Foreign cruise ban to be lifted from August 2

·30-min read
cruise ship - Getty
cruise ship - Getty

British holidaymakers will be able to take international cruises in line with Foreign Office advice as part of changes to England’s overseas travel rules next week, the Government has confirmed.

Non-domestic cruises on ocean going ships have effectively been out of reach for most UK travellers since March 2020 when the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) first issued an advisory against travel via a cruise ship. Cruise lines have resumed voyages in a number of destinations, but the lifting of the Foreign Office ban will enable travellers to secure travel insurance more easily.

Other changes announced as part of the second Global Travel Taskforce review include the lifting of quarantine for fully vaccinated US and EU citizens arriving in England, which will come into effect on August 2.

Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, said in a Government statement: “We’ve taken great strides on our journey to reopen international travel and today is another important step forward."

A statement from the Department for Transport also confirmed: “Following the close monitoring of epidemiological evidence, gained through the restart of the domestic cruise industry earlier this year, the UK government has also confirmed the go ahead for international cruise sailings to restart from England in line with Public Health England guidance. International cruise travel advice will be amended to encourage travellers to understand the risks associated with cruise travel and take personal responsibility for their own safety abroad.”

Scroll down for the latest travel updates.

05:01 PM

The five stories from today you need to know about

Good evening, that’s it from us. The big stories today were, of course:

  • Travellers from the US and EU no longer required to quarantine in UK

  • Calls grow for reciprocal agreement with US over quarantine

  • Cruise lines celebrate lifting of FCDO ban

  • Snowdonia slate landscape made Unesco heritage site

  • Norway postpones end to lockdown again

04:46 PM

Which countries remain on the red list?

04:35 PM

'Customers eager to plan cruises beyond UK shores'

Saga Travel has said today's news brings much-needed clarity to British holidaymakers.

CEO Nick Stace said:

"We are pleased that the Government has confirmed that restrictions will lift on international cruising. The entire cruise industry has been working closely with Government to reach this point and it is a huge boost to receive the news that we will once again be able to welcome guests on non-domestic voyages.

“Ensuring the safety of our guests and crew is our number one priority and we've worked tirelessly to create the safest possible environment on-board our ships. Our customers have been eagerly awaiting certainty from Government so they can plan their cruises beyond UK shores and today’s news will give them the clarity they need to do that.”

04:13 PM

Hurtigruten to resume international cruises next month

Cruise line Hurtigruten has published its latest restart dates to coincide with the lifting of cruise restrictions.

Anthony Daniels, general manager, said: "The return of international cruise is very welcoming news for the entire cruise industry, which has been working closely with governments, health authorities, ports and communities over the past year and a half to develop an even safer cruise experience."

He said his line's restart dates were thus:

  • MS Otto Sverdrup: Hamburg - North Cape, Norwegian fjords summer expedition, August 24 2021

  • MS Maud: Dover – North Cape, Norwegian fjords, Arctic expedition, September 22nd 2021.

  • MS Fram: Antarctica, Oct/Nov 2021

  • MS Roald Amundsen: Antarctica, Oct/Nov 2021

  • MS Fridtjof Nansen: Antarctica, Oct/Nov 2021

  • MS Santa Cruz II: Galapagos, January 2022

  • MS Nordstjernen: Svalbard, May 2022

  • MS Spitsbergen: Arctic, Spring 2022

Hurtigruten is wasting no time in returning to international waters - Hurtigruten 
Hurtigruten is wasting no time in returning to international waters - Hurtigruten

03:57 PM

Reduce cost of testing and add more countries to the green list, says Abta

Abta, the travel association, has welcomed the resumption of international cruising but called on the Government to work hard to reduce the cost of testing.

A spokesperson said:

“We need to see the Government make further progress on making testing more affordable and proportionate, and we need to see more destinations added to the Green list at next week’s review.

“We are still seeing other countries reopen more quickly than the UK and we need to capitalise on the success of the vaccine rollout by getting our international travel industry moving again."

03:37 PM

Spotlight: Have cases in the US fallen?

