Travel news latest: US Government urged to rethink UK travel ban

·30 min read
New York - Moment RF
New York - Moment RF

Following news that the US has no plans to ease current travel restrictions, travel bosses are urging the White House to rethink its plans.

Yesterday a White House official confirmed the US will "maintain existing travel restrictions," citing concerns over the Delta variant, both domestically and abroad.

Tori Emerson Barnes, vice president of public affairs and policy at the US Travel Association, claims tough border rules, which have prohibited Britons from entering for over a year, "have not prevented the Delta variant from entering the US".

"We respectfully urge the Biden administration to revisit its decision in the very near term and begin reopening international travel to vaccinated individuals, starting with air corridors between the US and nations with similar vaccination rates," she said.

Currently, 60.98 per cent of the US population has been double jabbed, marginally behind the UK's own progress, with 70.5 per cent fully inoculated.

Earlier this morning the UK’s policing minister Kit Malthouse said it is "disappointing" the transatlantic travel looks unlikely to resume this summer.

He told Sky News: "It's obviously disappointing – we want to get back to international travel as soon as possible."

04:32 PM

Today's top stories

That's all from us today. Here is a reminder of the main headlines:

  • 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

Join us again tomorrow for the latest travel news.

04:15 PM

Ibiza going amber-plus would have 'massive effect'

Putting Ibiza on the 'amber plus' list would have a massive impact on hospitality on the Spanish island, it has been claimed.

Nathan Viva, the founder of the Ibiza Concierge Company, said 70 per cent of holidaymakers on the islands are British and it would have a negative impact.

A tourist leaves a beach in Ibiza this month, dragging her suitcase - Zowy Voeten/Getty
A tourist leaves a beach in Ibiza this month, dragging her suitcase - Zowy Voeten/Getty

He told Sky News: "Make no mistake, the amber plus list will have a massive effect on everything we do here in Ibiza.

"The vast majority of our customers here in San Antonio are British so if it does come in, it’ll be very big news and very negative news."

He also said would-be holidaymakers have to decide whether they "want to run the risk of potentially having to quarantine" before booking a trip.

04:08 PM

England's most beautiful villages to visit in 2021

A lovely cobbled square, thatched roofs, dry stone walls, gardens brimming with rose bushes, a medieval church, the sound of a trickling steam or lapping waves at the harbour, children clutching crabbing lines, a tea shop serving fresh scones, a friendly pub and bucket loads of community spirit – all make up the recipe for a quintessential English village.

To help you on you find the perfect place for you, our experts have unearthed 30 bucolic delights to discover – including a Cornish fishing village, a Yorkshire bolthole nestled in a tiny cove or a pint-sized parish in Hampshire.

Explore each of them here.

Hutton-le-Hole, Yorkshire - R A Kearton/RF
Hutton-le-Hole, Yorkshire - R A Kearton/RF

03:52 PM

'My name is Annabel, and I'm a holi-alcoholic'

"The wine goblin has been with me for most of my adult life. It loves nothing more than a holiday – where it can quaff pretty much unchecked with few consequences – and it is always a pest upon our return. The persistent tapping at wine o'clock generally lasts a day or two until the goblin retreats and I go back to being a teetotaller. Moderation is not my strong suit," writes Annabel Fenwick-Elliott.

She can’t fathom a holiday without plenty of wine – and she expect she’s not alone…

Read all about it here.

Like many Britons abroad, Annabel can't help but hit the bottle on her travels 
Like many Britons abroad, Annabel can't help but hit the bottle on her travels

03:37 PM

Industrial action to close six airports in Scotland

Air traffic controllers will strike on Thursday over plans to introduce remote airport control tower, closing six Scottish airports in the process.

Highlands and Islands Airports (HIAL) is planning to centralise operations in Inverness and introduce remote air traffic control services for five airports, including Inverness and Dundee.

The Prospect union said the walkout on July 29 will mark an escalation in the industrial action which has been going on since January.

HIAL said that Benbecula, Dundee, Inverness, Kirkwall, Stornoway and Sumburgh airports will be closed to all but emergency flights from just after midday on Thursday for 24 hours.

