Three more countries added to UK quarantine list

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As of 4am this morning, anyone arriving home from Croatia must go into quarantine - Getty
As of 4am this morning, anyone arriving home from Croatia must go into quarantine - Getty


Three new countries have been added to the Government's 'red list', as Covid-19 cases continue to rise across parts of Europe. 

As of 4am this morning, anyone arriving into the UK from Croatia, Austria or Trinidad and Tobago must enter a 14-day quarantine, regardless of whether they are showing symptoms or not. 

Grant Shapps made the announcement in a series of Tweets on Thursday evening. The FCO now warns against all but essential travel to the countries, meaning travel insurance will likely be invalidated if a holidaymaker goes ahead with a trip.

The move comes after Croatia’s seven-day average of cases per 100,000 reached 27.4, higher than the Government’s threshold of 20 cases per 100,000.  Austria's is now 20 per 100,000, while Trinidad and Tobago spiked to 25.7 after a rise in cases.

The Thursday evening announcement sparked an exodus of British holidaymakers in Croatia, seeking to avoid quarantine on their return. Flights back from Dubrovnik yesterday started from £335; the cheapest return from Zagreb was £432.

There is relief today in Portugal, however. The country has finally been given a 'travel corridor', meaning British holidaymakers can go there for the first time since quarantine was introduced in early June.

Mr Luis Araújo, President of Turismo de Portugal, said: "We are delighted to have arrived at a decision which we feel far better reflects the reality of the situation in Portugal."

Scroll down for more updates

03:34 PM

What did we learn today?

  • Staff and backpackers mourn the loss of STA Travel

  • Biggest daily rise in cases in Czech Republic  

  • Nicola Sturgeon says rise in Scottish cases is under control 

  • Boris Johnson cuts short holiday 'amid concerns over safety' 

  • Croatia Tourism Minister criticises UK's quarantine decision

  • Bletchley Park staff face redundancy 

Join our blog tomorrow, for live updates from the world of travel.

03:21 PM

Tempted by an escape to Portugal?

Trips to Portugal are back. Our expert, Mary Lussiana, writes:

Trimming the western edge of mainland Europe, Portugal is a mere 135 miles (217km) wide, which means that its thousand miles or so of Atlantic coastline defines the country. Portugal gazes outwards, its back turned to Spain, facing the seas it navigated to bring a wealth of gold and spices to its shores, and it faces the distant horizons, where fishermen bravely went in search of cod.

Tales of those times still run in the veins of the Portuguese today, alongside the haunting melody of fado, which expresses saudade, or longing, for those who have set sail for distant lands. The words of the great 19th-century poet Fernando Pessoa perhaps say it best in “Portuguese Sea”: “God placed danger and the abyss in the sea / But he also made it heaven’s mirror.”

The long coastline is extraordinarily diverse, from the mellow limestone cliffs of the Algarve to the dramatic granite mountains of the cooler north; but wind your way along it and you will find Portugal, its history, its heart and its soul, in every curve of the shore.  


Here are her favourite places to visit along Portugal's coast.

03:02 PM

Nicola Sturgeon says rise in Scottish cases is under control

Scotland has recorded its first three figure daily rise in cases this month, but First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said they are within the context of known outbreaks.

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In an update the Scottish government said a further 123 people had tested positive taking Scotland total to 19,728 cases. The number of deaths of patients who tested positive remains at 2,492

02:47 PM

British holidaymaker 'livid' over quarantine decision

Jane Grist, from Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, told the BBC she was "livid" with the Croatia quarantine rule change because it meant her two sons would have to miss the first week of school after they return from the Croatian city of Sibenik, on August 27.

"We've been focusing on the return to school as a return to normality," she said.

"Now we've got to explain [to our youngest son] he won't be able to go back at the same time as all of his friends."

Ms Grist told the BBC the holiday was "the one thing we have been looking forward to" after she was made redundant last year - and now it has been "spoilt".

