inoculation rates before unlocking.

"I think most people agree we’ve got to be cautious," he said. "I am the transport secretary, I want transport to happen, I want international transport to happen, but I think most people appreciate that what we need to do is open up cautiously.

"What no one wants to see us doing now is to screw that all up by inadvertently reattracting the coronavirus into this country."

It comes as leading Government advisor Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the recently-formed UK Health Security Agency, today said the decision to reopen on June 21 was on a "knife-edge".

Scroll down for the latest updates.

04:41 PM

A recap of today's travel news

The main headlines:

  • EU expected to agree on easing travel rules

  • Travel boss: 'Govt. won't permit quarantine-free trips to Europe/US until late July'

  • France opens borders to vaccinated overseas tourists

  • International tourist arrivals down 83% in first quarter of 2021

  • Two-thirds of Britons to ignore Government advice on foreign holidays

  • Airlines demand support amid fears of summer fizzle

​Catch-up with the result below and join us again tomorrow for more travel updates.

04:31 PM

Hotel for G7 security and media shut due to Covid outbreak

The Pedn-Olva hotel in St Ives says it will "fully close" after discussing the outbreak with Public Health England, reports the BBC.

It’s understood 13 out of around 17 workers at the hotel are infected.

In a statement the hotel owners – St Austell Brewery – said: "We fully appreciate the inconvenience given the limited accommodation options available in the area at the moment but the safety and security of our team and guests is our upmost priority. The hotel will reopen once a full COVID-19 deep clean has taken place and we have the available staff to run it."

04:17 PM

EU expected to agree on easing travel rules

The European Union is expected to agree on Friday to let people who are fully vaccinated travel freely within the bloc this summer.

By July 1, the EU is set to introduce Covid-19 certificates that will indicate whether a person is vaccinated, has immunity from previously infection or has had a recent negative test.

Ambassadors from the EU's 27 countries are expected to approve a modified proposal from the European Commission that people who have been fully vaccinated for 14 days should be free to travel between EU countries. Just over a quarter of EU adults are now fully vaccinated.

Individual countries may decide to allow in people who have received just one dose. Restrictions for other travellers are to be be based on the degree to which the country they are coming from has Covid-19 under control.

03:58 PM

Princess Cruises announces themed sailings

Two of the Princess Cruises sailings departing from Southampton this summer will be themed: one will have a food focus, the other food.

John Torode and Michael Roux Jr will join a Culinary Stars voyage, which will run for three nights, departing September 10.

A Mind, Body and Soul itinerary on Regal Princess will include appearances from TV doctor Dr Ranj Singh; The Chase’s Jenny Ryan; and Church of England priest Kate Bottley. Ms Bottley has appeared on Googlebox and co-hosts Radio 2’s Good Morning Sunday. This three night sailing will depart on August 21.

03:40 PM

Fly direct to the Faroe Islands from July 1

Denmark relaxes travel rules from next month, allowing vaccinated British tourists to visit the green-listed Faroe Islands.

Meanwhile, from July 1, Atlantic Airways is offering direct flights from Edinburgh, from £308 return.

The attractions on offer, include:

The church in village Husar on Kalsoy - Getty
The church in village Husar on Kalsoy - Getty

The most remote James Bond movie location yet

The 25th James Bond film, ‘No Time to Die’, used the wild and rugged scenery of the Faroe Islands in the third and final act of the movie. Scenes were filmed on the island of Kalsoy. Populated by just 150 inhabitants, the island has twisting roads, deep valleys and the famous Kallur Lighthouse, perched on a steep cliff at the top of the island. It can only be reached by ferry or helicopter; you can now take the James Bond Sightseeing Tour and hike your way around the film locations, led by a specialist guide. The tour costs from £315 pp, including a tour of the film locations with a guide, ferry crossing, hiking around the film locations and a boat trip.

03:28 PM

Where's on the green list?

