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Europe's largest tour operator Tui has extended the cancellation of holidays to Portugal until August 17.
Customers with trips booked to the nation between August 17-30, which are still yet to be scrapped, are also able to cancel and receive a full cash refund, or amend their holiday to a later date free of charge.
This also applies on holidays to Spain, including to the Balearic and Canary islands between August 10-16, after the country was axed from the UK government's "safe list" at short notice. As it stands, all Tui holidays to Spain are cancelled until August 9. Portugal, too, remains off the FCO's list of countries that can be visited restriction-free.
Meanwhile, EasyJet has announced it will be returning more of its fleet to service than previously planned this summer thanks to stronger bookings than anticipated. Going forward, it plans to fly at 40 per cent of its capacity; while Ryanair and Wizz Air are also looking to increase services in the coming months.
Scroll down for more.
What we learnt today
A recap of the top stories:
EasyJet adds more flights after bookings surge
Tui cancels more Portugal holidays
Hays Travel tells Boris to ‘save summer’ as it cuts 900 jobs
Australia closes Uluru national park after protests from locals
Space holidays in a year, says Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic
Path cleared for 737 MAX to return to service
Glastonbury 2021 unlikely to go ahead
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Greece reports highest number of new coronavirus cases in weeks
Greece today counted 121 new cases of Covid-19, the highest level in weeks, as authorities confirm infections have been rising steadily over the past 10 days.
The total number of infections in the country now stands at 4,855, and the death toll at 209.
Still, Greece has managed the outbreak of Covid-19 far better than many of its European counterparts. The UK recorded 670 new cases today and more than 305,000 cases in total, as well as more than 46,000 deaths, by comparison.
Also today, Spain reported 1,178 new coronavirus infections in the past day, mainly in the regions of Madrid and Aragon, and the death toll rose to 28,498.
Geoff Dyer: 'I’ll always feel in my element at this neon-lit rave in the Nevada desert'
The next instalment of Geoff Dyer's A-Z of travel is a festival that has no merchandise and no rubbish. That's right, it's Burning Man, which, like everything else, is not happening this year. He writes:
I first went in 1999 when very few Europeans made the trip to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada.
My girlfriend and I were hoping for a week-long desert rave; we came back as raving evangelists for a festival where nothing was for sale, where there was no main stage (no “featured” acts of any kind, in fact), no showers and, at the end, no litter (unlike Glastonbury which, despite its Eden-in-Albion mythos, always wound up looking like a New-Age rubbish dump in the process of formation).
So what was there? Everything!
WTTC: UK is heading to ‘worst case scenario’ threatening nearly three million tourism jobs
Nearly three million jobs in the UK - and 197 million worldwide in the tourism sector - look set to be lost due to the collapse of travel, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
WTTC economic modelling conducted less than two months ago predicted this ‘worst case scenario’ would occur if barriers to global travel, such as quarantine measures and blanket travel restrictions were to remain in place. While some travel bans have been removed, many others remain, with new restrictions likely to come into force.
The group estimates that the UK now looks close to losing a staggering $186 billion (£142bn) from the sector’s contribution to our GDP, equating to a 73 per cent drop compared with 2019.
Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO, said:
It’s heartbreaking to see our worst fears coming true. The jobs and livelihoods of millions of people who work throughout the sector are disappearing by the day, despite our warning this could happen.
However, we still have time to turn this around if we act together now as one and replace ineffective quarantines with comprehensive rapid testing, a worldwide accepted standard of contact tracing and widespread face mask usage. Employing the latest technology, combined with mass adoption of protective face coverings, will help restore confidence to the traveller.
Ireland may have to reopen pubs on county-by-county basis
Ireland might have to consider reopening pubs on a county by county basis, according to Mike Ryan, executive director with the World Health Organisation.
Owners (and customers) of pubs across Ireland are currently waiting for the outcome this evening of a cabinet meeting about returning to business on August 10, a move which had already been delayed amid concerns over the spread of the virus. The move relates to pubs that do not serve food.
