Britons could see their travel options further reduced this week as infection rates continue to rise in Sweden and Germany, which are two of just four restriction-free destinations left on the holiday map.
Sweden’s seven-day rate has reached 44.7 per 100,000 people (up from 38.9 a week ago) and Germany’s is at 47.1 (compared to 28.5 on October 11), as a second wave of the virus sweeps across Europe. Germany requires arrivals from "high-risk" areas of the UK to take a Covid-19 test.
The UK Government has previously considered triggering quarantine rules when a country’s caseload tops 20 per 100,000 residents, with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announcing the latest changes each Thursday at 5pm.
Greece (except Mykonos) and Gibraltar are the other two restriction-free options on the UK's travel green list – Greece’s rate has not risen as sharply as Germany's (it’s at 26.6 per 100,000, compared to 23 seven days ago), while the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar appears, so far, to have been spared in quarantine decisions.
On Wednesday, Mr Shapps unveiled two potential testing plans to cut quarantine times for UK travellers.
They included a domestic test a week after arrival in the country and what he described as “an internationally recognised system, in which Britain would be a trailblazer, where tests and isolation take place prior to travel and after travel and would require no quarantine.” However, no start date has been given for either plan.
Meanwhile, a “digital health passport” is due to be tested on flights from the UK to US this week.
Scroll down for the latest travel updates.
Today's main headlines
Wales plans 'circuit-break' lockdown to span half-term holiday
Scottish islands propose testing on arrival with lockdown exemption
Quarantine comes into effect for arrivals from Italy; removed for Crete
Israel will impose self-isolation rules on UK travellers
Ireland to bring in nationwide restrictions from Monday
Dubai launches new one-year ‘remote working’ travel visa
Catch-up with the rest below, and join us tomorrow for the latest travel news.
Israel and UAE to sign agreement for 28 weekly flights, ministry says
Israel and the United Arab Emirates will a sign a deal on Tuesday to allow 28 weekly commercial flights between Israel's Ben Gurion airport, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Israel's Transportation Ministry said on Sunday.
The agreement, which also allows unlimited charter flights to a smaller airport in southern Israel and 10 weekly cargo flights, comes after Israel and UAE agreed to normalize relations.
The aviation deal will be signed at Ben Gurion airport and flights are expected to begin within weeks, the ministry said.
British Airways to 'cut flights from Gatwick' in Covid recovery plan
British Airways is planning to shrink its presence at London Gatwick Airport as part of a "bounce-back" effort in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, reports Hannah Boland.
BA, which warned it could abandon Britain's second biggest airport in April, is already operating most of its short-haul flights from Heathrow and has said it will be doing so until next March.
However, the airline is understood to have now started readying for the Gatwick operations to be a smaller part of the business when it emerges from the crisis.
The Mail on Sunday said a major recovery plan was being devised by new BA chief executive Sean Doyle, who replaced Alex Cruz earlier this month.
Under the plans, geared to help steer British Airways out of the crisis, the newspaper said Mr Doyle was planning to shift flights to the larger Heathrow Airport and to boost long-haul leisure flights to premium destinations such as Barbados and Barbuda to cope with dwindling demand for business travel.
Giant geoglyph of a cat found in Peru
A huge drawing of a feline, etched centuries ago, has been revealed in Peru’s Nazca Desert.
The Nazca Lines geoglyph of 120ft-long feline remained undiscovered for almost 2,000 years on a hill beside the Pan-American Highway.
“The figure was scarcely visible and was about to disappear because it’s situated on quite a steep slope that’s prone to the effects of natural erosion,” Peru’s culture ministry said in a statement this week.
“Over the past week, the geoglyph was cleaned and conserved, and shows a feline figure in profile, with its head facing the front.” It said the cat was 37 metres long, with well-defined lines that varied in width between 30cm and 40cm.
“It’s quite striking that we’re still finding new figures, but we also know that there are more to be found,” Johny Isla, Peru’s chief archaeologist for the lines, told the Spanish news agency Efe.
... Meanwhile, in Scotland
Travel writer Simon Parker is touring Britain, on a bicycle, for Telegraph Travel.
Today, he's met some friendly locals.
🐴🐴 Roadside support team. pic.twitter.com/6kKyCrGEGY
— Simon Parker (@SimonWIParker) October 18, 2020
In pictures: views from elsewhere
Here are some snapshots from this weekend.