The Transport Secretary might be urging caution, but Britons are permitted travel overseas. Here's the full list of places on the green list with details of which are welcoming visitors.

03:02 PM

Celebrity Cruises' UK sailings to include Covid tests for all

Testing or vaccination will be part of Celebrity Cruises UK sailings when they begin on July 3.

All adult passengers on board Celebrity Silhoutte will require proof of a negative PCR test taken 24-72 hours before the time of departure.

Children aged 3-17 will need to take an antigen test at the terminal prior to embarkation. Both types of PCR and tests required will be paid for by the line.

Passengers aged 11 and over will be required to wear a face covering in the terminal and inside venues on the ship, in line with UK government requirements.

“These measures will provide guests with a speedier boarding process in a rigorously sanitised and socially distanced environment,” the line said.

02:43 PM

'It's gorgeous': Biden enjoys Cornwall's charms

Boris Johnson has greeted US President Joe Biden on Thursday in the English seaside resort of Carbis Bay, ahead of the G7 summit.

"It’s gorgeous, I don’t want to go home,” Biden said of the seaside view as he walked with First Lady Jill Biden, Johnson and Johnson's wife Carrie.

johnson and biden - Getty
johnson and biden - Getty

02:22 PM

UK travellers will feel 'safe and secure' in US

Scott Balyo, executive director of Capital Region USA, an organisation that promotes Washington, DC, Virginia and Maryland, welcomes the announcement of a new Atlantic Charter.

He said:

We welcome the announcement of the new Atlantic Charter and the ambition to open up travel between the UK and US as soon as possible. In 2019, pre-Covid our region welcomed over 2.4 million visitors and the UK was our biggest visiting market. UK visitors generated over $330,000,000 in visitor spend across leisure and business travel and the wider VFR segment. Destination DC, the Virginia Tourism Corporation, the Maryland Office of Tourism Development and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority have all worked tirelessly with tourism businesses from hotels and accommodation providers to attractions and experiences and food and beverage outlets to provide guidance on social distancing and covid safe measures in order to welcome back visitors.

We are confident when UK travellers do return to the Capital Region, they will feel safe and secure with the measures which have been implemented, and free to explore our beautiful landscapes, wide open spaces and diverse cities at ease – we cannot wait to welcome them back.”

01:58 PM

Wizz Air launches flights to Jersey

Wizz Air UK is launching flights from Doncaster Sheffield and Cardiff to Jersey.

The new services begin in July and will operate twice a week to the Channel Island with one-way fares starting from £17.99.

Owain Jones, managing director of Wizz Air UK, said:

The Wizz Air UK team is working hard to ensure that summer 2021 is not cancelled, by continuing to provide low-fare flights to the destinations that our UK customers love to travel to. After an extremely challenging year we know that our customers are looking to get away for some sunshine and relaxation. Jersey has it all: uncrowded beaches, natural beauty and rich history.

We are looking forward to offering our customers in Doncaster Sheffield and Cardiff, where we will soon open our new base, the opportunity to explore Jersey and the surrounding Channel Islands. The Wizz Air UK crew will be welcoming passengers on board our young and green aircraft to provide the excellent onboard service we are known for.

01:44 PM

'Quarantine-free travel to Europe and US won't open until late July'

Quarantine-free travel to the UK from mainland Europe or the US will not be permitted before late July, an industry expert has warned.

The reopening of travel had been "sacrificed by ministers watching their backs", Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said.

Mr Charles was among leading figures in the sector who expressed outrage when Portugal was moved to the amber list last week, as it meant no viable major tourist destination was in the green tier. Portugal and other countries such as Malta, Morocco and Grenada should be on the green list but decisions on restrictions were "highly political, not based on data at all", Mr Charles claimed.

But Mr Charles said it was his "clear understanding" that ministers "do not intend to open up travel to mainland Europe or the USA before the end of July".