03:20 PM

'When will the US reciprocate," asks Willie Walsh

Willie Walsh, the former head of British Airways and current director general of IATA, has welcomed the new quarantine rules for US and EU travellers arriving in the UK but has called for the easing to be extended to other countries.

He said:

“Recognising vaccinated travelers from the US and Europe is a positive, logical and long-overdue development. Along with restoring the individual freedom to reconnect and the ability of businesses to operate in global markets, it will help rescue livelihoods in the travel and tourism sector.

"Today’s announcement is an important step in the UK’s recovery. But it also raised questions about next steps on the road to restoring UK connectivity. Why is the scope restricted to US and EU instead of open to all those who have been vaccinated? Why are travelers forced to test twice, the second time using expensive PCR tests? What’s the plan to enable unvaccinated people who have tested negative to travel without quarantine? And when will the US reciprocate?"

03:01 PM

'Dear Americans and Europeans, we might complain sometimes, but we've missed you'

The UK will soon open up to foreign arrivals – we should welcome them with open arms, writes Greg Dickinson.

For some, the inbound tourism pause has been something of a relief. The thought of tourists comes with associations of oft-ignored multilingual ‘drive on the left’ signs, overcrowded honeypot villages and the dreaded tour group coaches, unleashing their loads as they please. As somebody who works in an office in the Ellis Island of the UK (London Victoria), I must say the absence of the lost-looking wheelie-bag brigade has made things slightly more tranquil.

But the fact is that we have become a poorer country without our dear international friends, spiritually and literally. In 2019, more than 40 million tourists came to the UK. They spent £28.5 billion. Tourism is our third biggest export and it has been put on hold. To reignite inbound tourism will have a mammoth effect on our economy, and this was no doubt front and centre of Rishi Sunak’s mind when he voted through this proposal at a time when Covid-19 cases appear to be dropping.

This will be a moment of relief for British businesses reliant on foreign visitor footfall. Kate Nicholls, CEO of UK Hospitality stresses the economic importance of arrivals. “Foreign visitors spend more in hospitality when they stay here than all of our food and drink exports combined,” she told the Telegraph.

Read the full story.

02:46 PM

International cruise restart 'very good news for the industry'

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has welcomed the Government’s announcement that cruise lines can once again operate international sailings.

Andy Harmer, CLIA Managing Director for UK & Ireland, said:

The decision to allow the restart of international cruise is very good news for the industry. The success of this summer’s round Britain cruises has led the way.

The cruise industry has worked intensively during the last 18 months in collaboration with the Government, health authorities, ports, and other industry bodies to develop enhanced protocols that protect guests, crew, and the destinations we visit.

The industry looks forward to welcoming guests back onboard to visit international destinations.

02:38 PM

Which countries are on the amber list?

Most European countries are on the amber list, as is the US. Fully vaccinated Britons can already return from amber destinations without facing self-isolation. Double-jabbed EU and US citizens will also be able to visit England quarantine-free from August 2.

Here's the full amber list, and rules for travel.

02:32 PM

Double-jabbed EU and US citizens will need to follow England's testing protocols

Fully vaccinated EU and US travellers arriving in England will, like double-jabbed Britons, be exempt from self-isolation.

However, they will still need to secure a negative test before arrival and take a day 2 PCR test, Grant Shapps confirmed on Twitter. This also continues to be the case for immunised Britons returning from amber or green-listed countries.

vv

02:25 PM

P&O and Cunard 'delighted' that international cruises can resume

P&O Cruises and Cunard are among the cruise lines welcoming the Government’s announcement that international cruising can resume from the UK.

P&O's international cruise holidays are set to start from September 25 and Cunard's international cruises will begin in October.

Simon Palethorpe, president of Carnival UK (which owns the two lines), said: “We are delighted that the work done by the cruise industry over the past 18 months has been recognised and we are now able to resume international cruising. Whilst our guests are so pleased to be back on board for the current series of UK coastal cruises there is certainly demand to travel abroad with us, knowing they have the reassurance of our health protocols.