“It is a balance [reoepning pubs] and depends on people’s behaviour and how they adapt,” Ryan told RTE television today.
“You can use a much more localised strategy – by county, by province, whatever it is in the Irish context – but to do that you need very localised data and a localised response capacity.”
City authorities in Paris want to make face masks mandatory in some outdoor areas
Parisian city authorities want to make the wearing of face masks mandatory in certain outdoor areas in order to prevent a new spike of coronavirus infections, Le Monde has reported.
The paper said that mayor Anne Hidalgo would put in a formal request with the Paris prefecture about ordering the use of face coverings in specific areas, after the Government on Friday gave local authorities the power to order the wearing of masks in outdoor public spaces.
Would this be a deal-breaker for you? Then have a look at Oliver Smith's guide on where to go for a mask-free holiday.
Why the Isle of Wight is the perfect place for a 'bubble' break with parents
The planning phase was far from simple. Lucy Burton, eager not to put her parents at risk (or those on the island who have been largely shielded from the pandemic by geography) a two-night seaside break in the Isle of Wight turned into a military-style logistical operation even before they arrived. She writes:
We shielded ourselves for a week before, just to be extra safe, and tried researching the protocols local hotels and restaurants had imposed since reopening their doors.
I called the Seaview Hotel for the umpteenth time, asking if my parents could be put in a room that hadn’t been occupied for a few days. "I’m just being extra careful as my dad is almost 70," I explained to them, much to his horror.
Glastonbury 2021 unlikely to go ahead as founder says plans are 'wishful thinking'
This year's Glastonbury was cancelled due to the pandemic, and even next year's festival is unlikely to go ahead as its founder Michael Eavis conceded that plans to postpone the festival until next year are "wishful thinking".
He told ITV news: "I'm still hoping I'm going to run next year. We're moving heaven and earth to make sure that we do, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's going to happen, that's just wishful thinking."
When asked about concerns for the festival's future, he said:
No, I do not worry at all, I am so confident that it will survive. The only certainty I think is the year after, 2022. To be perfectly candid, so we might have to wait for two years maybe.
Croatia's south is short on tourists
The south of Croatia, unlike the north, is facing more of a shortage of tourists due to the pandemic. Here's the view today from the historic city of Ston.
How Australia's hotel quarantine strategy unravelled with sex scandals and assaults on police
The hotel quarantine system has come under renewed scrutiny, as have government employment policies, reports Giovanni Torre in Perth:
Stories emerged from whistleblowers of little to no training at the hotels, inadequate protective equipment, inadequate staffing levels, and sub-contractors being allowed to work across multiple sites.
There was at least one allegation that a security guard slept with one of the quarantine residents.
A returned traveller who spent two weeks in quarantine in April told The Australian that at the hotel mental health workers were called in to sedate guests who were “screaming” and “begging to be let out and running for the doors”.
He said the guards appeared unprepared to control guests desperate to be released.
Read the full report here.
Majority of Canadians would support returning to lockdown, poll finds
A sizeable majority of Canadians would support, or "somewhat support", returning to lockdown in the event of a resurgence of Covid-19 cases in their country, according to a new poll.
The survey, conducted for The Globe and Mail by Nanos Research and published today, recorded that more than seven in 10 respondents indicated some level of support for shutting down most businesses and implementing self-isolation.
“Even with the economic uncertainty, Canadians are quite receptive to a shutdown of the economy again if there was a resurgence,” Nik Nanos, who oversaw the polling, told the newspaper.
“It’s pretty clear that Canadians understand that even though we may be doing okay, this is not over.”
One in four Canadians expressed some degree of opposition.
Is this Greece's best-kept secret?
It might just be. The remote island of Alonissos is not on many radars, writes Heidi Fuller Love, and thank goodness for that:
At Kyra-Panagia we anchor in a deserted cove and wade ashore to visit the gaily-painted 16th-century monastery and its attendant church, and then wander in the courtyard where tombs dating back to the sixth century were recently discovered.