03:22 PM

Covid-19 in the UK

There are 23,511 Covid-19 new cases in the UK today, meaning daily reported cases have fallen for a seventh day in a row.

A further 131 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 – the highest day-on-day rise since March 17, when 141 deaths were reported. It brings the UK total to 129,303.

The government data also shows that in the last seven days, a total of 229,828 cases have been recorded, which is a 30.8 per cent fall compared to the previous week.

03:08 PM

Those in the US urged to put their masks back on

The top US health agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is set to urge vaccinated Americans to resume wearing masks indoors in certain circumstances, according to The Washington Post.

It would mark a change on its guidance from May, which said people who had been jabbed did not have to wear face coverings indoors or out because of the protection.

The agency will reportedly cite the Delta variant, which is more transmissible, as being the reason for the altered recommendation.

It is set to be announced at a news briefing later today.

Read more: Travel to the US: Latest Covid rules and practical guidance

03:02 PM

No lockdown in Scotland if there's a fourth wave, adviser suggests

Perhaps you fancy a summer break in Scotland? First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has expressed hope at removing most lockdown restrictions from August 9, broadly mirroring England's Freedom Day.

She told a televised Covid briefing: "We'll be weighing up the different factors. Several of these factors give us really strong grounds for hope and that's positive, although others remind us of the need for continued caution.

"All of us want to see the remaining restrictions eased as quickly as possible. But we will need to do that with appropriate caution and an appropriate degree of care."

She pointed out that Tuesday's positivity rate of 5.6 per cent (the proportion of tests coming back positive) is the lowest on a single day since June 19.

Elsewhere, Ms Sturgeon accused anti-vaxxers spreading misinformation of "anti-social behaviour, because you are putting people at risk". She was flanked by Jason Leitch, Scotland's national clinical director, who said he doesn't expect to "lockdown for wave four" if there is a further wave, but admitted "we might need to adjust some things".

02:54 PM

Cross the border to Egypt and you're banned from travel, Saudi threatens

Saudi Arabia has warned that citizens visiting destinations on its list of countries blacklisted due to Covid-19 will face three-year travel bans on their return.

Those found to have travelled to restricted countries would face "hefty penalties... as well as being prevented from travelling abroad for a period of three years", the interior ministry said on Twitter.

"Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the spread of new variants, the ministry warns against travelling to countries on its (restricted) list, whether directly or indirectly via other countries."

Saudi Arabia has banned travel to, or transit through, 16 countries including Afghanistan, Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Pakistan, South Africa, Turkey, Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates.

02:40 PM

French beauty spots limit visitor numbers to protect environment

PORQUEROLLES ISLAND,
PORQUEROLLES ISLAND,

Popular French holiday spots are restricting visitor numbers and implementing mandatory reservations in an effort to protect the natural landscape.

French authorities are encouraging locals to holiday on home soil this summer, to support the nation’s tourism sector, but it's taking its toll as areas struggle to cope with increased visitor numbers.

On the Île de Porquerolles, a small island off the Côte d’Azur, a limit of 6,000 visitors per day has been put in place. Around a million tourists visit the island of 12.5 square kilometres every year, and last August authorities observed up to 12,000 visitors per day.

"The crowds over twenty or so days were so large that it was impossible to reconcile tourism with the preservation of the Port-Cros national park," the local council stated.

Another area which has come under increasing pressure from tourists over the years is the Calanques, on the outskirts of Marseille.

This is particularly the case for the Sugiton calanque, which the Calanques national park website describes as a "victim of its success". From February 2022, visitors will have to reserve their place online.

02:19 PM

Ryanair: 'Go-stop-go-stop approach' to travel must stop

Speculation is rife over the next review of the travel traffic light system, but Ryanair is calling on the Government to stop its 'go-stop-go-stop approach' to travel as the UK lags behind its counterparts in Europe.

A spokesperson said:

Ryanair welcomes the addition of any country to the UK’s green list, however, this constant go-stop-go-stop approach from the UK Goverment is only damaging customer confidence and the UK is now lagging behind the rest of Europe in international travel and connectivity.

We call on Boris Johnson’s Government to scrap the shambolic traffic light system and allow all vaccinated citizens and children under 12 to travel freely without restrictions given that the majority of the UK’s and EU’s adult population are now fully vaccinated.