“It has been an exceptionally difficult and challenging time for the global cruise industry but this news marks the beginning of a new start and one which will be welcomed by our crew, our guests and the UK economy.”

02:10 PM

Quarantine exemption extended to Norway and Switzerland

More countries have been included in the Government's quarantine exemption for fully-vaccinated US and EU travellers.

People travelling to England from Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein - all members of the European Free Trade Association - as well as those coming from Andorra, Monaco and Vatican City, will also be included in the quarantine exemption if double-jabbed.

01:53 PM

BA: Now is the time to secure the reopening of the UK-US travel corridor

British Airways has also issued a comment on the Government’s update to international travel rules.

Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO said:

Our own trials have proved its quick and easy to check travellers are fully vaccinated and can safely enter the UK, and this step will allow us to reunite loved ones and get Global Britain back in business, giving the economy the vital boost it so badly needs.

With the UK’s Covid cases falling while vaccinations continue to rise, now is the time for the Government to help secure the re-opening of the crucial UK-US travel corridor, move more low-risk Amber countries to the Green list to allow customers to book with confidence and to review the current expensive testing requirements that are out of step with our neighbours.

01:45 PM

What are the rules for travel to the US?

Fully vaccinated US citizens will be able to visit England quarantine-free from August 2, it has been confirmed.

However, the US still has a ban in place on non-essential travel from the UK to the US.

usa - Busakorn Pongparnit/Moment RF
usa - Busakorn Pongparnit/Moment RF

Here's everything you need to know.

01:40 PM

Virgin Atlantic: We urge the Government to move the US to the green list

Shai Weiss, chief executive of Virgin Atlantic has responded to the confirmation that quarantine rules will be scrapped for double-jabbed US and EU citizens arriving in England.

Following news that fully vaccinated EU and US citizens arriving into the UK will no longer be required to self-isolate, we stand ready to work with Government to ensure new rules are smoothly implemented at pace, supporting the reopening of the Transatlantic corridor. Recent proof-of-concept trial between Virgin Atlantic, Heathrow and British Airways has demonstrated our readiness to rapidly operationalise an expanded Amber policy, with 99 per cent of customers’ vaccine credentials authenticated at the point of departure.

We now urge UK Government to go further and move the US to the UK’s ‘Green list’ and for the Biden administration to repeal the 212F proclamation for UK travellers. The UK is already falling behind US and EU and a continued overly cautious approach towards international travel will further impact economic recovery and the 500,000 UK jobs that are at stake.

01:37 PM

Travel relaxation for US and EU tourists will 'help salvage' summer

The significance of the Government's decision to allow fully-vaccinated travellers from the US and the EU to enter England without the need to self-isolate cannot "be overestimated", a travel industry expert has said.

Paul Charles, the chief executive of travel consultancy firm The PC Agency, said the move will "pump vital cash into the travel economy, and help salvage the rest of the summer".

He said it is "especially good news for our airlines who need to fill their seats across the Atlantic" and hopes the "news will encourage millions of extra visitors to the UK at a time when the sector badly needs them".

He added that while the decision is "welcome", it "should have been made weeks ago".

01:17 PM

Rule change for fully vaccinated EU and US arrivals from August 2

Double jabbed EU and US citizens will be allowed to enter England without having to quarantine from August 2, ministers have decided.

The Cabinet’s Covid-O committee agreed on Wednesday to open the borders from next month to double jabbed citizens from the US and EU countries, most of which are on the amber list.

The move follows warnings from industry that the UK risked falling behind the EU which has already largely opened up to citizens from both the US and other countries.

Research from the World Travel and Tourism Council suggests the economy is losing £639 million a day because of the squeeze on inbound tourism.

Read the full story.

01:08 PM

How to choose the best Kent coast town for your summer day trip

Securing a UK summer holiday may be a losing battle now, but there are always day trips. And few places have captured the imagination this summer quite like the ‘Kent Riviera’, writes Emma Beaumont.

composite
composite

Margate

Formerly the ultimate faded British seaside resort, Margate’s renaissance, fuelled by the opening of the Turner Contemporary Gallery a decade ago, has been well-documented. The crowds hopping off the fast train tend to skew younger and it lives up to its long-term tagline of Shoreditch-on-sea, with galleries, coffee shops and basement bars scattered around town. With creative enterprises subject to lower rents than the capital, there’s a dynamism here that east London lost long ago. Hip, but still with a gritty underbelly, this is a town for late nights and latte art.