Later, anchored off the tiny, uninhabited island of Peristera the captain tells us about the Mediterranean’s first underwater museum some 30 meters beneath our blue-painted hull, which opened last month.
'Virgin Atlantic could run out of money in the autumn'
Virgin Atlantic could run out of money by the end of September if creditors do not approve a £1.2 billion bailout package, a court has heard.
PA has the details:
Without a restructuring and injection of new cash, it is projected that the airline's cash flow would drop to "critical levels" by the middle of next month and it will "run out of money altogether" by the week beginning September 28.
The airline unveiled a restructuring plan to secure its future, involving only private funds, last month.
The proposal needs to secure approval from creditors under a court-sanction process.
At a High Court hearing on Tuesday, David Allison QC, for Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited, told Mr Justice Trower that the Virgin Atlantic Group has "a fundamentally sound business model which was not in any problems at all before the Covid-19 pandemic".
Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited, referred to as "the company" in written submissions, forms part of the Virgin Atlantic Group, which was referred to as "the group".
In written submissions to the court, Mr Allison said: "The group's financial position has been severely affected by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, which has caused unprecedented disruption to the global aviation industry.
"Passenger demand has plummeted to a level that would, until recently, have been unthinkable."
He said: "As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the group is now undergoing a liquidity crisis.
"Absent a restructuring and an injection of new money, it is projected that the group's cash flow would drop to a critical level by the week commencing 21 September 2020."
Path cleared for 737 MAX to return to service
US regulators have outlined a path for Boeing’s beleaguered 737 Max to return to the skies, demanding a series of key changes to the passenger jet that will make it fit for service.
James Titcomb reports:
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that alterations to the plane’s wiring, flight control software, display software and procedures for flight crew would be needed for the 737 Max to be ready.
The plane has been grounded for more than a year after two fatal crashes, plunging Boeing into crisis and dragging on airline companies that had invested heavily in upgrading their fleets.
The FAA said its proposals would be subject to a 45-day public consultation period in a major step towards the 737 Max being approved to fly again.
However, training requirements and work to refit the planes mean it is unclear if the plane will return to commercial use before the end of this year. International regulators are also assessing the next steps to return it to service.
The proposed adjustments to the flight software are intended to stop a feature known as MCAS, which can tip the plane’s nose downward, from mistakenly activating.
Your lunchtime read: The best quarantine-free countries for a last-minute holiday
August is upon us, meaning it is ‘now or never’ when it comes to booking that last-minute summer holiday. So where should you go?
if you do decide to head abroad, we recommend you first read this checklist of considerations, drawn up by our travel consumer expert Nick Trend.
Convinced? Then here are Greg Dickinson's best options for a last-minute getaway.
EasyJet adds more flights after bookings surge
EasyJet has announced it will be returning more of its fleet to service than previously planned this summer thanks to stronger bookings than anticipated.
Even in the face of ongoing travel restrictions, the budget carrier said late-season sales were “performing well” and that it will fly 40 per cent of its capacity for the rest of the summer, as opposed to its earlier target of 30 per cent.
The airline's key competitors are also posting promising figures. Ryanair, currently flying at about 40 per cent of standard capacity, says it plans to increase this to 60 per cent in August. In July, it flew with a 72 per cent load factor.
Wizz Air, the first European airline to recommence flying back in May, is at 70 per cent, and aims to be at 80 per cent of pre-pandemic passenger numbers by the end of the year.
BA, meanwhile has retired its once-daily, all-business-class route between London City and New York after nearly 20 years of service. The offering, which flew 32 seats aboard an Airbus A318 aircraft, operated under the iconic BA001 and BA002 flight numbers that were previously used by Concorde.
Caribbean braced for hurricane and coronavirus double whammy as storm season begins
Aid agencies warned on Monday that the island nations were scrambling to adapt storm shelters to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and stock up on supplies, with thousands of people already evacuating their homes as the hurricane season gets underway. Hurricane Isaias hit the Caribbean over the weekend, killing two people.