02:06 PM

Traffic officers drafted in to patrol Cornwall and Devon amid staycation boom

Highways England traffic officers have been drafted in to patrol key sections of the A30 in Cornwall and Devon during the busy summer months, for the third season in a row as Britons head to the nation's holiday hotspots for their summer break.

South West Regional Director Andrew Page-Dove said:

With the end of lockdown, the number of people taking domestic holidays has rocketed and Cornwall is a key destination. We’ve already been busy keeping routes flowing for G7 traffic and we’re now providing support and assistance to drivers in what could be our busiest summer yet.

Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, chairman of the Vision Zero South West road safety partnership and national APCC lead for road safety, has also welcomed the patrols. She said:

It’s fantastic to have this vital route supported by Highways England officers. Tourism is the lifeblood of the South West economy which makes us the No 1 domestic tourist destination in the country. Increasing any visible presence on our roads that can help make journeys safer is to be warmly welcomed.

01:55 PM

Behold the £2m 'hill of rubble'

"Marble Arch Mound" -  Matt Dunham/AP
"Marble Arch Mound" - Matt Dunham/AP

The Marble Arch Mound has been dismissed as a "hill of rubble" for its sparse and unfinished appearance after opening to visitors on Monday.

The attraction seems to be an unlikely contender to win shoppers back to the West End after repeated lockdowns.

The £2m cost of the Westminster City Council project has also come in for criticism.

Read the full story here.

Marble Arch Mound - Barcroft Media
Marble Arch Mound - Barcroft Media

01:41 PM

Scottish government hopes to remove further restrictions from 9 August

Covid restrictions in Scotland could ease next month,

Scottish First Minister Nicola Strugeon said: "We'll be weighing up the different factors. Several of these factors give us really strong grounds for hope and that's positive, although others remind us of the need for continued caution.

"All of us want to see the remaining restrictions eased as quickly as possible. But we will need to do that with appropriate caution and an appropriate degree of care."

The First Minister says she will set out a statement to the Scottish parliament next week.

01:28 PM

Mapped: The red list

The next review of the Government’s travel traffic light system will also look at the red list – from which arrivals face a costly stay in hotel quarantine.

There are currently 60 countries on the list, here’s a reminder of those countries. Which destinations might be promoted to amber? We explore the possibilities here.

01:15 PM

Exodus from Indonesia as Covid-19 crisis rages

Thousands of foreigners have left Indonesia in recent weeks, airport records released Tuesday showed, amid a brutal pandemic wave and a general shortage of vaccines.

Indonesia now has the most confirmed daily cases in Asia, as infections and deaths have surged over the past month and India's massive outbreak has waned.

Infections peaked in mid-July, with the highest daily average reported at more than 50,000 new cases each day. Until mid-June, daily cases had been running at about 8,000.

Since early this month, nearly 19,000 foreign nationals have left through Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in the capital, Jakarta.

The exodus increased significantly in the past three days alone, accounting for nearly half of all individual departures this month, officials said.

12:50 PM

'Rip-off travel tests must come to an end'

Consumers are at the mercy of private providers to meet Government rules, writes my colleague Emma Featherstone – it’s time prices were capped and requirements cut.

The UK’s system sees consumers relying on private services to meet state-mandated rules. The Government page specifies that you should do your own research. Yet, when travellers have picked a provider from an official list, they should not expect that, as some have complained, results are delivered late or a provider fails to answer the customers emails or phone calls.

The requirements placed on travellers appear even more irksome when you consider just how much money is to be made within the testing industry. Those travelling to and from the UK by air spent at least £380 million on tests in the first six months of 2021, according to a Bloomberg analysis. And during most of that period there was a ban on overseas travel from England (it lifted on May 17). How much will providers have made by the end of 2021?

Read the full piece here.

12:39 PM

Pandemic behind us by October, says Sage member

The worst of the pandemic could be behind us by late September, an expert has said, as the number of new Covid-19 cases in the UK fell for a sixth consecutive day.

Professor Neil Ferguson - whose modelling led to the first lockdown in March 2020 - said caution was still needed, but offered a hopeful outlook for autumn.

