Concerns have been raised over the issuing of ‘Covid passports’ to allow people to travel, with a UK travel operator saying that it could amount to “coercion”.
The Telegraph revealed that Britons who have been inoculated against coronavirus could have their passports stamped to show they have had the vaccine – enabling them to travel freely once again.
This, or a similar scheme, has been labelled a “necessity” by the head of Australian airline Qantas for international visitors, prompting Tradewinds Travel to pull all flights with the airline. Korean Air and Air New Zealand also echoed a similar position.
“We feel that bodily autonomy with regard to medical intervention is a personal choice and not something to be forced onto people by businesses,” Tradewinds said in a tweet. “We are not anti-vaccination but we are pro-choice. There is a huge difference between coercion and making a free choice.”
Even the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) appears split on the issue. Janet Lord, professor of immune cell biology at the University of Birmingham, said “a vaccine passport does make sense, at least initially”. However, Ian Jones, professor of virology at the University of Reading said: “It is tantamount to making the vaccine compulsory, which no other vaccine is.”
Stamps as proof of being vaccinated were raised last week by Tory MP James Sunderland who asked the Prime Minister whether he had considered “the utility of having vaccination stamps in passports, or an equivalent scheme, to get our plans off the ground”. Mr Johnson replied that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps was “looking at all such schemes” and could offer an assurance that he had heard the call “loud and clear”.
Scroll for updates on this story, and other breaking travel news.
Beavers build first Exmoor dam in 400 years
Something to make you smile on a Monday morning. Beavers have built their first dam in Exmoor in more than 400 years, following river restoration work by the National Trust.
The semi-aquatic rodents, which constructed their dam at the Holnicote Estate near Minehead, are the first to be released into the wild by the trust in its 125-year history. Footage captured on wildlife cameras shows the animals gnawing nearby trees and collecting vegetation to create a dam across small channels that run through the Somerset estate.
Rangers described the beavers as “ecosystem engineers”, as nine months after they were introduced to slow the flow of water through the landscape and improve river quality, they have created an “instant wetland”.
Ben Eardley, project manager at the National Trust, said:
It might look modest, but this beaver dam is incredibly special – it’s the first to appear on Exmoor for almost half a millennium and marks a step change in how we manage the landscape. What’s amazing is that it’s only been here a few weeks but has created an instant wetland.
We’ve already spotted kingfishers at the site, and over time, as the beavers extend their network of dams and pools, we should see increased opportunities for other wildlife, including amphibians, insects, bats and birds.
Further Covid-19 measures for Hong Kong
Restrictions have been tightened in Hong Kong today in an effort to contain rising Covid-19 cases, which sees no more than two people allowed to meet, karaoke lounges and gaming centres closed, and most civil servants working from home.
The rules come into force on Wednesday and are in addition to measures announced yesterday, which included the closure of all schools until next year. Disneyland and the Ocean Park theme park will also shut.
Bars in Hong Kong are already shut, but there are reports that some are trying to get around the rules by placing plates and cutlery with customers under the pretence they are dining.
There were 76 new cases of Covid-19 in Hong Kong today, down from Sunday’s figure of 115 – the highest daily figure in almost four months. The latest rise in cases has also led to the postponement for at least two weeks of a travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore – which was due to be launched on 22 November.
‘Will testing delays ruin my New Year holiday to Lanzarote?’
Telegraph Travel’s consumer expert, Gill Charlton, answers a question from a concerned traveller.
When the resumption of the air bridge to the Canary Islands was announced last month I booked a two-week holiday to Lanzarote with Jet2 Holidays departing on Jan 3. But the islands recently announced that travellers from the UK are required to have undergone a Covid-19 PRC test within the 72 hours prior to arrival and to provide proof of a negative result.
My flight is scheduled to touch down at 14.20 on Jan 3, which is a Sunday. This means the earliest I can do the test is on Thursday afternoon: New Year’s Eve. The test must be sent to a lab for processing and it is my understanding that the labs do not work at weekends. What is my way forward?
