EU agrees plans to ease restrictions on travel – but excludes the UK

beach in portugal - Jose Sarmento Matos/Bloomberg
beach in portugal - Jose Sarmento Matos/Bloomberg

Members of the European Union have agreed today to ease rules over the summer to allow fully vaccinated tourists to travel restriction-free across borders – but have excluded immunised British holidaymakers.

Ambassadors from the 27 states approved a modified proposal that will allow EU residents to avoid tests and quarantines if they have been fully vaccinated for 14 days or more.

Restrictions imposed on non-EU travellers will depend on the level of Covid-19 cases in each nation – currently the UK is excluded from all restriction-free plans due to concerns over the Delta variant.

The EU has introduced a certificate system that indicates immunity to Covid-19 through vaccination or previous infection, or shows evidence of a recent negative test result. The system is set to be ready by July 1 – this week it was reported that one million Europeans have obtained a digital certificate for travel.

Following today’s news, the bloc will loosen its traffic light classification system, which represents the safety of various EU regions and dictates any restrictions. 'Green' areas must now have fewer than 25 cases per 100,000 people in 14 days, with below four per cent of positive tests. That will rise to 50, or 75 if the positivity rate is less than 1 per cent. The limits for the, 'orange' level will also rise.

The new system will apply to non-EU members of the Schengen zone, including Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, but individual countries can still impose their own travel rules if they see fit.

04:07 PM

What have we learnt today?

A re-cap of today's top travel stories.

  • Theresa May: ‘The messaging is mixed and the system chaotic’

  • Heathrow passenger numbers 90 per cent below pre-pandemic levels

  • Johnson and Biden 'keen to get travel up and running' but announcement not imminent

  • British Airways puts thousands of staff back on furlough

  • Gen Z driving staycation boom

  • Portugal set to scrap costly tests week after green snub

  • One in eight adults planning trip abroad this summer - ONS

Join us on Monday for more travel news from around the world.

04:00 PM

Russia records highest daily Covid cases since February

Russia reported 12,505 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours on Friday, its highest number of daily infections since late February, taking the national tally to 5,180,454 since the pandemic began.

Moscow expects to see a peak of infections in June or July, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on state TV. Sobyanin added that around half of Moscow's residents had developed immunity.

"We thought the spring peak of the pandemic would come in April-May, as last year, but in fact it has shifted to June-July and is pretty high," the RIA news agency quoted him as saying. He added that current restrictions in the city would not be intensified.

The government's coronavirus task force said 396 more people had died, pushing the national death toll to 125,674.

The federal statistics agency has kept a separate toll and has said that Russia recorded around 270,000 deaths related to Covid-19 between April 2020 and April 2021.

03:53 PM

An update from our man on the road

Simon Parker is cycling the circumference of Britain for Telegraph Travel. He's attempting 95 miles today. God speed, Simon!

You can read about his adventures, here.

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03:31 PM

What are the cases looking like in Portugal, Malta and Greece?

Here's a quick look at the case numbers in three green-list hopefuls.

Portugal

Malta

Greece

03:14 PM

The new sleeper service that will reignite your romance with train travel

sleeper train
sleeper train

Lovers of the romance of rail travel have been celebrating the recent return of a sleeper train service linking the French capital and the Riviera after a gap of three and a half years. And with France this week (June 9) reopening its doors to fully vaccinated visitors from the UK, adventurous spirits may be tempted to hop on board and enjoy a more memorable way of getting to the Côte d’Azur.

With the new service from Paris to Nice now up and running, sleeper trains are back in vogue, says Adrian Bridge, find out why here.

03:04 PM

In focus: The red list

It has been a week since Grant Shapps announced updates to the Government’s international travel traffic light system. The minimal changes included seven additions to the red list.

Here’s a reminder of the destinations, from which arrivals face a stay in a quarantine hotel.

02:54 PM

America’s ski resorts celebrate bumper season

Despite a global pandemic, America’s ski resorts are celebrating the fifth best winter for visitor numbers since records began in 1979.

The National Ski Areas Association (NSSA) reports that during the 2020/21 season resorts welcomed 59 million visitors and ski areas, on average, were able to open for 112 days during the winter.

"What a year it has been. From utter uncertainty to a top 10 season in terms of participation – it shows the wide spectrum that our industry bridged this year," said Kelly Pawlak, NSAA President and CEO. "We are proud of the collaborative adoption of Covid-19 best practices that all ski areas implemented and diligently followed from opening to closing day. Americans yearned for safe outdoor recreation, and ski areas across the country delivered."