A busier than normal Atlantic Ocean hurricane season has been predicted for 2020, and the coronavirus could "spread easily in crowded emergency shelters" where social distancing would be difficult, said Unicef, the United Nations' children's agency.
"In the coming days and weeks, children and families will be at risk of being hit simultaneously by two disasters, COVID-19 and hurricanes," said Bernt Aasen, Unicef's regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean.
"This is the perfect storm we fear for the Caribbean and Central America," he said in a statement.
Space holidays in a year, says Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic
Space tourism could become a reality as early as 2021, with Sir Richard Branson acting as a guinea pig passenger, according to Virgin Galactic.
The company, founded by Sir Branson, said on Monday that it “expects to advance to the next phase of its test flight program" this autumn with two manned flights.
"Assuming both flights demonstrate the expected results, Virgin Galactic anticipates Sir Richard Branson's flight to occur in the first quarter of 2021," the company said in a statement.
Virgin Galactic has pushed back the suggested date it will transport the first tourists outside earth’s atmosphere several times.
Yet the demand for its proposed service is clear: the company said 600 people have paid $250,000 (£191,400) to book a seat.
'Harry Potter Muggles walking tour' wins the Tripadvisor Travellers' Choice Awards
A Harry Potter-inspired walking tour in London has been announced as the best travel experience in the UK, according to Tripadvisor and Viator users.
The Traveller’s Choice Awards highlight the world’s top tours and activities, based on the opinions logged on the travel reviews website and booking platform. Winners were determined using an algorithm founded on reviews and ratings for bookable experiences over a 12-month period.
The Harry Potter tour explores real-life locations that inspired fictional sets including the Leaky Cauldron pub, Diagon Alley and the Ministry of Magic. The two-hour trip, which costs from £18.36 per person, also takes in London landmarks that featured in the film adaptations of the books, such as Millennium Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral. A good choice for a socially distanced outing, the open-air tour promises small group sizes to ensure a “personalised experience”.
Meanwhile, a Dubai desert barbecue and camel ride experience claimed the number one spot worldwide. The all-day trip also includes sand-boarding and costs from £53 per person.
Britons were less likely than French or Italians to follow lockdown guidelines, study finds
Only 71 per cent of Brits, Americans and other English speakers around the globe followed guidelines set by their governments during the Covid-19 lockdown, according to a new study from Durham University Business School.
This was drastically lower than French and Italians – where 89 per cent of respondents followed guidelines.
The research was conducted at the end of April 2020, the height of the global pandemic, when many countries were at the strictest stage of their lockdowns.
Covid-19 figures from around the world
Russia has reported 5,159 new cases of the coronavirus, pushing its national tally to 861,423, the fourth largest in the world.
Poland has reported its fourth record daily increase in coronavirus cases in a week, with 680 new infections and six deaths. It comes as the country considers introducing stricter restrictions, including mandatory testing for travellers returning to Poland and quarantine for those coming from certain countries.
Mainland China, meanwhile, announced 36 new cases across the country, down from 43 the previous day. No new deaths were registered , leaving China's total at 4,634 among 84,634 cases reported since the virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.
P&O Cruises confirms it will take delivery of UK's largest ever ship
UK-based P&O Cruises has confirmed that it plans to take delivery of its new ship, Iona, before the autumn, reports Ben Parker. It's some good cheer for cruise fans, given the disappointment many will have felt given the events of the last few days.
Iona will be the largest cruise ship ever built for the UK market, at 185,000 tonnes, 345m in length with 17 guest decks. The vessel will also be the first British cruise ship to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). Iona's yet unnamed sister ship is expected to be delivered in December 2022.
Paul Ludlow, president of P&O Cruises, said “Whilst our operations as currently paused, we are delighted that we have more clarity on the arrival of these two new ships. The final outfitting of Iona is almost complete and is looking stunning and we will take delivery of her before the autumn. We also now know that her sister ship will join the fleet at the end of 2022.
“Both ships are eagerly anticipated by our guests and we are seeing strong demand for the future. The space on these two ships will allow for extraordinary experiences; visual entertainment displays; new dining concepts and many new areas for relaxation and indulgence.”