Prof Ferguson, from Imperial College London, and a member of a committee within the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We need to remain cautious, especially with the potential increase in contact rates again as the weather becomes less fine and schools return.

"We're not completely out of the woods, but the equation has fundamentally changed. The effect of vaccines is hugely reducing the risk of hospitalisations and death.

Find the latest news on our live coronavirus blog.

12:33 PM

40 things you probably didn't know about Big Ben

Everyone can recognise this London landmark – but how much do you really know about it?

  • What was the bell originally meant to be called?

  • When did Big Ben first chime?

  • Which musical note does the bell make when struck?

Find these answers and plenty more here.

The north end of the Palace of Westminster, home to Big Ben - Kriangkrai Thitimakorn/Getty
The north end of the Palace of Westminster, home to Big Ben - Kriangkrai Thitimakorn/Getty

12:24 PM

EasyJet: Most of Europe should be on green list

We reported earlier that 77 countries are under review by government scientists for a possible move to the green list for quarantine-free foreign travel.

In response to this news, low-cost airline EasyJet said:

Much of Europe should be added to the green list as with lower infection rates across almost all of Europe than in the UK, it is safe to do so. As the rest of the economy emerges from this lockdown with some precautions in place, there is no reason why the same is not possible for travel.

Crucially testing should be removed for low risk green and amber countries for fully vaccinated passengers as it remains a costly and unnecessary barrier for many to be able to travel – green should mean green.

Read the full story here.

12:12 PM

Covid infections fall in Indonesia capital

Could the tide be turning in Indonesia? After weeks of reports of hospitals full and a lack of oxygen for Covid patients, the latest data shows cases falling.

This will ease pressure in Jakarta, with with the percentage of people testing positive for Covid-19 halving in 10 days.

The daily case rate in the capital has fell to 2,662 on July 25, down from 14,619 on July 12.

Anies Baswedan, the governor of Jakarta, said the situation is now "very different" and that an easing of restrictions could be on the way.

11:57 AM

Half of cruisers consider sustainability when booking, says research

Results from the latest survey by cruise travel agent Mundy Cruising shows that half of those questions ranking sustainability as an important factor when booking their holiday, with only 14 per cent stating the environment was not an important thing to consider.

And while 65 per cent thought that the cruise industry’s image has been damaged by the coronavirus pandemic, almost four-fifths of respondents said that they believe the industry is working hard to operate more sustainably.

Edwina Lonsdale, the managing director of Munday Cruising, said: “Once again our survey has shown that cruisers cannot be easily pigeonholed, with a far greater interest in sustainability than you might expect if you were to listen to the industry’s detractors in the media.

“We have seen a growing demand from our clients for concrete technical details of what the cruise lines are doing on board to minimise their impact on the environment, and this is reflected in our survey findings.”

Read more: Is it possible to be an eco-conscious cruiser?

11:43 AM

Sydney area to remain in lockdown

The Greater Sydney area will remain locked down for another month four weeks after the state's officials agreed to a plan to tackle the rising number of Delta cases within the state.

Reports from Australia state that Gladys Berejiklian, premier of New South Wales, will announce the extension as early as tomorrow morning. However the introduction of curfews is not expected.

Signs advertising the coronavirus vaccine in Lane Cove, a suburb of Sydney - James D Morgan/Getty Images
Signs advertising the coronavirus vaccine in Lane Cove, a suburb of Sydney - James D Morgan/Getty Images

New South Wales reported 172 Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, up from 145 a day earlier.

Earlier today former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull describe the country's vaccine rollout "a colossal failure".

Read more: Travel to Australia: latest Covid rules and future prospects

11:30 AM

Transatlantic travel: Everything you need to know

american airlines
american airlines

A ban on non-essential travel from Europe to the US makes it very difficult to cross the Pond right now, and news from the White House this week has further dampened hopes of transatlantic holidays this summer.

What actually are the rules for visiting the US? We reveal all, plus practical tips, here.

11:20 AM

Qatar to open new cruise terminal in 2022

A new cruise terminal is being constructed from a former shipping container facility in the centre of Doha.

The Doha Grand Cruise Terminal, 15 minutes from the city’s centre, will open next summer, hoping to persuade ships to port there.