02:42 PM

'Kandengey is a place to die for – and I should know, I nearly did'

Benedict Allen reflects on his adventures in Papua New Guinea:

"Last night I dreamt I went to Kandengey again – Kandengey being a village in Papua New Guinea and not at all the same as Manderley, the house in Rebecca blighted by a Mrs Danvers, the sinister housekeeper with an unfortunate allegiance to the first Mrs de Winter. Eventually the whole place burns down

"Kandengey, by contrast, is nestled in the sleepy backwaters of the Sepik River. There, a cooling breeze shimmers over the lilies that decorate the waterfront, a pleasing array of thatched houses nestled between ­gently leaning coconut palms. Herons stalk the friendly lagoon; egrets traverse the indigo sky. In short, Kandengey village, in the heart of the world’s largest tropical island, is a place to die for. And I should know. I almost died there."

Read what happened, here.

02:30 PM

Cases are on the rise in Ethiopia

Ethiopia has seen its highest rise in daily cases. Yesterday, it recorded 1,829 cases and 17 deaths.

This brings the total number of cases up to 37,665, and the total number of deaths up to 637.

01:49 PM

Boris Johnson cuts short holiday 'amid concerns over safety'

Boris Johnson cut short his summer holiday after he was discovered staying at a remote Scottish cottage with his family, The Telegraph can disclose.

The Prime Minister and his fiancee, Carrie Symonds, flew back to London with their baby son, Wilfred, on Thursday evening after becoming concerned for their safety, it is understood.

Hours earlier, a newspaper photographer had taken pictures of Mr Johnson outside a former schoolhouse in which the family had been secretly holidaying with their dog, Dilyn.

Read the full report, here.

01:45 PM

How are cases looking in Greece, Italy and Turkey?

Coronavirus Greece Spotlight Chart - cases default
Coronavirus Greece Spotlight Chart - cases default
Coronavirus Italy Spotlight Chart - cases default
Coronavirus Italy Spotlight Chart - cases default
Coronavirus Turkey Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus Turkey Spotlight Chart - Cases default

01:43 PM

Meanwhile, in Prague...

Patients at the Karel Boromejsky Sisters of Charity Hospital are given "horse therapy".

Horse therapy - Getty
Horse therapy - Getty
Horse therapy - Getty
Horse therapy - Getty
Horse therapy - Getty
Horse therapy - Getty
Horse therapy - Getty
Horse therapy - Getty

01:31 PM

The UK's quarantine on Croatia means 'catastrophe' for Dubrovnik

Earlier this week, Dubrovnik Tourist Board reported that they had 2582 registered tourists from the UK, 45 per cent of the number at the same time last year. Local businesses, especially restaurants, were already feeling the crunch.

"Being listed in the red zone means catastrophe for Dubrovnik. We were dead until mid-July when Jet2 started flying, then business immediately picked up because of the UK connection. We were at around 40 per cent turnover compared to August 2019, which if continued to September would be enough to get us through the winter", says Darko Perojević, owner of Azur restaurant in Dubrovnik's medieval-walled old town.

"I believe the government could have played this better by making an air corridor from the UK to Dubrovnik, as Dubrovnik has a very small number of cases compared to the rest of Croatia. Germany for example, put Split and Šibenik in red". 

Read the full article here.

01:16 PM

More than half of Spanish companies reopen after closing at height of pandemic

More than half the companies in Spain which closed at the height of the coronavirus pandemic have reopened, according to government data released on Saturday, suggesting the economy is recovering slowly.

The number of companies registered to pay social security by the end of July was 1,282,346, according to figures from the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, or 91,240 fewer firms than in February before the government imposed a strict lockdown to try to contain COVID-19.

However, the statistics showed that since the easing of lockdown started in May, 49,159 companies have registered with the government.

This is just over half the number which closed when the pandemic was at its height in March and April.

A worker wearing a protective face mask serves a customer inside a chip shop on the Joan Borbo promenade in Barcelona, Spain  - Angel Garcia / Bloomberg
A worker wearing a protective face mask serves a customer inside a chip shop on the Joan Borbo promenade in Barcelona, Spain - Angel Garcia / Bloomberg

12:22 PM

Croatia Tourism Minister criticises UK's quarantine decision

Croatia's Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sport, Frano Matušić, has criticised the UK Government's decision to bring in a 14-day quarantine for all holidaymakers returning from the country – effective as of 4am today.