Stonehenge tunnel faces legal challenge
A tunnel which is to be built alongside Stonehenge is facing a legal challenge as campaigners say that a minister wrongly overruled advice from experts.
The planned tunnel, which will run for two miles past the World Heritage Site, was greenlit this month by Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary. Mr Shapps said that he was “satisfied” the development case outweighed prospective harm to Stonehenge and its surroundings.
However the Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site (SSWHS), a new campaign group established by activists from Stonehenge Alliance, has now asked solicitors to investigate the lawfulness of the decision.
A letter has been sent by the Leigh Day law firm to Mr Shapps which puts him on notice of potential legal action, with the Department for Transport given 10 days to respond.
Forget the Inca Trail – we trialled the new ‘Black Diamond’
Sarah Baxter reports on a new, quieter route to Machu Picchu that follows tourist-less footpaths from Cusco, Peru.
The route has its downsides – in that, it’s all up, and quickly (pre-acclimatisation is essential). Climbing past the gargantuan stones of Sacsayhuaman fortress, through rural green into spiky ichu grass, we were soon at a 14,000ft pass, being battered by hail to boot.
But it was thrilling to leave the city on foot, following tourist-less footpaths to end at a private camp on Piuray Lake, drying our boots by the fire, watching the stars appear over the mountains. This was one of our wilder nights. The 10-day adventure would include a few sleeps under canvas, offset by more luxurious lodge stays.
That first evening, I drifted off to the sounds of splashing geese and Guido snoring in the neighbouring tent. The next, after hiking through a wild flower-rampant ravine to reach the plateau-top Inca ruins of Huchuy Qosqo, I lazed in a hot tub and slept in a huge bed with crisp white sheets and herb-infused pillows. I liked the mix of rusticity and indulgence. But mostly I liked using trails most people weren’t.
First foreign students arrive to Australia since March
A flight landed in Darwin, northern Australia, this morning, bringing 63 international students to the country for the first time since it shut its borders eight months ago.
The students – from mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Vietnam and Indonesia – travelled to Singapore to catch the flight and will now spend 14 days in a government quarantine facility.
Charles Darwin University, which chartered the flight, said the arrival was “an important first step in the recovery of the international education sector in Australia”.
Australian universities have been leaking cash due to the country’s indefinite border closure, which has so far locked out the foreign students who keep the billion-dollar sector afloat. Similar proposals by universities in Canberra and Adelaide were previously scrapped.
No ‘vaccine passport’ for required for Ryanair
Low-cost airline Ryanair have confirmed that passengers won’t need a coronavirus vaccination to fly with them, with the Irish firm saying a ‘Covid passport’ is “not really relevant” for them.
Chief executive Eddie Wilson said:
With short haul and freedom of movement of people in Europe […] I think we’ll see an entirely different landscape come spring and early summer, not really relevant for short haul and European travel.
He added that people can travel all over Europe by other means, so “In Paris, if you were to choose no vaccination […] you’d just get a train instead.”
Punters given permission to drink up
Customers in pubs and restaurants will be allowed to finish their drinks even if they’re in a Tier 2 area, according to Environment Secretary George Eustice.
Speaking on Sky News this morning, he said: “I think you can finish your drink provided you’re at a table and you’ve had a drink with a meal then, of course, you can finish your drink as well.
“What you probably couldn’t do is have a small meal and then sit at the table all night ordering drinks.”
Under Tier 2 restrictions, venues can only serve alcohol when accompanied by a meal, such as a full breakfast, lunch or evening meal. The Beer and Pub Association has estimated that 14,000 of the 21,000 pubs in Tier 2 areas will remain shut because they cannot serve meals or do not believe it is financially viable to open.
Mr Eustice’s advice contradicts a warning by the Government last week that pub-goers in Tier 2 must leave after finishing their “substantial meal”. A Government official stated on Friday that there should be “no lingering”, and visitors must leave “once their meal is finished”.
Could Brexit signal the end of second-home owners in Europe?
New rules will limit the amount of time Britons can spend in their foreign boltholes, as Heidi Fuller-Love reports.