He continued: "Ministers have fallen into line to protect their future careers and potentially benefit from an upcoming Cabinet reshuffle. And that means sacrificing the early opening of the overseas travel sector.Now thousands of jobs are at risk - as are some airlines and travel firms - because June and July will be lost in travel terms."

01:25 PM

A brawl and Covid officiousness – welcome to post-lockdown Britain

You can learn a lot about our nation travelling by bike through England’s south east, writes Simon Parker

simon parker with a fellow cyclist
simon parker with a fellow cyclist

In Southampton, a woman rushed out of a café to re-educate me: “you can’t put your bike next to that bus stop,” she said. “Due to Covid”. I didn’t have the energy to remonstrate, so I just gave her a dirty look and took my business elsewhere.

This slow-paced journey is allowing me to see the country open up in fine detail. I’ll pass through a small town where lots of people still wear facemasks. Then, a few miles away in another, no one does at all.

One restaurant will enforce the Track & Trace QR code sign-in as though they’re checking-in Noah’s Ark. Then, in the pub next door, there isn’t as much as a scrap of paper and a betting shop biro.

Read the full story.

01:10 PM

'Fantasising about holidays is my therapy'

The thought of a yoga break has helped Anna Hart through some dark days but it's not enough – we all need the anticipation of a good holiday.

yoga instructor and students - Getty
yoga instructor and students - Getty

Revelling in gleeful anticipation is the best way to extract maximum value from your holiday. Honestly, it completely justifies all those accidental £12 Negronis you spend on the actual trip, if you spent the previous month happily daydreaming about your fantasy hols.

As a young child, I kept a “holiday drawer” at the bottom of my chest of drawers, stuffed with treasures I was saving for future holidays: a pristine light-up yoyo, an unread copy of the Beano, a bottle of Penhaligon’s hand lotion, and other essential SAS kit items. When I needed cheering up after a rubbish day at school, I’d sift through my holiday drawer, imagining dazzling all of Paris with my yoyo skills, or reading my Beano aboard a yacht in St Tropez.

Read the full story.

12:48 PM

Two-thirds of Britons to ignore Government advice on foreign holidays

Meanwhile, two-thirds of Britons are planning trips abroad in the coming months despite Government advice, and will press ahead even if their destination doesn't turn green, according to new research.

Nearly a quarter of Britons have already booked a holiday to an amber-listed country, says insights agency Perspectus Global. Thirty-nine per cent said they needed to get away for their own mental health, while 27 per cent said they were fully vaccinated and saw no reason not to go.

It means the majority of those polled are willing to self-isolate for up to ten days following their return, and take at least three tests in accordance with the Government's traffic light system.

Separate research for Project Screen by Prenetics indicated that at least 16 million Britons are contemplating a foreign holiday this year, regardless of warnings against non-essential travel.

12:35 PM

Analysis: What's the chance of a UK-US travel corridor this summer?

The data suggests that the US should be green-listed now, but delays are likely until at least mid-July, finds Emma Featherstone.

Biden and Johnson are set to announce a new joint travel task force ahead of the G7 summit in Cornwall, with the group expected to report back next month. This could pave the way for holidays to our fourth most-visited country – British residents made 4.79 million trips to the USA in 2019. But when?

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, puts mid-July as the earliest date at which a UK/US travel corridor may be established. He cites the UK Government’s “bearish and quite inexplicable outlook” as one of the stumbling blocks, stating:

The UK and US have been in discussions about opening up travel since September last year and there has been little meaningful progress. A corridor for those fully jabbed should be opened up without any further delay. There’s nothing preventing that from happening. It’s time for politicians to deliver a reopening that would have a positive and major impact on families, the economy and mental health.

Read the full report here.

12:17 PM

The ultimate guide to experiencing the eclipse in the 2020s

Today saw a small chunk of the sun temporarily obscured from the UK during a partial eclipse – arguably not astounding. A number of total eclipses, however, are set to take place around the world over the next 10 years.