Speaking to Sky News, Matušić urged the UK to think again:

"We think that this decision was not fair. Because we think that Croatia is really safe destination. Croatia is on the list for many European countries as a safe destination still. It is true that we have some several hotspots in Croatia, but we didn’t register until now, any infection in hotels camps and other accommodation facilities.

"So we appeal to UK government to replace this 14 days quarantine measure by reliable tests. We are really disappointed by this.

"This will adversely affect the continuation of the season. From 1 August until 20 August we had around the 62,000 arrivals from United Kingdom and more than, 350,000 of overnight stays. So this decision will definitely negatively affect the continuation of the tourist season in Croatia."

12:12 PM

Lunchtime read

Get yourself a sandwich and explore the secret side of the world's greatest mountain range.



Read this beautiful extract from Ed Douglas's new book, Himalaya: A Human History, where he witnesses the masked dancers of Patan entrancing the crowds at the start of the wedding season.

11:49 AM

Bletchley Park staff face redundancy

A third of staff at Bletchley Park, which hosts Enigma machines designed by codebreaker Alan Turing, face redundancy because of the pandemic.

The trust which runs the museum has warned that it expect to lose around £2m this year and 95% of its income from March to July.

It is proposing a restructuring that includes a possible 35 redundancies, approximately a third of the workforce, as it seeks to reduce its annual spend and the size of its team.

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11:28 AM

Which country will be next on the 'red list'?

Paul Charles, CEO of the travel consultancy, The PC Agency and leader of the Quash Quarantine movement, has Tweeted that Switzerland, Iceland and the Czech Republic are edging towards the threshold of 20 cases per 100,000 over a seven-day rolling average, meaning they could be in for a quarantine when the Government updates its travel corridors list next week.

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There will be some relief for holidaymakers in Greece (14 cases per 100,000), Turkey (10.8) and Italy (7.1) which all remain steadily below the threshold for a UK quarantine.

11:06 AM

Staff and backpackers mourn the loss of STA Travel

Popular backpacking  travel agency STA Travel has gone bust, the latest business to collapse amid the global pandemic.

STA, which employed 500 staff across 50 branches in the UK, ceased trading on Friday, ABTA, the trade association of travel and tour operators confirmed. 

A statement posted on its Twitter account read: “To our valued customers, due to the recent announcement that STA Travel UK has ceased trading, unfortunately our team are unable to assist you at this time.

“Please be assured that if you had a previous booking with us, or hold a live booking, you will receive further communication in the coming days. We are sorry for the inconvenience and the limited information available to you at this time.”

Staff have spoken out to mourn the loss of STA. Eleanor Hamshere said: "It’s absolutely heartbreaking, I’ve worked for them for 2 years but they’ve been part of my life for 10 years. I am devastated because working for STA isn’t just a job, it’s a lifestyle with a whole family of friends that come with it."

STA Travel was founded in 1971 - Getty
STA Travel was founded in 1971 - Getty

Tarique Chowdhury, who worked in the Oxford and Cambridge stores between 1991 and 1993, said: "We were able to talk about more than just a flight and a hotel, it was the experience. That’s what people want these days.”

ABTA said that the majority of booked holidays were packages that were protected by the Civil Aviation Authority’s ATOL scheme, meaning customers should be able to get a refund. 

10:53 AM

I'm under 'house arrest' for going to France. How did it come to this?

"I am in quarantine, aka: on the Government’s naughty step,". writes Bryony Gordon. 

"I had the audacity to go to France, and did not have the £2,000 that British Airways wanted to switch our return flight to a day earlier. I know, I know. There’s about as much sympathy for people who choose to go abroad during a global pandemic as there is for Gavin Williamson. But like many other Brits, we had booked this holiday a year ago and couldn’t get our money back – what’s more, we didn’t actually want our money back, so desperate were we to escape the UK and all its multiple governmental failings."