"You will be able to walk from there into the souk," said Philip Dickinson, Qatar Tourism’s vice president international markets.

"The plan is to try and get more ships to homeport," said Dickinson.

"We already have the airline and the product to offer pre and post cruise stays. We had 190,000 cruise passengers in 2019, but it was transit business, in and out."

To boost its appeal to tourists the city has a number of new attractions including a “Parisian-inspired” shopping and entertainment centre due to open in the Lusail district, one of the 2022 World Cup venues.

11:13 AM

In focus: The amber list

The waiving of quarantine for fully vaccinated adults (and under-18s) returning from amber countries came into effect on July 19, offering fresh hope for overseas trips this summer. However, the addition of extra measures including the ‘amber plus ‘ list has added to the confusion for British holidaymakers, especially as Ministers have also indicated that Spain and Greece could move into the 'amber plus' category at the next review.

Which countries are on the amber list and what does it mean for your holiday? Find out here.

10:57 AM

Finland reopens to the world

This quirky Nordic nation has now opened its doors for fully-vaccinated Britons, and as it's amber, there's no need to quarantine on return.

Sarah Marshall reveals why you need to go this summer to enjoy midnight swims and sauna sessions, here.

finland
finland

10:43 AM

Reaction: Will Italy get the green light?

Destinations and operators in Italy continue to welcome news that Italy could be a top contender for a slot on the green list next week.

Raffaella Scalisi, chief of Courmayeur Mont Blanc's Tourism Board in the Italian Alps said:

The UK is one of Courmayeur Mont Blanc's main feeder markets so we are extremely relieved to hear that there is a potential for Italy to be upgraded to the green list. We have faced one extremely difficult ski season, with resort closures and a lack of British visitors and this has had a significant impact. With this positive news, we can hope for a boom in bookings throughout the rest of the summer and a fantastic, come-back winter season.

Roberto Sortino, founder of Villatravellers in Sicily, commented:

We are thrilled to hear that Italy is likely to be added to the UK's green list. Here at Villatravellers we have hugely missed our UK guests and are looking forward to welcoming them back to Sicily. Fortunately here our summer season continues well into October so British travellers still have plenty of time to book a villa holiday and snap up some late-summer sunshine.

Simon Ball, founder and CEO of Tuscany Now & More, said:

We are delighted by the news that Italy will finally move onto the green list, giving our clients further confidence to return to travel. We are already witnessing a strong demand in extended stays and longer holidays, with families and friends able to quarantine and work from our villas. We are hoping that this news will lead to a surge in bookings for the last of the summer season and autumn holidays.

10:29 AM

In pictures: MSC Virtuosa departs Liverpool

MSC Virtuosa cruise ship - Peter Byrne/PA Wire
MSC Virtuosa cruise ship - Peter Byrne/PA Wire

The £800milllion MSC Virtuosa cruise ship left Liverpool Cruise Terminal yesterday as part of her staycation trips around the UK.

The brand-new ship was among the first vessels to be welcomed back to Liverpool last month, and has since visited a number of times as she tours the UK.

 MSC Virtuosa - Peter Byrne/pa
MSC Virtuosa - Peter Byrne/pa

10:11 AM

Jet2 helps holidaymakers get organised

Going on holiday abroad has never been so complicated. From testing to passenger locator forms to insurance documents, travellers are faced by an unparalleled level of admin and paperwork.

To ease the stress and help holidaymakers get organised this summer Jet2 has launched a new service on its mobile app, to store all essential information in one place.

Steve Heapy, CEO of et2.com and Jet2holidays, explains: "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.

"For this reason, we are introducing functionality for customers to upload their own travel documents to a central location within the Jet2.com and Jet2holidays apps. The new feature allows customers to store all their Covid-19 related health and travel documents in one place, eliminating the need of unnecessary paperwork and helping to make travel as easy and fuss free as possible."

10:01 AM

Reaction: Italy’s hopes for the green list

Italian summer holidays could get the green light in the next traffic light update. Maria Elena Rossi, director of marketing at the Italian National Tourist Board, said:

We of course would be delighted if Italy will be included in the Government’s green travel list. Tourism is one of our most important economies and is worth €232 billion to the economy and Britain is one of our most important markets. In 2019, we welcomed 6.3 million British visitors who spent over €3.5 billion. So inclusion on the UK green list ahead of August and September is absolutely critical for the recovery of the industry and the impact it has on our economy.