What's the situation in Germany and Sweden?
Infection rates are on the up in both countries, which are among the four restriction-free options on the UK's travel green list.
Here's an overview of the caseload in Germany and Sweden.
How to get travel insurance should you choose to ignore Foreign Office advice
Contrary to popular belief, you can visit a country to which the Foreign Office (FCO) advises against travel without invalidating your insurance – you just need to contact one of the few providers willing to offer cover.
What’s more, it shouldn’t cost much more than an ordinary policy.
Bulgaria doesn't need lockdown to contain fresh wave of virus, says IMF managing director
Bulgaria will not need a full lockdown to contain the second wave if it adheres to protective measures, according to the International Monetary Fund’s managing director, Kristalina Georgieva, who is Bulgarian. She said:
Bulgaria risks, like every other country, a shock from a second wave. It does not mean a full lockdown when you follow protective measures, like wearing masks, social distancing and testing is followed. This is what we should do now in the face of a second wave.
Dutch Prime Minister admits he was wrong on royal holiday
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has said that he made the "wrong assessment" by not advising against the royal family's plan to take a holiday in Greece.
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima went to Greece but flew back a day later, following a public backlash.
The Dutch Government had just introduced a new partial lockdown, including discouraging unnecessary travel.
In a letter to parliament, the prime minister said he had "realised too late" that the holiday "could no longer be reconciled with the increasing infections and the stricter measures."
Welsh tourism businesses in 'despair' as country set to announce 'circuit-breaker' lockdown
A spokesperson for the Welsh Association of Visitor Attractions (Wava) offers comment on a leaked letter that revealed the Welsh Government is planning to announce a "circuit-breaker" shutdown. They told Telegraph Travel:
[WE] fully accept that the high incidence in the Covid 19 warrants the Welsh Government taking action.
However, the First Minister's comments to the Welsh Parliament last Friday appear at odds with the leaked documents now in circulation. The First Minister on Friday said that no decision had been made on a Welsh lock down, but these comments have been completely overturned by the leaked documents on Saturday night showing that a decision had already been made to close Wales down. Actions like this undermine a Ministers credibility in the eyes of Welsh people, and in the Welsh Government.
WAVA was not consulted about the proposed lock down and now hope that the Welsh Government will look to compensate Welsh attractions for loss of business. The Autumn half term weeks enable attractions to raise money for the six-month winter period when attractions are closed.
One of these vital weeks has now been lost. It should be noted that some attractions in Wales have only been able to trade for seven weeks this year. The overall feeling of many attractions in Wales is one of despair.
Czech Republic to wait two weeks before considering full lockdown
The Czech Republic, which has the highest coronavirus infection rate in Europe, will wait at least two weeks before deciding whether to order a full lockdown to stem its epidemic, Deputy Prime Minister Karel Havlicek said on Sunday.
In the past week, bars and restaurants have been ordered to close except for takeout orders, and schools have been shifted to distance learning. Sport and fitness clubs, theatres and cinemas had already been shut, but shops have remained open.
Since Czech schools reopened in September, the cumulative number of cases has risen almost seven times.
"We will not decide this week about a lockdown," Havlicek said on Czech Television. "We have clearly said we will wait (until Nov. 2) for results."
Wales 'circuit-break' lockdown would span half term, leaked letter reveals
Wales is planning to announce a three-week “circuit breaker” shutdown that would span the half-term holiday, a leaked letter has revealed.
Details of the proposed lockdown measures are outlined in the letter (published by Bubble Wales) from John Pocket, the Wales director of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, to members, including that the “circuit break” would take effect at 6pm on October 23 and last until November 9.
The leaked document explains that “the message for public transport will be essential journeys only” and that “it will take us back to the situation in March when all but essential retail outlets were open – pubs, cafes, restaurants, hairdressers etc – were closed". It adds that financial government support for travel firms had been secured.
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford is holding talks today ahead of an announcement on Monday – last week Mr Drakeford said his Government was "very actively talking about and preparing for" a circuit-breaker lockdown in Wales and called on the UK Government to consider adopting a short-term lockdown in England.