Read the full story.

12:59 PM

Tokyo Olympics linked to 16 new cases

The Tokyo Olympics found 16 more cases of coronavirus connected with the event, bringing the total number of reported infections to 169, although none of the new numbers involved athletes.

While case numbers at the sports spectacle have remained relatively low, the event comes amid a virus surge in Tokyo and many other parts of the country. The Japanese capital recorded a record 2,848 infections on Tuesday, the worst since the pandemic began last year, as the highly infectious delta variant spreads. About a quarter of the population is fully vaccinated.

Tokyo is under a state of emergency, and surrounding areas are set to press the government to impose similar measures, but restrictions on daily life are limited to early closing and an alcohol ban for bars and restaurants.

Read more on the Tokyo Olympics.

12:43 PM

Snowdonia's slate 'roofed the world', says Mark Drakeford as he hails Unesco status

Mark Drakeford has said he feels a "great sense of relief on one hand and celebration on the other" following the Unesco decision to make the slate landscape of Snowdonia a World Heritage site.

The First Minister said the decision was "the culmination of over a decade of real hard work", adding it was "very, very well-deserved outcome for what is one of the most dramatic landscapes anywhere in the United Kingdom".

Open water swimmers in Llyn Padarn lake in Snowdonia - Peter Byrne/PA
Open water swimmers in Llyn Padarn lake in Snowdonia - Peter Byrne/PA

He told Sky News: "It is a combination of the natural landscape and the impact of human endeavour on it. The slate quarrying of North Wales roofed the world during 19th and into the early parts of the 20th century and the impact of that is all around us here."

It was "not just the drama of Snowdonia but the history and heritage of what has been created by humankind", he added. As thunder rumbled, he said even the gods were pleased.

12:25 PM

The family holiday that brings The Gruffalo to life in Hampshire

Fans of the children's classic story book can use technology to track down their heroes at various woodland locations this summer, writes Katherine Lawrey.

"We’ve all needed our escapism over the past 18 months – the fantasy worlds found in books and films to carry us away from the non-stop negative news cycle of the pandemic. Part of my escapism has been in the bedtime routine I’ve established with my daughter. A chance to cuddle up together and lose ourselves in stories about talking animals, dancing giraffes, accident-prone dragons and so much more.

"One of our favourites, naturally, is The Gruffalo, the famous tale of the plucky mouse who outwits his enemies, written by the wordsmith Julia Donaldson whose narrative pops off the page when combined with Axel Scheffler’s delightful illustrations.

"So for one of our first post-lockdown outings with Evie (almost three) and her brother Harry (one), we went to track down the Gruffalo and co in a deep dark wood..."

Read the full story.

Elvetham is an unexpected home for the Gruffalo 
Elvetham is an unexpected home for the Gruffalo

11:58 AM

Loganair to axe Isle of Man–Heathrow service

The regional airline began operating its route between Heathrow and the Isle of Man in November 2020, but is to cancel the service from August 11.

Loganair’s chief commercial officer Kay Ryan said: “We regret having to take this decision to cancel the Heathrow service and also very much regret the inconvenience to our customers.

“The sharp rise in costs of operating services at London’s premier airport coupled to the slower-than-expected rebound in passenger numbers after the pandemic mean that the route is not viable unless it has financial support from the Isle of Man government.

“We were given to understand the connectivity we can provide via codeshare agreements with our international airline partners at Heathrow was of vital importance to the island community, and it has therefore come as an unwelcome surprise that the Isle of Man government foresees no continuing requirement for the route.”

11:36 AM

Most Britons support reopening travel for fully vaccinated EU and US tourists

According to a poll conducted by YouGov, 63-66 per cent of people agree with allowing fully vaccinated visitors from key European countries into England.