Our cities, coasts, countryside and major attractions are world class and we have implemented robust protocols to keep our visitors safe. Tourism is one of our most important industries and key to the nation’s recovery from the terrible impact of Covid-19. We know that Italy is in the hearts of the British public and we look forward to welcoming tourists back to enjoy our beautiful country this summer.

Read all the latest travel advice for Italy here.

09:47 AM

France passes law requiring vaccine pass to dine at restaurants

paris restaurant -  Michel Euler/AP
paris restaurant - Michel Euler/AP

France has passed a law requiring diners in restaurants to produce proof of vaccination. It is also required for long-distance domestic travel on public transport. The government has also made it mandatory for all healthcare and essential workers to be vaccinated.

A vaccine passport is required to enter bars, gyms and cafes, as well as restaurants – the rules are set to come into force next month. Before it was passed, thousands of people protested the proposal.

09:35 AM

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

New research suggests the Lake District, Cornwall and Devon will be the most popular destinations – and sat-nav app Waze warns this could cause chaos for motorists on popular routes.

A poll of 2,000 motorists predicts the M6, A30, M5 and A303 could become hotbeds for queuing traffic throughout the summer season as hundreds rush to idyllic British destinations.

Meanwhile, routes to major UK airports like Heathrow, Bristol and Manchester are also expected to become congested by those risking international travel.

09:23 AM

In pictures: Tourist around the world

Around the world, some borders may still be shut and restrictions tightening, but holidaymakers are still out and about enjoying themselves. Here’s a snapshot of what holidays in 2021 look like:

Spain

Tourists enjoy themselves on the terraces of Benidorm's Levante beach - Reuters
Tourists enjoy themselves on the terraces of Benidorm's Levante beach - Reuters

Ivory Coast

ivory coast - Anadolu Agency
ivory coast - Anadolu Agency

France

eiffel tower -  Daniel Cole/PA
eiffel tower - Daniel Cole/PA

Italy

Rome -  Riccardo Antimiani/Shutterstock
Rome - Riccardo Antimiani/Shutterstock

England

big ben london -  TOLGA AKMEN/AFP
big ben london - TOLGA AKMEN/AFP

09:06 AM

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

Australia's borders are likely to remain closed until at least early 2022 because of the "colossal failure" to buy enough vaccines, former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has said.

Only 16 percent of Australians aged over 16 years so far fully vaccinated.

Mr Turnbull, who was ousted by Scott Morrison in 2018, said: "It's the biggest failure of public administration I can recall.

"It was a colossal failure and the problem is you can't wind the clock back and fix what should have been done last year. The very reason we are locked down - which is so frustrating when so many other parts of the world are opening up - is simply because our government failed to buy enough vaccines," he told the BBC.

08:53 AM

Germany set to tighten entry rules

Germany, which is touted as a green-list contender, is preparing to tighten entry requirement rules in an effort to curb a recent rise in cases.

According to reports by the Funke media group, travellers from any country, regardless of its rating or how they travel, will be required to provide proof of a negative coronavirus test before entering.

The health ministry wants "an expansion of test requirements upon entry as quickly as possible", the Funke group newspapers cited a document as saying.

The UK is currently classified as a "high-incidence area” by German authorities. This means Britons are allowed to enter, restriction-free if they are fully vaccinated.

However, it is unclear whether these new testing rules will apply to fully vaccinated people.

08:45 AM

In focus: The pandemic in the US

The White House is reluctant to ease travel restrictions across the Pond due to rising cases.

Let’s take a closer look at the figures.

How many cases are there currently in the US?

How’s the vaccine drive going?

08:26 AM

Germany and Italy touted for green-list promotion

The number of green-list holiday destinations looks set to grow next week, with popular holiday spots Germany and Italy leading the race for promotion.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is expected to announce the next round of changes to the Government’s traffic light travel system next week, to be implemented on August 9.