From Sydney Harbour to the Valley of the Kings, let Jamie Carter be your guide.

2017 - John Finney Photography 
2017 - John Finney Photography

12:11 PM

50 wonderful reasons to rediscover America – one for every state

Reports that Boris Johnson and Joe Biden will be holding productive talks at the G7 this week to resume transatlantic travel have suggested that the resumption of quarantine-free travel between Britain and America, perhaps in the coming months, offer hope.

Looking for inspiration? Chris Leadbeater has no less than 50 ideas to get you started.

11:43 AM

'UK has some of the toughest border controls in the world', says Hancock

Pressed on criticism of the Government’s border controls for Covid, Matt Hancock says “we have some of the toughest border measures in the world” and decisions are taken “based on the data, if that is what is needed”.

He cites the case of Portugal’s removal from the green list of quarantine-free travel last week, a decision that was “very uncomfortable” for holidaymakers.

“When you see a new variant then it’s incumbent [on you] to act”, he adds.

Our main coronavirus live blog has more from today's hearing.

11:28 AM

Inside the Cornish hotel hosting the G7 summit

Political leaders from the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States (plus delegations from other countries) are arriving to St Ives and Carbis Bay, which are known for their year-round butter-coloured beaches, subtropical flora and fauna, and crystalline waters. According to the summit's official website, Falmouth will also be a key area for the event.

The official meeting (June 11-13) will take place at the Carbis Bay Estate and Hotel which occupies 125 acres of the pretty coastal enclave with excellent restaurants, a superb spa, watersports, a pool and myriad accommodation options – including 38 stylish rooms in the main house, plus woodland cottages and beach houses, lodges and suites.

Take a look inside.

Carbis Bay
Carbis Bay

11:17 AM

Reader poll: Have you booked an amber-listed holiday?

Have your say:

11:09 AM

Mizzed off: Joe Biden and Boris Johnson's trip cancelled over weather

The Cornish weather has scuppered a trip by Joe Biden and Boris Johnson to a coastal beauty spot.

The two leaders were due to meet at Saint Michael's Mount, a castle on a tidal island off the coast of Cornwall, for their talks ahead of the G7 summit.

Reports suggested their wives, Carrie Johnson and First Lady Jill Biden, were also due to have a tour of the island while the leaders discussed issues including Brexit, the coronavirus pandemic and climate change.

Carbis Bay - AP
Carbis Bay - AP

A No 10 source confirmed the visit to Saint Michael's Mount was "sadly off due to the weather".

Weather forecasts for Marazion, the town closest to Saint Michael's Mount, suggest the trip would have been hit by a high chance of rain around lunchtime with a moderate breeze. The leaders will meet instead in Carbis Bay, the location for Friday's summit.

10:59 AM

WTTC: UK government must abandon the ‘failed and damaging’ traffic light system

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has called for an end to the UK's contentious 'traffic light' system.

Virginia Messina, World Travel & Tourism Council Senior Vice President and Acting CEO, said:

It’s time the government abandoned the hugely damaging traffic lights system. Consumers, airlines and the wider travel sector were promised a watchlist and three weeks’ notice of any changes from green to amber, and not just four days. It has been incredibly disruptive and costly for both Travel & Tourism businesses and consumers. It simply hasn’t worked.

What’s needed now is a watertight government policy enabling those who’ve been fully jabbed to travel freely, and not have to self-isolate on their return. Those who are not fully vaccinated should be able to travel with proof of a negative test, like what we are seeing in the EU. The travel sector needs this now if it is to survive this summer as domestic travel alone will not save the day.

10:50 AM

St Helena reduces quarantine period for arrivals

The remote island of St Helena has reduced the number of quarantine days from 14 to 10 days, it has been confirmed, in time for the arrival of a Titan Airways charter flight, which will depart London Stansted on June 21.