Arrivals at Heathrow
Arrivals at Heathrow

Read her comment piece, here.

10:43 AM

Quarantine for Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago introduced

As of 4am this morning, anyone arriving in the UK from Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago must go into quarantine for 14 days.

Grant Shapps made the announcement on Thursday evening, sparking a 36-hour rush home.

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10:20 AM

Biggest daily rise in cases in Czech Republic

The Czech Republic recorded 506 new cases of Covid-19, the highest number of new infections since the pandemic began there.

To date, Czech Republic has reported 21,551 cases of Covid-19 with 411 deaths. The previous daily high was 377, on March 27.

The Czech government was one of the first in Europe to introduce social distancing measures in March, to slow the spread of Covid-19. These were eased in May, but some measures have been reintroduced as cases spiked in recent weeks.

Face masks are compulsory on public transport, although are not required in shops, restaurants or at schools.

As it stands, British holidaymakers can visit the Czech Republic without needing to go into quarantine on their return. These are the other countries you can currently visit.

09:55 AM

Rare snowfall in south east Australia

Several Australian states have seen a rare snowfall, as Antarctic air swept across the south east of the country.

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09:49 AM

Brits arriving in France must declare 'no symptoms'

Anyone arriving into France from the UK will have to self-certify that they are not suffering any Covid-19 symptoms, and have not been in contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days, the British Government confirmed yesterday.

The FCO advice for France was updated as follows:

"Travellers arriving in France from the UK, European Area, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay are no longer required to self-isolate, or to demonstrate their travel is essential.

"Arrivals by sea and air routes will need to complete a ‘sworn statement’ (déclaration sur l’honneur) form self-certifying they are not suffering from symptoms associated with Covid19 and have not been in contact with confirmed cases in the preceding fortnight. This is available in English on the site of the French Embassy London."

As of August 15, anyone arriving into the UK from France must self isolate for 14 days.

09:35 AM

"STA Travel inspired adventure and broadened minds – it will be missed"

Lottie Gross reflects on the loss of STA Travel:

"Over the last 40 years, have touched so many people. Changed lives, even. STA Travel is responsible for the career that’s led me to writing this very article. As a fresh-faced gap year student in 2009, I sat in their Reading store waiting eagerly to talk to my assigned travel expert. I clutched brochures on organised tours and round-the-world flights, ready to book my first solo adventure from Singapore, through Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, ending in India. 

"My advisor had been to India. She assured me (and my anxious mother) it would be safe enough. She talked me through the practicalities of finding my airport transfer, getting cash out and she recommended the best cities to stop off at in Rajasthan. For three months, my two friends and I rumbled across southeast Asia on trains and buses, checking into hostels where we shared dorms with hissing cockroaches and visiting shimmering golden temples that seemed so otherworldly to this naive, cliché of a backpacker. "

Lottie on her gap year adventure in 2009
Lottie on her gap year adventure in 2009

Read Lottie's love letter to STA Travel, here.

09:14 AM

What does the collapse of STA Travel mean for your holiday?

If you've booked a package holiday from STA Travel, you will be covered by the ATOL scheme. You can make a claim for a refund on the CAA website.

If you have booked a flight through STA Travel, you should contact the airline that you were due to fly with to see if you can still go on the trip. If you can't travel, consider submitting a refund claim through your card provider.

Those waiting for a refund for an STA Travel package holiday including a flight, which was cancelled during the pandemic, should also be covered by the ATOL scheme. Contact CAA for a refund.

It is likely that customers of STA Travel will receive communications from the company in the coming days.

08:56 AM

The announcement from STA Travel

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08:28 AM

What happened yesterday?

A quick look at the main stories from yesterday's live blog.

  • Loss of air bridges with France and Spain makes dash home from Croatia costlier

  • Those returning from Croatia after the deadline can’t even leave home to exercise 

  • Britons eye Portuguese bargains as prices set to stay low; booking surge at hotels in Portugal

  • British holidaymakers told to stay away from the coast this weekend due to storms

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