In Wales, 17 out of 22 local authority areas are under local lockdown and the Welsh Government has banned visitors from Tier 2 and 3 areas of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
'I've just returned from a month in France – it was worth every minute of quarantine'
Despite misgivings, Mel Bradman crossed the Channel to find quieter, but still sparkling, cities and beaches. She writes:
For the past four years, I have spent September in France. Primarily on a language course, but also to discover a new French city and meld into life as a local. This year’s choice was La Rochelle on the Atlantic coast. Flights and accommodation were booked late last year. The plan was: two weeks in La Rochelle, a week in Nice, then a few days in Paris.
Then… well, we all know what happened. But in July, France was added to the UK’s travel corridor. Then the numbers went up, the guillotine went down and la belle France was banished to the naughty step.
The question was: do I still go? Would it be worth the 14 days’ quarantine at the end? I can do my job from home, so work wouldn’t be an issue. But from a health point of view? I found travel insurance with Campbell Irvine, one of the few companies that provides cover in countries on the quarantine list. And I already had an Europe Health Insurance Card, which allows UK citizens medical care in EU countries, at least until Brexit.
I was reassured by the fact that mask-wearing was mandatory in all public areas in France, and that they had an efficient testing system under way. Plus, tourist numbers would be lower. And… I needed a holiday. So, after saying a silent merci to the French government for not introducing their “reciprocal measures”, I was off.
Cruise ship appears to be heading to the wrong Portsmouth
Dave Monk, one of Telegraph Travel's regular cruise writers, has noticed that a cruise ship that seems to be taking an (accidental) detour.
According to @MarineTraffic, at least, SeaDream I seems to be heading to Portsmouth, US, which might come as a surprise to passengers waiting to embark in Portsmouth, UK, tomorrow! pic.twitter.com/eybEYbjtp7
— Dave Monk (@shipmonk) October 18, 2020
Switzerland to make face masks compulsory indoors
Face coverings will become compulsory in indoor public areas in Switzerland under new measures introduced after a "worrying" rise in coronavirus infections.
The Swiss Government said on Saturday that gatherings of more than 15 people in public would also be banned under the rules to take effect on Monday, while service in restaurants and bars would be restricted to seated customers only.
"The sharp increase in the number of contaminations in recent days is worrying. Indeed, it concerns all age groups and all cantons," it said in a statement.
Empty beaches and active volcanoes – this could be the world's best self-drive holiday
A 12-day driving holiday through Baja California takes visitors off the tourist track – Graham Greene tested it out.
Ireland to impose nationwide Covid-19 curbs on Monday, says minister
Ireland will bring in "decisive" nationwide Covid-19 restrictions on Monday but will stop short of reintroducing the kind of lockdown imposed earlier this year, Higher Education Minister Simon Harris has said.
"The government will act tomorrow, the action will be decisive and it will be nationwide action," Harris told national broadcaster RTE.
"Tomorrow we will have to bring in more restrictions. Level 3 has not worked in terms of getting the virus to where it needs to get to ... I don't want to be pedantic about the phrase lockdown but I don't think that's exactly where we're going but there will certainly be more restrictions," he said.
Ireland has taken a tough stance on travel restrictions; its quarantine-free list was recently reduced to zero.
Hong Kong bans Indian airlines due to Covid-19 cases
Hong Kong has imposed further bans on Indian airlines, the third time it has done so in recent months.
Air India and Vistara are no longer allowed to operate inbound flights to HK until 30 October.
Authorities said a number of passengers who took flights from India tested positive in Hong Kong.
All travellers arriving in Hong Kong must prove a Covid-19 negative result.
The best small cruise ships to explore the wilds of Scotland
Going ‘over the sea to Skye’ has improved a great deal since the days of Bonnie Prince Charlie, writes Dave Monk.
It is just one of the Scottish islands served by a flotilla of cruise boats – none carrying more than 12 passengers – whose crew will pamper you as you explore the rugged landscape and tranquil bays. Book quickly though, as cruises can sell out a year in advance.
A view from Paris as curfew kicks in
Paris, and eight other French cities, experienced the first night of a month-long curfew Saturday, which left the streets empty.
The new curfew rules include:
Restaurants, bars, cafes and cinemas must shut by 9pm local time; food outlets can still deliver
Jogging and dog-walking are allowed during the curfew but a signed permit is required, which can be downloaded onto a smartphone
Israel to impose self-isolation rules on UK travellers
Israel will require travellers arriving from the UK to self-isolate for 14 days, according to the Israeli government website.
The UK was one of 31 “green” countries from which certain travellers could enter Israel without facing quarantine.