St Helena is one of only 11 destinations on the UK Government’s green list. Home to giant whale sharks, thousands of square miles of protected ocean and some of the best air quality in the world, the government has also pledged to become 100 per cent self-sufficient in renewable energy sources by 2022.

Inspired? Read our green list guide to holidays in Saint Helena

Saint Helena - iStock
Saint Helena - iStock

10:40 AM

G7 visitors urged to learn Cornish language

Attendees have been encouraged to sample both the local dialect and the local delicacies as they arrive for summit in Cornwall, reports Robert Mendick.

The thousands of international dignitaries, officials and journalists descending on Cornwall for the G7 summit will likely scratch their heads at the lack of a response.

Encouraged to practice their Cornish on arrival at the summit, they may be alarmed when they announce “Kernow a’gas dynnergh”, only to find the locals watching on baffled and bewildered.

Experts suggest no more than 200 to 300 people speak fluent Cornish but a briefing prepared for summit attendees implores “Why not have a go with some Cornish phrases and common words?” and provides a number of handy suggestions that include: “pennkuntelles” which means ‘summit’ (literal translation 'head meeting') and “Ledyoryon an bys” which translates as world leaders.

The handy guide also encourages the international visitors to sample “an iconic Cornish pasty” and try “luxury food brands” including Cornish Sea Salt.

Read on, here.

10:29 AM

How Kate and Will can transition from ‘tourist’ to ‘resident’ in Scotland

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are being encouraged to spend more time in Scotland to fly the flag for the Union, and help dampen enthusiasm for independence. 'Good luck with that,' writes Gavin Bell:

It will be a tough call in the realm of the hugely popular Nicola Sturgeon, unofficial Queen of Scots, following her party’s fourth consecutive victory at the polls on a platform of forging a nation of Bravehearts.

At least William and Kate have a head start in the Scottish stakes, having studied and fallen for each other at the University of St Andrews. They have a good idea what to expect from the elite academic milieu north of the border, but a few helpful pointers on how to blend in with a broader cross-section of Scottsh society might not go amiss.

For a start they should know that Scots are an inclusive bunch. Irrespective of their politics at heart they are socialists who like to get involved in community projects, and the exclusive lifestyles of royalty are foreign to them. The ‘man’s a man for a' that’ creed of Rabbie Burns runs deep.

Read on, here.

Edinbrugh - Getty
Edinbrugh - Getty

10:02 AM

Hancock defends border delays

The Health Secretary is facing a grilling from MPs on his handling of the Covid pandemic by the same committee that heard from Dominic Cummings a fortnight ago.

Matt Hancock has said that it would have made little difference if the UK had unilaterally closed its borders at the start of the pandemic:

The only way the world could have stopped this virus getting out of China is if China itself had stopped people leaving China. As soon as people were allowed to leave China to go to one place, then unless the whole world took action on borders - as they have done now - it would have only delayed (the spread of the disease) to a degree. That was the clear clinical advice.

09:52 AM

International tourist arrivals down 83% in first quarter of 2021

As widespread travel restrictions remain in place, the UN's World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) reports that international arrivals were down 83% in the first quarter of the year. It states:

Between January and March 2021, destinations around the world welcomed 180 million fewer international arrivals compared to the first quarter of last year. Asia and the Pacific continued to suffer the lowest levels of activity with a 94% drop in international arrivals over the three-month period. Europe recorded the second largest decline with -83%, followed by Africa (-81%), the Middle East (-78%) and the Americas (-71%). This all follows on from the 73% fall in worldwide international tourist arrivals recorded in 2020, making it the worst year on record for the sector.

However, the UNWTO Confidence Index shows signs of a slow uptick in confidence. Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili comments:

There is significant pent-up demand and we see confidence slowly returning. Vaccinations will be key for recovery, but we must improve coordination and communication while making testing easier and more affordable if we want to see a rebound for the summer season in the northern hemisphere.

