Wednesday morning UK news briefing: Freedom for the double jabbed

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covid latest news travel ban vaccines usa green list tokyo 2020 olympics team gb
covid latest news travel ban vaccines usa green list tokyo 2020 olympics team gb

The UK is reopening to the world. Britain is to drop restrictions for double vaccinated people and reopen its border to European and American travellers from next month.

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

It had been reported that workers would only be released from self-isolation after a negative test.

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

Political Editor Ben Riley-Smith understands that Chancellor Rishi Sunak argued the cost of stopping inward tourism was harming the economy at a time when most of Europe has reopened.

See where is on the UK's travel amber list - and the 77 countries being considered for a move to the green list.

Cartoonist Blower imagines British politicians at the Olympics - Blower
Cartoonist Blower imagines British politicians at the Olympics - Blower

Yesterday, 23,511 new Covid cases were recorded in the UK - meaning numbers are below France, which logged 26,871.

Despite 131 deaths, the week-long fall in cases has led to cautious optimism among ministers and scientists.

With light at the end of the tunnel, why do some refuse to be pleased about good news? Perhaps Kirstie Allsopp has the right idea: When Covid cases are coming down, doom-peddlers should cheer up.

Police buy up boats to stop illegal migrant crossings

Small boats have been bought up by police in an effort to curb Channel migrant crossings, The Telegraph understands. It is part of a series of operations to disrupt the supply of boats, which is the biggest expense for people-smuggling gangs behind the record numbers to have crossed the Channel. Dinghy prices range from several hundred to thousands of pounds. Investigators discovered that networks of organised criminal gangs buy them in the UK, then send them to traffickers in France. It is understood officers have bought the boats to deny the gangs access - and push up prices to break their commercial model.

Olympics: Team GB win gold in 200m freestyle relay

Great Britain's swimmers raced to further Olympic history this morning, clinching gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay to make it a hat-trick of victories in the pool for the first time since 1908. Tom Dean and Duncan Scott, who had finished first and second in the individual 200m freestyle yesterday, were joined by James Guy and Matthew Richards. Chief Sports Reporter Jeremy Wilson in Tokyo says they were dominant and set a new national and European record - only 0.03 sec outside the world record. It was Britain's fifth gold. Meanwhile, Charlotte Dujardin is poised to become Britain's most decorated female Olympian when she competes in the individual dressage today. To stay on top of all the action, follow our liveblog and - if you have not done so already - I can recommend signing up to our (free) Olympics Briefing newsletter.

PS: Nicola Sturgeon and other senior Scottish nationalists have been criticised for failing to publicly support Team GB's Olympians or offer congratulations to English athletes. Read about their "deafening silence". Tom Harris says the very existence of Team GB is a bitter reminder to the SNP of the result of the 2014 independence referendum.

Daily dose of Matt

Also in the news: Today's other headlines

Military plea | Boris Johnson should allow thousands more Afghans who worked with British forces to relocate to the UK urgently, eight former chiefs of staff who were in charge during the Afghanistan conflict have said. General Lord Dannatt and more than 35 retired senior military commanders set out their plea in a letter sent to the Prime Minister, Defence Secretary and Home Secretary, after the UK troop withdrawal. Deputy Political Editor Lucy Fisher says they are "gravely concerned".

Around the world: 'This is how I am going to die'

The US Capitol attack was like a "medieval battlefield", police officers said in a hearing as they denounced Donald Trump for "downplaying" the siege. At the opening of a special House committee investigation, evidence was given by four police officers on duty when thousands of Trump supporters stormed Congress. One officer said: "I recall thinking to myself this is how I'm going to die, defending this entrance." Read more from Washington and view more world pictures of the day.

A tearful Sgt Harry Dunn wipes his eyes while giving evidence about the attack - Getty
A tearful Sgt Harry Dunn wipes his eyes while giving evidence about the attack - Getty

Comment and analysis

Editor's choice

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  3. Bounceback wardrobe | The most flattering summer dresses for every body shape

Business and money briefing

Retail | The biggest shareholder in Morrisons has come out against a £6.3bn takeover bid for the supermarket chain in an embarrassing setback for the grocer's board. Silchester said it is not inclined to back the bid from US private equity firm Fortress as it was "disadvantageous" for existing investors. The move throws takeover plans into doubt.

Sport briefing

Rugby Union | Springboks director of rugby Rassie Erasmus denied that he was behind the "Jaco Johan" Twitter account as he accused Lions head coach Warren Gatland of undermining the integrity of the game. Daniel Schofield writes that Erasmus's extraordinary press conference largely overshadowed the team announcements for the second Test.

Tonight's dinner

Mussels with smoky tomato and chilli sauce | This simple, spicy main dish by Lola Milne can be pulled together in under an hour. View the recipe and try our Cookbook newsletter.

And finally... for this morning's downtime

'A psychosexual obsession' | Rapper Azealia Banks is again trading blows with billionaire Elon Musk and his girlfriend and musician Grimes. Anthony Brett examines: How did this feud begin?

If you want to receive twice-daily briefings like this by email, sign up to the Front Page newsletter here. For two-minute audio updates, try The Briefing - on podcasts, smart speakers and WhatsApp.

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