Unlike their cousins in Europe, which remain largely closed for the entire winter, except in Switzerland, America’s ski resorts open on schedule and remain in operation throughout the season. Huge efforts were made to implement Covid restrictions, including compulsory reservation systems to hit the slopes, social distancing, reduced capacity on lifts and mask wearing.

squaw valley
squaw valley

Small and medium-size resorts saw a particularly good season for visitor numbers, with skiers choosing to stay closer to home and visit their local hills, with more mid-week visits.

"People had to change their habits during the pandemic, and ski areas were no different," Pawlak said. "We tried new things and quickly learned that not only did they function as planned but many of these ‘work arounds’ improved the experience for our guests and staff members. Ski area operators will use this experience to continue trying new techniques and technology."

02:38 PM

There’s so much more to Scotland than the 'Harry Potter' bridge

A campaign has launched to encourage visitors to Scotland to explore beyond its most famous landmarks – namely the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which was used as part of the filming of the Harry Potter film franchise.

Sine MacKellaig-Davis, Chair of Road to the Isles Marketing Group, said: "Whilst some 350,000 tourists visited the Glenfinnan Viaduct and monument before Covid, a large percentage of those didn't extend their visit west, and missed out on the large variety of arts, culture, wildlife, beaches, sunsets and sights found beyond the bridge.

"The viaduct and monument are incredible sights to see and we're extremely fortunate that tourists flock to see it, but there is so much more to the region.

"As we start to move in the right direction following a tough year for tourism and hospitality, we want people to travel the road less travelled, spend some more time immersed in the true West Highland culture, and discover the abundance of hidden gems on the coast that will excite, inspire and entertain."

The campaign #MyRoadtotheIsles aims to encourage tourists to 'explore beyond the bridge'

Keen to add some variety to your Scottish staycation itinerary? Here we reveal the top 10 places to visit in Scotland this summer. Below we take a look at some of the highlights.

The beaches on the Outer Hebrides are tropical  - Peter Burnett/Getty
The beaches on the Outer Hebrides are tropical - Peter Burnett/Getty
The Cairngorms is a true mountain wilderness - Lee Gillion/Getty
The Cairngorms is a true mountain wilderness - Lee Gillion/Getty
edinburgh - John Lawson/Getty
edinburgh - John Lawson/Getty

02:23 PM

Renewed love for holiday homes

Three quarters of holiday homeowners admit to appreciating it more than ever before after the impacts of the pandemic on travel.

A survey by holiday park operator Haulfryn found that 74 per cent of people who have a holiday home have a renewed appreciation for their property, while over half of Britons are more grateful for the chance to take a holiday.

Holiday homes are becoming more appealing to younger generations too – almost half of 18- to 24-year-olds said they’d like to spend more time away from their permanent address thanks to flexible working patterns. The report revealed anecdotal evidence across the industry that second home buyers are getting younger, especially when it comes to family-friendly properties and activity-oriented holiday parks.

02:11 PM

Wizz Air expects its summer flying to beat pre-pandemic levels

Wizz Air is likely to fly more this summer than it did pre-pandemic, said its chief executive, as European Covid-19 travel restrictions loosen with vaccine passports being used within the bloc.

"We are ramping up. We are seeing a less constrained environment going into peak summer and quite likely we're going to be above our 2019 capacity in a month or two from now," chief executive Jozsef Varadi told an online airlines event.

He said Wizz was already operating about 60-65 per cent of its pre-pandemic 2019 capacity.

That puts Hungary-based Wizz, which has an eastern European focus, ahead of many other European airlines which are operating less than half their pre-pandemic capacity.

01:57 PM

A night of volcanic eruptions in London

Iceland is one of the few countries to be on the UK’s green list, but it remains relatively unvisited by Britons. In an effort to entice visitors to the destination the country’s national airline is bringing a slice of Iceland to England’s capital.

Tonight, Icelandair will project footage of the Fagradalsfjall volcano, currently erupting just outside of Reykjavik, onto the walls of three iconic London buildings at three different locations across the capital.

Fagradalsfjall volcano
Fagradalsfjall volcano

Projections will start at 9pm and carry on until midnight and Londoners who manage to spot the footage have the chance to win a week's package holiday to Iceland by posting a selfie in front of the ‘erupting’ building on social media - entry details of the competition, which is open until June 16, can be found on the Icelandair website.

01:45 PM

20 reasons to holiday in Cheshire this year

tatton park
tatton park

As we gear up for the summer holidays, the holiday hotspots of Cornwall, the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales are preparing for a bumper year of tourism. Foreign holidays are still in a mire of uncertainty, and more Britons than ever before are planning to spend July and August 'holidaying at home', with competition for bed and board in the South West looking particularly fierce.