09:38 AM

Comment: The mad mass of travel rules won’t keep me from a foreign holiday

Annabel Fenwick Elliott writes:

Thank you for your suggestion this week, George Eustice, that I shouldn’t travel abroad this summer “unless it’s absolutely necessary”. It is necessary, as it happens – for me and every other person in the country, all of whom deserve a decent break. Given that it’s no longer illegal to do so, I shall be escaping the mad nanny state that Britain has become as frequently as I possibly can.

Mr Eustice, the Environment Secretary, is taking a sojourn in Cornwall this summer. So is Matt Hancock, who had already jammily booked his trip by February, when the advice was still to hold off. Nice that our dear leaders can pay the overblown rates for their staycation, but I don’t envy them one bit.

Cornwall is rammed during the summer school holidays at the best of times – imagine what carnage awaits this year, when the thousands of families who would otherwise be on a package holiday in the Med descend upon our coast in lieu of any other options.

Read the full comment here.

09:25 AM

Booking stats: Britons continue to plan amber holidays

More evidence that holidaymakers are flouting Government advice on foreign travel. Oliver Bell, Co-founder of Oliver's Travels tells us:

Oliver’s Travels has still seen a steady flow of new bookings despite the traffic light system putting all of the destinations that we serve onto the amber or red list, with the exception of the UK. Consequently, we are actually 40% up on bookings compared to the same period in 2019, and 60% of those new bookings are for destinations currently on the amber list.

It’s clear that the majority of our customers are either hoping that their destinations go green before the summer holidays or are prepared to accept the minimum of 5 days self-isolation on their return. Another interesting trend we have seen is that people are spending considerably more on their summer holiday than they were over the same period in 2019 – our average order value is 57% higher as a result.

09:13 AM

Watch live: Solar eclipse seen around the world

The UK is enjoying its first solar eclipse in more than six years as the sun is partially covered by a New Moon.

Watch it live below...

08:59 AM

'Resuming travel to the US will jumpstart the travel industry in its hour of greatest need' – industry boss

News that Boris Johnson and Joe Biden will be holding productive talks today to resume transatlantic travel "could be the lifeline the travel industry has been grasping for," says Steve Norris, MD of Flight Centre:

Over the past few months, the USA has consistently been Flight Centre’s second most popular destination for enquiries and bookings, beaten only by Australia, where the company has its roots. Resuming travel to the US will jumpstart the travel industry in its hour of greatest need; the USA has a strong vaccine record with cases falling steadily over the past few months, so we’re excited that meaningful talks between the countries’ two leaders could get travel back on the books in a safe and secure manner.

At Flight Centre, we’ve heard countless stories of families and friends dreaming of their post-COVID reunion and we’re now one step closer to helping them out on their way to that happy day.

08:45 AM

Australian states on alert after couple breach lockdown

Two Australian states are on Covid alert after an infected woman and her husband travelled from Victoria, a state in lockdown, through the states of New South Wales and into Queensland, visiting dozens of sites along the way.

Authorities in New South Wales and Queensland are rushing to trace close contacts and locate virus hotspots. The couple may face criminal charges for breaching Covid border restrictions.

The 44-year-old woman tested positive for coronavirus once in Queensland, authorities said late on Wednesday, and her husband has since tested positive.

Queensland state Health Minister Yvette D'Ath told reporters in Brisbane on Thursday that the couple's tests suggested they were likely at the end of their infectious period.

08:36 AM

Lockdowns 'single biggest public health mistake in history'

Lockdowns will be seen as the "single biggest public health mistake" in history, a Stanford professor has warned.

Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine, told The Telegraph's Planet Normal podcast that there have been "enormous collateral consequences" of keeping people inside and isolating them from their loved ones during the pandemic.

The epidemiologist believes many scientists have clung onto the perceived effectiveness of lockdowns, and they "remain attached" to the idea despite the "failure of this strategy".