'A cruise is a child's favourite summer holiday – thousands of families will miss out this year'
... so says Teresa Machan, who laments the loss of cruise this year:
Say what you like about cruising – and many have over the past four months – but children love it. Why wouldn't they? Modern, family-friendly ships are like mini adventure parks but without the queues and poor food.
In the current climate, certainly there are places where large ships clearly should not be. But is a family of four cruising from Southampton worse than four or more people boarding a plane and driving around in a car for a week or two?
Australia closes Uluru national park after protests from locals
While many Unesco heritage sites around the world are slowly reopening, Australia has taken the decision to close the national park that is home to the sacred site of Uluru.
The news comes after members of the local Aboriginal community blocked the main entrance to the park, fearing virus-carrying visitors would flock to see the monolith sometimes known as Ayers Rock.
The protest started when a flight from Brisbane, considered a Covid-19 hotspot, landed at Ayers Rock airport on Saturday with 42 tourists on board. A number of flights to the area have since been cancelled.
Thalia Bohl-Van Den Boogaard, the representative of a group of Indigenous Australians protesting against visitors, told Reuters: “It’s up to tourists to stay away if they come from hotspots or are sick.”
She added: “People here have been locked in their communities for months and months to contain the spread, and now it’s not up to them to do the right thing.”
Around 350 tourists have visited the park since state borders reopened in July.
"Sorry Manila," says Phillippine president as he imposes new lockdown
The Philippines has reinstated a stricter lockdown on its capital, Manila, from today after warnings from medical groups over the weekend that hospitals are losing the battle against the coronavirus.
Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippine president, apologised as the number of Covid-19 cases breached 100,000 and he reintroduced a “modified enhanced community quarantine” that will restrict the operations of non-essential businesses and only allow people to leave home for work or to buy food.
"We're doing our very best. Sorry, Manila," said Mr Duterte during a televised broadcast late on Sunday evening.
The 103,185 case count and 2,059 death toll is second only to Indonesia in Southeast Asia, despite bringing the economy to its knees by previously imposing one of the longest and strictest quarantine periods in the world, from March 15 to June 1.
How the Government is really deciding which countries to put on quarantine list
It's the question on many lips at the moment: how is the FCO making decisions about which countries aren't safe to visit at the moment?
Analysis by the Telegraph, carried out in the wake of Portugal’s second exclusion from the Foreign Office’s ‘safe’ list, found that the country had lower Covid-19 rates than many “green” countries Britons were allowed to visit.
Likewise, Spain was frustrated when the travel ban was extended to cover its popular islands, despite the likes of Majorca and Ibiza having low infection rates.
Hugh Morris asked an expert how they would manage the situation if were they in the hot seat.
Here's what Lloyd Figgins, a former soldier turned travel risk advisor, had to say:
In the case of Spain, you have to look at data from the entire country. Domestic tourism had been open for a while before Spain accepted international tourists.
In regions such as Aragon, the infection rate has risen by more than 200 per cent in two weeks and invariably residents of these badly infected areas have travelled to other regions of Spain, including the Canary and Balearic Islands.
Travel decisions need to be based on sound risk management facts and by understanding who might be harmed and how. Making decisions based on commercial or emotional requirements simply don’t work in a time of crisis. They are ineffectual and cloud the facts.
Hays Travel tells Boris to ‘save summer’ as it cuts 900 jobs
The bosses of Britain’s biggest independent travel agent called on Boris Johnson to save summer by restarting flights to the Spanish islands as they cut up to a fifth of their 4,500-strong workforce, reports Oliver Gill.
Hays Travel owners John and Irene Hays said some of the 878 jobs at risk could be saved if the Government introduces “regional travel corridors” to the Spanish islands.
The firm is being forced into sweeping cutbacks after ministers re-imposed a blanket quarantine on arrivals from Spain on July 25, dealing a brutal blow to the industry on the first weekend of the summer school holiday season.