Industry experts have begun to speculate which nations could be in line to be moved from the amber to the green list, with one claiming he has "reverse engineered" the algorithm used by The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) to rate countries. Robert Boyle, a former BA strategist, predicts Germany and Italy, as well as Austria, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia are in the running to get the green light for summer holidays.

Likewise, Paul Charles, the chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, also rates Germany and Italy’s chances, alongside Canada, the Czech Republic and Slovenia.

The Telegraph understands that 77 countries are under review by government scientists for a possible move, however Government sources warned that many might not make the cut once the assessment had been completed.

However, hopes remain high for both Germany and Italy, where cases are impressively low compared to other popular European destinations, at 13.39 per 100,000 and 51.28 respectively. By contrast, the rate in Spain is 385.42 and in Greece it’s 180.65 – both nations are at risk of joining France on the ‘amber plus’ list.

07:58 AM

Which countries are on the travel green list?

croatia
croatia

Speculation around which nations might clinch a spot on the coveted green list next week is rife.

Germany and Italy could join the likes of Croatia, Malta and Iceland on the list, but where else has the green light currently? And when will the next announcement be?

We have all the answers here.

07:51 AM

Italy hopes to vaccinate 60 per cent of over 12s by end of July

Vaccination rates in Italy are progressing well, and its drive will only boost its chances of a green-list promotion.

Senior Italian officials are confident that by the end of the month 60 per cent of Italians will be fully vaccinated.

"We still have a way to go, but we’re into the final mile," said Francesco Figlioulo, Italy's coronavirus emergency commissioner.

Earlier this week Health Minister Roberto Speranza urged the nation to get their shots.

"We must insist. I believe that Italians are very clear that the vaccine is the essential weapon to put these difficult months behind us," he said.

So far, over 55 per cent of its population have been double jabbed, with over 71 per cent having received a first dose.

07:37 AM

Australia’s Victoria state to ease lockdown

The state of Victoria in Australia will lift a strict lockdown following a drop in Covid-19 cases.

"All in all, this is a good day," Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters in Melbourne.

However, neighbouring New South Wales faces an extension of restrictions after daily new cases spiked to a 16-month peak.

Nearly 26 million people (more than half of Australia’s population) has been in lockdown in recent weeks after an outbreak of the Delta variant took hold in the New South Wales capital of Sydney and spread to three states. New

South Wales reported 172 cases in the past 24 hours, up from 145 a day earlier, reports Reuters.

sydney lockdown
sydney lockdown

07:24 AM

US travel restrictions 'disappointing', says minister

Policing minister Kit Malthouse has said it is "disappointing" the transatlantic travel looks unlikely to resume this summer.

He told Sky News: "That's for them to assess and we're assessing the likelihood of variants coming in from other countries as well and so it doesn't surprise me that they're doing similar.

"It's obviously disappointing - we want to get back to international travel as soon as possible."

He added the world is still coping with uncertainty during what he hopes is the "tail-end of this virus", saying: "People will have to bare that in mind as they decide their travel plans."

07:13 AM

Can I visit Germany?

germany
germany

With a low case rate and impressive vaccine drive, holidays to Germany could soon get the green light.

What’s more, double-jabbed Britons are allowed to visit without any restrictions, testing or quarantine.

Here are the last rules and advice for planning a holiday there.

07:03 AM

Scientists considering 77 countries for move to travel green list

Seventy-seven countries are under review by government scientists for a possible move to the green list for quarantine-free foreign travel, it has emerged.

The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) is understood to be reviewing the countries before ministers decide on a final list of new green destinations, due to be unveiled next week.

Government sources warned that many of the 77 might not make the cut once the assessment had been completed, but it provides the first insight into the size of the potential "long list" of countries whose Covid status means they can be rated as "possibles".

Charles Hymas has the full story here.

07:00 AM

What’ happened yesterday?

Before we begin, here’s a recap of yesterday’s top stories:

  • France could be removed from 'amber plus' list next week

  • The US refuses to lift restrictions on British visitors

  • Heathrow pandemic losses reach £2.9 billion

  • Double-jabbed expats free to travel to UK under relaxed vaccine rules

  • Sydney could stay in lockdown until mid September

  • Finland reopens to vaccinated Britons

Now, on with today's news.