Living on a stunning Cyclades Island, in a sugar cube house with sweeping views of the Aegean Sea, was a dream come true for novelist David Young from Twickenham, when he settled on the Greek island of Syros several years ago. Like thousands of second-home owners in Greece – and elsewhere in Europe – however, David’s dream could turn into a nightmare on January 1, 2021 when Schengen rules, limiting the amount of time he can spend in his foreign bolthole, come into force.
“Like me, many Brits divide their lives between two countries, but after Brexit – unless they apply for full residency in the EU country where they’ve bought their property, pay taxes there, and lose their NHS provision back home – second-home owners will be limited to stays of a maximum of 90 days,” says David, who set up Facebook group 180 Days in Greece to help fellow Britons affected by the new regulations.
With no flexibility for family illness, vital property maintenance or other emergencies, the 90/180 rule could also create major practical problems for second-home owners.
Canary Islands close to a rapid testing entry scheme
Officials in the Canary Islands are looking to finalise a deal that will allow tourists from “high risk” to present Covid antigen tests to enter the archipelago.
Ángel Víctor Torres, president of the Canary Islands, said that the plan is to have the measures in place for when England’s second lockdown ends on December 2. There is still “a great desire for people to come to the islands”, he said.
Mr Torres added that a report from Hospital de La Candelaria in Tenerife showed “conclusive scientific proof that the antigen tests with which they have worked have all the scientific compliments to be able to measure up to health security required.”
A travel corridor between the UK and the Canary Islands was put in place last month. At present, arrivals into both the Canaries and mainland Spain must show a negative PCR test taken up to 72 hours prior to departure.
The 20 best last-minute Christmas holidays
Whether celebrating a Covid-restricted Christmas with three of your family households sounds appealing or not, at least we now know that there is an alternative, writes Sophie Butler.
While the options are, obviously, much more limited than usual, if you like the idea of Christmas collapsed on a sun-soaked beach, cocktail in hand, rather than on the sitting-room sofa, there is a good range of destinations to choose from on the official travel corridor list, which means you won’t have to self-isolate – even for five days with testing – on your return.
We’ve picked 20 of the best holidays – all from different tour operators – which are still available over Christmas. With the temporarily eased restrictions on meetings set to end on Dec 27, there are also some possibilities for a more uplifting way to see in the new year.
Record low for aircraft orders
Only 11 orders for commercial aircraft were placed last month, new figures show – the lowest for any October on record.
The month also saw 85 aircraft delivered to companies recovered, which is the highest monthly number this year but still lower than the same period in 2019, and the lowest figure for an October since 2012.
So far there have been 448 aircraft orders placed across the world in 2020, around half of the number at this stage in 2019, with the majority being for single-aisle aircraft.
There have been 448 global aircraft orders placed so far in 2020, around 50% behind the same point in 2019, with most orders for single-aisle aircraft. So far there have been 554 cancelled orders for aircraft, with 1,080 engine orders axed.
Chief executive of trade body ADS, Paul Everitt, said:
The aerospace and aviation industries continue to face challenging circumstances and an uncertain path to recovery.
This is reflected in the latest production data, with manufacturers seeing record lows of orders and deliveries.
News from the continent
From Tuesday, shops in Belgium will be allowed to reopen but the country will keep other curbs over the festive period, while five regions in Italy will see restrictions eased from Sunday.
Shops, restaurants, gyms and pubs that serve food will reopen in Ireland from next week, and travel between countries will be allowed from December 18.
In Germany, the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus since the start of the pandemic has risen by 11,169 to 1,053,869, according to figures released this morning. The number of daily Covid-19 deaths has reached a record high for a seventh consecutive day in Turkey.
Welcome to a new week. Here’s a recap of our latest news.
- Disbelief as none of 10 new travel corridors is open to British tourists
- Swiss ski resorts stand firm on their decision to open before Christmas
- Italy to trial ‘Covid-tested’ flights from the US
- The 20 best last-minute Christmas holidays
Follow along here to keep up with today’s travel news.
Source: The Telegraph Travels