The decision sent sales back to where they were at the start of lockdown when demand had totally collapsed, Ms Hays said. Coupled with a gradual tapering off of the taxpayer-funded furlough scheme, it left Hays with no alternative to cuts:
When Spain was cancelled down at such short notice it had an impact on customer confidence more widely. People who were just beginning to get their confidence back … that situation changed overnight. It took us back to where we were in April.
LA's legendary Chateau Marmont is turning into a members-only hotel
By the end of the year, the iconic Hollywood establishment will be even harder to get into, reports Eilidh Hargreaves.
Approved members will be granted access to a private dining area, a personal butler and the freedom to leave their belongings and come and go during extended stays, according to a statement from the hotel. For punters, a public restaurant and bar area will remain open.
Author Shawn Levy wrote of Chateau Marmont in his book, The Castle on Sunset: “It is a clubhouse for people too rich and famous to belong to clubs, a bolt-hole, a trysting place, a recovery room, a hideaway, an opium den, an atelier, a last resort.”
Surfers mingle with whale and calf
Images have emerged of surfers at Sydney's Manly Beach being treated to this glorious display over the weekend: a mother southern right whale frolicking with her calf. A rare and lovely sight.
Comment: I've visited a dozen Greek islands, so why have I never been to Athens?
Oliver Smith is obsessed with Greece – its food, its landscapes, its beaches and its people – and he's been to a dozen Greek islands, from Corfu to Kefalonia, Mykonos to Skopelos. So why on earth hasn't he set foot in Athens, the country’s iconic capital? He writes:
I’m a history buff. On holiday, often to my wife’s irritation, I seek out relics of the past with the same relish that most people my age search for “Instagrammable” cocktail bars. But I’ve never been to the birthplace of democracy, the cradle of western civilisation – which sits in the shadow of the Parthenon, arguably the most recognisable ancient ruin one Earth.
Perhaps easyJet is to blame.
More than 4o% of Unesco's World Heritage Sites remain closed
Unesco has released findings that show as of July 20, less than 60 per cent of its World Heritage Sites have reopened.
Protected attractions remain closed with 71 countries, largely in Asia and Central America, but also in New Zealand and the Gulf states.
In Europe, however, most of Unesco's sites are fully or partially open to visitors, with the exception of Ireland.
More #WorldHeritage sites are opening after #COVID19 lockdowns, BUT 42% of sites are still closed.
Which site are you hoping to visit after the pandemic?
Check out the recent map to see which sites are open. 👇https://t.co/ikUZPY0QPE #ShareOurHeritage pic.twitter.com/P4xdtSuVvK
— UNESCO (@UNESCO) July 29, 2020
Former prime minister Tony Blair calls for a mass testing regime
Former prime minister Tony Blair said a mass testing regime - covering people who are not displaying coronavirus symptoms - is essential to avoid the need for another lockdown.
"On some estimates 70 per cent of people with the disease are asymptomatic, so if you are only testing people with symptoms you are losing the majority of people from your testing strategy," he told Times Radio.
Without a vaccine or an effective treatment, mass testing is the only way to control the spread of the virus, he said.
In a think tank for his Institute for Global Change, it was proposed that testing every passenger entering the UK, five days after their arrival, could cut quarantine time from 14 days to five.
Australian state introduces tough new penalty
Australia's second-most populous state Victoria said on Tuesday anyone who has contracted Covid-19 and caught outside their home in breach of isolation orders will face fines of nearly A$5,000 (£2,722).
Victoria state earlier this week imposed a nightly curfew, tightened restrictions on people's movement and ordered large parts of the local economy to close.
But state Premier Daniel Andrews said nearly a third of those who had contracted Covid-19 were not home when checked on by officials, requiring tough new penalties to stop community transmission.
Yesterday's top stories
What we learnt:
Virus-free Italy pleads for return of British tourists
Dubai Airport introduces 'coronavirus-sniffing dogs'
British Airways to resume flights to 17 destinations in August
Uber Boat launches in London
Tourism numbers in Portugal fall by 96%