But the UK’s status will move to “red” on 23 October, Israeli health ministry information explains.
The country's health ministry marks some 185 other countries and localities as red, due to infection rates.
Transport Secretary admits new cycle lanes are leaving roads 'backed up' with traffic
The Transport Secretary has admitted too many cycle lanes are being left “unused” with traffic “backed up” as a result of his green transport revolution, The Telegraph can reveal.
In a strongly worded letter sent to councils, Grant Shapps has warned he is “not prepared to tolerate” badly designed road closures and new cycle lanes which are imposing “sweeping changes” to entire communities.
And in a move that will infuriate cycling and green campaigners, he has declared the Government is not anti-car, explaining: “No one should be in doubt about our support for motorists.”
Mr Shapps announced a £250 million Emergency Active Travel Fund in May intended to promote walking and cycling as the country emerged from lockdown. Councils were invited to apply for the cash by drawing up projects intended to entice people away from their cars and take more active forms of travel.
A view of Britain, by bike
Travel writer Simon Parker is cycling across Britain, from Shetland to the Isles of Scilly, and is reporting on his findings for Telegraph Travel.
Here are some recent snippets from his journey.
In a normal year, bike mechanic Scott Barnes sells two recycled bikes a month. This year, he sold 40 in six weeks during lockdown. I’m also the 121st passing cyclist needing repairs since July 15th. In the whole of 2019 that figure was 101. #cycling boom. #NC500 @TelegraphTravel pic.twitter.com/jOyZwfcjX0
— Simon Parker (@SimonWIParker) October 17, 2020
Day 10, #BritainByBike, Rhiconich to Ullapool. 55 miles. 4,500 feet of elevation! Lots of deer around, eating goodness knows how many calories. Tonight Im staying with the kind parents of a teacher I met in Venezuela a few years ago. Tomorrow: Loch Ness. 60 miles away... pic.twitter.com/ZUwSdjF4CI
— Simon Parker (@SimonWIParker) October 17, 2020
Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble sparks surge in search interest
The prospect of a quarantine-free travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore has led to a spike in demand.
Prices rose by an average of 40 per cent within 24 hours of the announcement, despite the fact no start date has been confirmed.
Return economy airfares went up from an average S$400 to S$558 for travel in December on the Singapore Airlines website, reports Travel Mole.
Meanwhile, flight searches to Singapore grew by 400 per cent on the Expedia Hong Kong website.
Australian beach deserted after another shark attack fatality in record year
Wylie Bay, a stunning white sand beach with a famous surf break, lies hauntingly empty, reports Giovanni Torre.
It is a week since Andrew Sharpe, a 53-year-old surfer and local businessperson, was attacked by a shark believed to be at least four metres in length at Kelp Beds. His friends tried desperately to save him, but he was pulled under the waves and not seen again.
“I’ve never seen a dorsal fin that big before, not even in media footage," a witness to the attack, Ross Tamlin, said.
Mr Sharpe’s death was the second fatal shark attack off the Western Australian town of Esperance this year, and the third since 17-year-old Laeticia Brouwer was killed at Kelp Beds in April, 2017, while surfing.
Which country will be removed from the 'green list' next?
Italy and San Marino was the latest countries to be added to the UK's quarantine list following rising infection rates. There are now a handful of restriction-free destinations available to British travellers.
Are any at risk of being added to the quarantine list in this week's update? Here's a closer look at the figures.
Australia's hotspot easing restrictions
Australia's state of Victoria, the epicentre of the country's coronavirus outbreak, will see some of its months-long restrictions eased as of Monday but retailers and restaurants must wait longer, the state's premier said on Sunday.
After more than 100 days in a strict lockdown, the five million people living in Melbourne, Victoria's capital, will be able to spend as much time outdoors as they wish, but must stay within a 25-kilometre (15-mile) radius from their homes, Premier Daniel Andrews said.
Public gatherings will remain tightly limited, and retailers and restaurants must operate only on take-away or delivery orders, with the state government eyeing their reopening by Nov. 1, Mr Andrews said.
Scottish island travel ban, or testing on arrival, proposed to end local restrictions
Scotland's islands could be allowed to return to a form of normality, breaking from mainland rules, with residents proposing testing on arrival as a solution, reports The Herald.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon indicated she is open to exploring whether a “different balance might be struck” for the islands. However, she warned that this would likely mean island communities would become subject to travel bans.