This includes those from Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Italy and France.

Meanwhile, 58 per cent of respondents support letting in fully vaccinated visitors from the US.

11:34 AM

Tells us about your summer holiday plans

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11:30 AM

Ukraine plans new rules for unvaccinated travellers

Ukraine's health minister Viktor Lyashko announced new rules whereby foreign travellers arriving in Ukraine must undergo an additional COVID-19 test within 72 hours unless they have been doubly vaccinated.

Ukrainian citizens must also do a test if they have not had at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine.

11:12 AM

Views from Benidorm

There may be some suggestions that Spain could move to the amber plus category, meaning even fully vaccinated Britons would be required to quarantine on their return from the country.

When France was moved to this category the prevalence of the Beta variant was cited as a reason.

In the two weeks to July 12, Spain saw 14 per cent of their cases as Beta, the highest on record in the country. However, most experts do not expect it to move to amber plus in next week's review. As recent pictures from the tourist hotspot of Benidorm show, many holidaymakers are still enjoying the country's beaches and sunshine.

benidorm - SOLARPIX.COM
benidorm - SOLARPIX.COM
tourists in benidorm - SOLARPIX.COM
tourists in benidorm - SOLARPIX.COM

10:52 AM

Norway further postpones end to lockdown

Norway postponed for a second time on Wednesday a planned final step in the reopening of its economy from pandemic lockdown due to the continued spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19, the government said.

"A new assessment will be made in mid-August," Bent Hoeie, the country's health minister, told a news conference.

10:42 AM

Germany plans to tighten overseas travel rules

Germany is set to require all travellers to the country to submit a negative Covid test result, with Government discussions on this underway.

Jens Spahn, the Germany health minister, is understood to want all arrivals, regardless of where they've come from to have a negative result.

Currently, tests are required for airline passengers and for travellers coming via any means of transport from countries designated as high risk, who are not fully vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19.

Stricter entry requirements in Germany on travellers from Spain and the Netherlands came into effect yesterday after Germany classified them as high-incidence areas last week.

10:23 AM

Bath joins an elite group with its second Unesco listing

From spa days to walking weekends, there are plenty of reasons book a break in the city this summer, writes Fred Mawer.

bath - iStock
bath - iStock

Bath’s second listing forms part of the Great Spa Towns of Europe, a single “transnational” inscription which covers 11 historic spa towns in seven countries. The other featured spa towns are Baden bei Wien in Austria, Spa in Belgium, Vichy in France, Baden-Baden, Bad Ems and Bad Kissingen in Germany, Montecatini Terme in Italy, and Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně and Františkovy Lázně in the Czech Republic.

The proposal and approval process for the Great Spa Towns of Europe has taken over a decade, and involved whittling down the number of selected towns from an initial list of 87. The final 11 were chosen as famous and fashionable spa resorts developed between the early 18th century and the 1930s. Shared features of the towns include being founded around natural mineral water springs, having a history of therapeutic facilities and spa buildings such as bathhouses and pump rooms, as well as offering cultural activities and opportunities for socialising in places such as assembly rooms and theatres, and being set in picturesque landscapes.

This is Bath’s second Unesco World Heritage inscription, and having multiple listings puts the city into a very elite group – one that includes Salerno, Cordoba, Jaipur, and few others.

Read the full story.

10:10 AM

The summer season is 'all but lost' for inbound tourism businesses

Joss Croft, chief executive of UKinbound, the trade association representing the UK's inbound tourism sector, said of the expected decision that quarantine will be lifted for fully vacccinated EU and US travellers visiting the UK:

US and EU vaccine reciprocity would be hugely welcomed by our industry and would allow the £28 billion inbound tourism sector, which supports over 500,000 jobs across the UK, to finally restart.

But even with reciprocity, the valuable summer season is all but lost for inbound tourism businesses, meaning thousands of businesses and jobs will continue to be at risk over winter, leaving the sector in desperate need of targeted support.