Read the full story.

08:06 AM

Prepare for the partial solar eclipse!

The whole of the UK will see its first solar eclipse in more than six years during the morning of Thursday June 10, when the sun will be partially covered by a New Moon.

Get your eclipse goggles at the ready... - Getty
Get your eclipse goggles at the ready... - Getty

Lasting a couple of hours, the celestial event will be easy to see in clear skies by anyone with solar eclipse glasses – or even a kitchen colander.

Here's everything you need to know about today's partial solar eclipse.

07:58 AM

‘We can’t wait until everything is back to normal’: How G7 shattered hotel’s oasis of calm

World leaders take precedence as the Tregenna Castle Resort has been spruced up for the arrival of Joe Biden and others attending Cornwall summit, reports Catherine Pepinster:

Most had assumed until recently that not only would the summit meetings be held at the Carbis Bay Hotel but also that the leaders would enjoy rest and recuperation there.

But instead some are staying a few minutes away at Tregenna Castle, built in the 18th century and converted to a hotel by the Great Western Railway in 1878 to accommodate the holidaymakers brought to St Ives by train.

The venue certainly has five-star grounds, with its golf course, croquet lawn, tennis courts and pools, but inside it is not so much World of Interiors, more Ideal Home.

Read on, here.

Tregenna - TripAdvisor
Tregenna - TripAdvisor

07:49 AM

Travel testing firms' kits cost twice as much as advertised

Travel testing firms have been accused of overcharging holidaymakers after advertising kits for up to half the price that the customer actually had to pay.

An investigation by Which?, the consumer group, found three of the cheapest firms on the Government’s website claimed to provide tests for as little as £60 when they actually cost twice as much.

The companies have now amended their prices, dropping them out of the top ten cheapest firms on the Department of Health and Social Care’s website.

Which? also uncovered test providers listed on the government’s website that were not actually offering testing services at the time they were listed.

Charles Hymas has the story.

07:38 AM

Airlines demand support amid fears of summer fizzle

Airlines based in Britain have told the government they will need industry-specific support to help them survive if Covid rules continue to keep travel markets shut.

Companies including British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair are in a deepening crisis after Britain's plans to restart travel on May 17 following an almost five-month ban on foreign holidays fell far short of their hopes.

Britons are still discouraged from travelling to most countries, and since the May reopening, the government has tightened the rules, removing one of the few destinations that was open, Portugal, from a safe travel list.

As July and August approach, the months when airlines make most of their profits, there are worries the summer season may be lost for a second year in a row, risking airline viability and jobs.

07:29 AM

France opens borders to vaccinated overseas tourists

After "a very bad year", Paris tour operator Marc Vernhet sees a ray of light with the promised return of tourists from the United States and elsewhere who are welcome in France as of Wednesday if they have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

His agency, 2CVParisTour.com, is starting to get bookings again from Americans for its sightseeing tours conducted in quirky, bug-eyed Citroen cars. June is still very lean, but July is looking better, Mr Vernhet said as France took the first steps toward rebuilding its position as a top destination for foreign tourists.

Before the pandemic, Mr Vernhet ran three or four tours of the capital per day. The work dried up when France locked down, and he's only doing around three tours per week now, almost exclusively for French visitors.

To be allowed in for tourism, Americans and other visitors from most countries outside of Europe will need to show that they have been fully inoculated against the coronavirus with vaccines approved by the European Union's medicines agency.

07:19 AM

What happened yesterday:?

A quick recap of the top headlines:

  • BA and Ryanair investigated over refunds

  • US eases travel rules for over 100 countries and territories – but not the UK

  • 'Shambolic' Covid rules stop Scottish passengers getting off cruise ship in Scotland

  • Your questions about overseas holidays answered

  • France reopens to vaccinated travellers

  • A year into holiday quarantine – when will this nightmare end?

Now, let's get on with today's news...

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