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Travel latest: Cases in France fall, raising hopes it can avoid holiday quarantine

France recorded 785 new Covid-19 cases on Monday, down from over 2,200 on Friday, raising hopes that the county could avoid being added to the UK’s quarantine list. 

A spike in infection rates has led to fears that France could be struck from the travel “green list” this week, impacting the holiday plans of hundreds of thousands of Britons who could be required to self-isolate on return from the country.

Holidaymakers were reminded by Downing Street last night that “there is no risk free way of travelling overseas,” with Boris Johnson saying that he would “not hesitate” to bring in quarantine for other countries.

Paul Charles, spokesperson for campaign group Quash Quarantine, said on Monday that he understood France, along with Malta, Switzerland, Poland and the Netherlands, could be subject to fresh restrictions. 

The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) meets today to analyse the latest data on coronavirus cases across the world, with the Government’s decision on the quarantine list following in the next few days.

France’s health ministry reported that the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections had risen by 4,854 to 202,775 over the past three days. here were 2,184 new infections on Saturday, 1,885 on Sunday and 785 on Monday, the ministry said in separate statements.

Follow the latest travel news below

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10:00AM

 Rio considers app for beachgoers to reserve space

Visitors to Rio de Janeiro’s could soon be able to reserve socially-distanced sunbathing spots through a mobile app, according to the city’s mayor.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, beachgoers in Rio have, officially at least, not be allowed to simply sit down on the beaches and take in the sun.

Copacabana beach

Copacabana beach on August 2

Credit:
Getty

However, the city’s beaches have often been full recently, especially on weekends, as visitors ignore restrictions aimed at fighting the world’s second worst outbreak.

Now city officials are hoping to turn to technology to help ensure that social-distancing measures, including and proper conditions for sunbathing, are respected.

9:47AM

Bhutan heads into lockdown for the first time

Bhutan has ordered its first nationwide lockdown after a returning resident tested positive for coronavirus after being discharged from quarantine.

The case took the total in the tiny Himalayan kingdom to 113, still the lowest in South Asia.

The country has yet to record a fatality.

Bhutan, which is heavily reliant on high-end tourists, banned tourism in March after an American visitor tested positive for the virus, and ordered a three week mandatory quarantine for everyone returning from abroad.

9:41AM

Finland to mandate tests for travellers from high-risk countries

Finland is to make Covid tests and quarantine compulsory for travellers from some “high-risk” countries, a Government minister said on Monday. 

This move comes after 24 of 157 passengers arriving in Finland from Skopje in North Macedonia tested positive for the virus.

Voluntary testing was carried out at Turku airport in Finland on Saturday for all passengers arriving on a flight from Skopje after authorities had traced flights from North Macedonia and Bucharest in Romania as two main sources of recent new coronavirus infections in Finland.

A mandatory two-week quarantine and possible testing will apply to arrivals from any country with more than 8 to 10 new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people over the last 14-days, authorities said.

9:30AM

Greece shuts down Museum of the Ancient Agora

Greece’s culture ministry is closing down the Museum of the Ancient Agora, a major archaeological site in central Athens, for two weeks after a cleaner there was diagnosed with Covid-19. 

The country also announced yesterday that it is imposing a curfew for restaurants and bars in some of its top tourist destinations after new coronavirus infections hit a new high. The restrictions will be in place from today until August 23.

Restaurants and bars will be closed from midnight to 7am, including on the popular holiday islands of Mykonos, Santorini, Corfu, Rhodes and Crete. 

9:21AM

Germans flout virus rules at ‘crazy and wild’ U-Bahn parties

Video has emerged of people ignoring social distancing rules and holding spontaneous “corona parties” on crowded Berlin subway trains late at night, reports Justin Huggler.

Footage shared extensively on social media shows an U-Bahn carriage packed with young passengers dancing and singing along to loud music.

Some of the more adventurous passengers are climbing on the seats and hanging from the handrails.  Almost none of those visible are wearing face masks, despite the fact failure to wear one is punishable with a fine of up to €500 (£450).

Read the full story.

9:18AM

Spanish government defends Covid response

The Spanish government has defended its response to the coronavirus pandemic after official data showed the country had registered the highest total number of cases in western Europe, overtaking Britain.

“Appropriate measures are being taken to control the pandemic in coordination” with the regions, the government said in a statement. “The data shows that we are being very active in tracking and detecting the virus.”

Spanish Health ministry data from Monday showed 1,486 new cases were diagnosed in the past day bringing the cumulative total to 322,980.

On July 25,  Spain was added to the UK’s quarantine list following a spike in infection rates in the country.

9:09AM

Global Covid cases have hit 20 million, says tally

The global number of Covid-19 cases has reached 20 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Centre.

This number was reaches in the early hours of Tuesday morning, UK time, with 20,011,186 cases worldwide.

The total number of global coronavirus deaths stands at 734,664, according to experts at Johns Hopkins, the American university whose aggregated tally has become the main reference for monitoring the disease.

9:07AM

Heathrow’s July passenger numbers down 89 per cent year-on-year

Heathrow airport’s passenger numbers were down 89 per cent in July on the previous year to 860,000, due to the ongoing restrictions on travel.

The numbers reveal a slight uptick of travellers since the coronavirus crisis began, with the help of “travel corridors” since the introduction of “travel corridors” on July 4. 

Some 60 per cent of Heathrow’s route network remained grounded, according to the airport. Heathrow thinks airport testing could safely open up these routes and restart the UK’s economic recovery.

8:56AM

No ‘risk-free’ overseas travel, says Downing Street

There is “no risk-free way of travelling overseas” Downing Street has warned, after Boris Johnson said he would “not hesitate” to impose quarantine for other countries.

Alongside France, other countries that are at risk of being dropped from the travel “green list” include the Netherlands, Switzerland, Poland and Malta, while there are hopes that Portugal may be reinstated.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We have been updating the exemptions list on a weekly basis in order to make sure that it reflects the changes in the international health picture.

“Unfortunately, during this pandemic there isn’t a risk-free way of travelling overseas. The population’s made a huge effort to get the disease down to the levels that we’re seeing in the UK, and if we feel that we need to act in relation to the travel exemptions list, then we’ll do so.”

8:52AM

What happened yesterday?

The key travel headlines from Mondau:

  • Portugal moving towards ‘safe’ list

  • France and Greece tighten coronavirus restrictions

  • National Trust bemoans increase in ‘fly-camping’

  • Air travel volumes may have peaked for 2020

  • UK heatwave to end in thunderstorm

Now onto today’s news

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