09:52 AM

Jet2 apps able to store Covid-19 test results

The low-cost airline Jet2 has launched a "useful documents" folder feature on its mobile apps for Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, which allows customers to upload and store important travel documents, such as entry forms for a destination country and negative Covid-19 test results.

The new function on the airline and tour operator's mobile apps should allow its customers to more easiliy organise their travel documents in a single place.

"As we start to welcome back more customers and increase our offering to include flights and holidays to over 40 quarantine-free destinations, we want to make the process of travelling with us as smooth as possible," said Steve Heapy, chief executive of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays.

09:37 AM

UK boss of Emirates hopes data will see UAE removed from red list

The head of Emirates Airline's UK operations has expressed frustration that the UAE is still on the Government's red list.

Divisional vice president Richard Jewsbury said he hopes the Gulf state's low rate of coronavirus cases and strong vaccination programme will see it removed from the high-risk category soon. The UAE's seven-day case rate is 108 per 100,000 people and 68.9 per cent of the adult population have received a second vaccine dose.

People travelling from the UAE to the UK must enter a quarantine hotel for 10 days at a cost of up to £1,750 per person.

UAE flag carrier Emirates operated around 20 flights a day from the UK before the outbreak of the virus, but that has been cut by around 80 per cent. Mr Jewsbury told the PA news agency that "the data coming out of the UAE is very good".

09:20 AM

The bizarre history of vaccine certificates

From smallpox scars to health checks at London’s medieval walls, the documents go way back, writes Hugh Morris.

Man Inspecting Pedestrians for Vaccinations - Bettmann
Man Inspecting Pedestrians for Vaccinations - Bettmann

In 1716, Giacomo Pagliano left the Sicilian port of Messina on a ship laden with goods bound for the Adriatic coast city of Ancona. Sicily had become an important stop on trade routes criss-crossing the Mediterranean, and this departure was no different to the likely dozens on any given day.

With his cargo, Giacomo carried with him a rather ornate document explaining that he and his crew were “free from diseases” and permitting entry to various docks without the need to quarantine. With a devastating outbreak of the bubonic plague still in the memory of Italian society from the previous century, this certificate would help traders go about their business safe from concern they might spark a fresh wave of infections.

These 'fede di sanita' carried by shipmen in the early 18th century in and around Italy were some of the earliest examples of what we might now describe as a vaccine passport.

Read the full story.

09:02 AM

It would be 'brazen' for Spain to move to amber plus, says travel boss

Paul Charles, chief executive, of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said:

All of our detailed analysis is showing France will come off the amber plus category next week. But it would be a brazen and out-of-touch government that thought it could add Spain to the amber plus list at a time when over a million British visitors are in the country, and would have to self-isolate on their return to the UK, taking many people out of the workforce. In addition, Spain’s infection rate appears to be flatlining and falling. So I would expect a continued reduction by this time next week, when the next traffic light review is due to be announced.

It’s vital to remember the UK already has tough testing measures in place – both pre-departure and on return with Day 2 tests – designed to weed out any positive cases. The government’s own Test and Trace data shows that no variants are being brought into the UK from amber-listed countries.

It’s time the government moved away from a policy of fear on travel and moved to one of reassurance and encouragement, certainly if Ministers want to protect jobs and save businesses.

Spain's seven day infection rate is 383 per 100,000 people; the UK's is 342 per 100,000.

08:44 AM

Drop in cases could be holidaymakers refusing to get tested, says Spi-M member

Mike Tildesley, professor of infectious disease modelling at the University of Warwick, said the recent falls in Covid-19 case numbers could have occurred because people are less willing to get a test ahead of summer holidays.

Asked about the decline, the member of the scientific modelling group Spi-M told Times Radio: "Because schools in England closed last week, we haven't got secondary school pupils doing regular lateral flow testing and so we're not necessarily detecting as many cases in younger people.

"It's also been suggested by some that, possibly, because of a high number of cases, because of the summer holidays approaching, people might be less willing to 'step up' to testing when they have symptoms.

"What we really need to do is monitor hospital admissions, because at the moment of course they're still going up - now, of course there is a lag when cases go down, it always takes a couple of weeks before hospital admissions turn around - but if we start to see as we get into August, if we start to see hospital admissions going down as well then I think we would have much stronger evidence to suggest that this third wave is starting to turn around."