As it stands, Scotland’s islands must follow the same hospitality restrictions as the rest of Scotland outside of the central belt, although Arran is included in the curfew being experienced by Glasgow and Edinburgh. Households in some parts of Scotland's islands cannot meet others in their homes.
The leader of Orkney Islands Council has called for an alternative to travel bans, pointing to other islands worldwide that test people on arrival, which can help to protect vital visitor economies.
Italy quarantine imposed; Crete now quarantine-free
As of 4am this morning, travellers arriving in the UK from Italy must self-isolate for two weeks. Meanwhile, arrivals from Crete are now longer subject to quarantine. Holidaymakers returning to the UK from anywhere in Greece (except Mykonos) are exempt from self-isolation rules.
Here's an overview of case rates in the two countries.
Dubai launches new one-year ‘remote working’ travel visa
Dubai is the latest destination attempting to entice ‘digital nomads’ with a new 'remote working' visa programme, writes Emma Beaumont.
The Middle Eastern metropolis’ new initiative removes the uncertainty surrounding working remotely while abroad. Travellers on the one-year visa, which costs $287 (£222), will be able to access housing, schools and telecom services, though they won’t be able to get any form of job in the emirate.
Workers hoping to make the move will have to prove that they have an income of at least $5,000 (£3,871) a month, plus at least a year on their job contract. Those who are self-employed can also apply, providing they demonstrate that they have an average income of $5,000 a month or more. All applicants must also have comprehensive health insurance and are welcome to bring their families.
Currently recording far fewer coronavirus cases than much of Europe, the UAE is an attractive destination to escape to this winter. For those interested in a spot of desert working, further information and applications can be found on the Dubai Tourism website.
Using a circuit breaker would be an 'error' says Michael Gove
Michael Gove has ruled out a national "circuit-breaker" lockdown to control the coronavirus resurgence.
Asked if the Government would take the measure on Sky's Sophy Ridge On Sunday, he flatly replied: "No."
"It would seem an error to try to impose on every part of the country the same level of restriction when we know that the disease is spreading more intensively and quicker in some parts of the country," he said.
Read more on the coronavirus live blog.
Telegraph Exclusive: Tony Blair accused of breaking quarantine rules with US trip
Tony Blair was last night accused of a “flagrant” breach of Covid-19 restrictions, after failing to self-isolate for a fortnight after a two-day trip to the US on a private jet, reports Edward Malnick.
In pictures obtained by this newspaper, the former prime minister is seen leaving a restaurant in Mayfair 10 days after his return from Washington DC last month.
The Sunday Telegraph understands that Mr Blair appealed to Whitehall officials for special dispensation from the Covid-19 rules, but that he was not issued with the formal exemption letter he would have needed to avoid the 14-day isolation period.
The Telegraph is not aware of any other exemption for which Mr Blair could qualify. He claims he was advised to follow rules on attending “international conferences”, having travelled to the US for a ceremony at the White House at which Israel signed agreements establishing formal relations with Bahrain and the UAE.
What's the situation in your local area?
Wales is awaiting news on Monday of a "circuit breaker" lockdown, while Northern Ireland has already imposed such a measure.
Meanwhile, the Liverpool City Region and Lancashire are under tier-three measures and eight areas of England are under tier-two (both tiers can impact your UK travel options). What's the situation in your local area? Search below.
EU regulator indicates draft clearance for 737 Max
Boeing’s 737 Max is a step closer to being recertified after Europe’s safety aviation regulator declared it is satisfied with new safety features.
The EU Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) signalled that it could issue a draft airworthiness directive for the Max next month, but the grounded aircraft is unlikely to return to operation until next year.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has yet to recertify the aircraft following the exposure of systemic failures in its original certification of the aircraft.
American Airlines plans to return the 737 Max to service for passenger flights by the end of this year should it be recertified by the FAA.
The aircraft was grounded in March 2019 following two fatal crashes.
What happened yesterday?
The main headlines from Saturday:
'Health passports' to be tested on flights out of UK next week
Spain outlines plans for travel corridors for Balearic and Canary Islands
Malta stops cruise passengers disembarking due to suspected case of Covid-19
Travellers from high-risk areas banned from visiting Wales
Curfews planned across Europe as restrictions put UK holidays at risk
Now onto today's news.