08:23 AM

Quarantine-free trips for EU and US travellers could be a 'lifeline' for industry

Fully vaccinated travellers from the EU and the US could be exempt from quarantine.

This would provide a boost to the inbound tourism industry, according to a spokesperson for Airlines UK. They said:

It’s been a lost summer for inbound tourism so far, which has been incredibly damaging for so many businesses that rely on international visitors given they typically spend more than their domestic counterparts, in particular from the US.

This could be a real lifeline for the sector but we need it operationalised as soon as possible given we’re now almost into August. There is no time to lose.

08:07 AM

Wizz Air plans pre-Covid capacity recovery in August

Budget carrier Wizz Air is increasing operations for the summer peak period and expects to return to full pre-pandemic capacity in August.

It incurred a €114.4 million loss in the three months to June as it operated just a third of capacity due to travel restrictions. Joszef Varadi, the airline's chief executive, revealed it was hiring 600 crew as part of the return to normal operations.

“With that we expect aircraft utilisation to increase to 10 hours per day, getting closer to our pre-pandemic flying times of 12-plus hours per day,” he said.

“In July and August 2021 we expect to operate around 90% and 100% of our 2019 capacity, respectively, making Wizz Air the first major European airline to fully recover capacity to pre-Covid-19 levels.

07:49 AM

Sydney locked down for another month as cases rise

Australia's New South Wales state authorities on Wednesday extended a lockdown in state capital Sydney for another month after weeks-long curbs failed to contain an outbreak of the delta virus variant.

Lockdown rules were due to end on Friday but restrictions will now run until Aug 28, state Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.

A total of 177 new locally acquired cases were detected in New South Wales, up from 172 a day earlier.

sydney - Getty
sydney - Getty

07:36 AM

Which countries are on the amber list?

Travellers and the industry are expecting an update to the traffic light categories next week in line with the Government's schedule of issuing changes to the green, amber and red lists every three weeks.

Fully vaccinated travellers from EU countries on the amber list, and from the amber-listed US, are expected to also be able to visit the UK quarantine-free.

Here's the full amber list as it stands now.

Zakynthos - Getty
Zakynthos - Getty

07:22 AM

PM keen for US travellers as hopes rise for easing restrictions

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he wants US citizens to come to England "freely" and he was talking to the United States about a travel corridor, LBC radio reported on Wednesday.

LBC quoted Johnson as saying that he wanted US citizens who are fully vaccinated to come to Britain as they did before the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We want people to be able to come from the US freely in a way that they normally do. We’re talking to them the whole time," LBC reported Johnson as saying in an interview.

"At the moment we're dealing with a Delta wave, the US is dealing with a Delta wave, but be assured that we are on it the whole time. As soon as we have something to say about travel corridors you’ll be hearing from us."

07:13 AM

Freedom for double jabbed as UK opens to world

Britain is to drop restrictions for fully vaccinated people and reopen its borders to European and American travellers from next month.

Boris Johnson has decided that, from August 16, those who have been fully vaccinated will not be required to take a test if they come into contact with someone with Covid unless they have symptoms.

It had previously been reported that workers would only be released from self-isolation after a negative test, and health officials had been planning for a major new system of compulsory testing to free people from isolating.

With Covid cases falling for a seventh successive day, Mr Johnson has also decided to reopen the country to foreign tourists from the EU and North America who have been fully vaccinated. Travel to the UK was previously only possible without quarantine from a handful of green list countries.

Read the full story.

07:05 AM

What happened yesterday?

The main stories from Tuesday:

  • Scientists considering 77 countries for move to travel green list

  • Germany and Italy touted for green-list promotion

  • Australia could remain closed until 2022 over vaccines 'failure', says former prime minister

  • Gridlocked roads could cause chaos for Britons this summer, research says

  • French beauty spots limit visitor numbers to protect environment

  • EasyJet: Most of Europe should be on green list

Now onto today's travel news.

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