But what of other parts of the country? Of Cheshire, for instance? This beautiful yet sadly underappreciated county in the North West is, like everywhere else, steadily opening up for business after so much pandemic-wrought turmoil, but relatively few will decide to spend their summer holidays exploring its lush green countryside, or ambling through the streets of pretty Chester. Perhaps this is the year to change that.

Here's how to make the most of this beautiful yet underrated county.

01:32 PM

Gibraltar adds new testing requirements for unvaccinated visitors

From this Sunday (June 13) anybody travelling to green-listed Gibraltar who is not fully vaccinated will be required to take a pre-flight Covid-19 test and present a negative result on their passenger locator form.

There are a number of varying rules for travel to Gibraltar – Aal arrivals, including vaccinated travellers still require a free, on arrival lateral flow COVID test at the Gibraltar airport. all passengers must also fill out a passenger locator form and day trippers are allowed to visit without any tests as long as they remain in their bubble.

01:18 PM

Government launches campaign to boost British holidays

A new rail pass and vouchers for popular tourist attractions are at the heart of a plan to return domestic tourism in the UK to pre-pandemic levels by 2022 and international tourism by 2023.

A £10 million voucher scheme will be launched by The National Lottery this autumn to encourage Britons to take trips in the UK beyond the peak summer season, with players having the chance to claim vouchers to redeem at tourist attractions across the nation between September 2021 and March 2022.

A rail pass for staycationers will be launched later this year, helping to make it easier and more sustainable for holidaymakers to get around the country. The new pass will build on the success of the BritRail pass, which is sold through VisitBritain and currently gives international visitors flexible travel across the country, as well as providing discounted entry to tourism attractions.

Pre-pandemic, England looked set to hit 100 million domestic overnight trips in 2020. In 2019, 41 million international visitors came to the UK for business or leisure, spending over £28 billion whilst here and putting the UK in the top 5 countries globally for inbound visitor spending.

However, the sector has been hugely affected by the pandemic, with cities amongst the most impacted areas. £19 million has also been earmarked for marketing campaigns to promote cities and towns across the country, with a £5.5 million domestic campaign already underway.

london skyline - Pawel Libera/Getty
london skyline - Pawel Libera/Getty

12:54 PM

I swapped the Maldives for a forest holiday in Britain – and found the peace I was looking for

Penny Walker writes: "Disappointed that my holiday to the Maldives had been cancelled for the fourth time in 14 months, I had decided to seek solace in the one green-list destination that won’t disappear from the list anytime soon (we hope) – Britain."

Penny Walker toasts the success of her stay 
Penny Walker toasts the success of her stay

Read her feature, here.

12:38 PM

The most truthful and sensitive portrait of Cornwall

An acclaimed 2019 film about the horrors of Cornish gentrification screens in Carbis Bay this week. It will make for uncomfortable viewing, writes Tanya Gold.

Ed Rowe as Martin, in Bait 
Ed Rowe as Martin, in Bait

Read more about 'Bait', here.

12:24 PM

I’ve lived amongst the French for 30 years – which of the stereotypes are true?

What do the French think of us?

"When they think of us at all, which isn’t surprisingly often, they appreciate our TV shows, the city of Edinburgh, the monarchy, rock music, soccer, kilts on Scotsmen, comedy (“Monty Peeton!”), fish n’ chips, Shakespeare and Agatha Christie, a stiff upper lip and sense of fair play (both also untranslatable into French), pubs, tweed and the full English. They’re also keen on the politeness, appreciation and cash we bring when visiting their country."

The rude French waiter trope endures - Getty
The rude French waiter trope endures - Getty

But what about the cliches. Sex-obsessed? Arrogant? Lazy? Our Englishman in France explains which of the stereotypes are true. Read Anthony Peregrine's piece here.

12:17 PM

No 10 defends Indian variant border policy after claims it acted too late

Downing Street has defended its borders policy in relation to the Delta variant of coronavirus, which was first identified in India.

Asked whether Boris Johnson regretted not putting India on the red list of travel restrictions sooner, now that 91 per cent of new cases are of the Delta variant, the Prime Minister's spokesman said: "Well I think you've heard both the Prime Minister and Health Secretary answer questions on that.

"Specifically, I would point to the tough border measures that we've had in place for a fair amount of time now, that we've ensured that anybody arriving from India needed to quarantine at home, and then later as you said they were put on the red list which means that people have to quarantine in a hotel if they arrive in the UK from India."

He added: "I'd also point to the fact that throughout that period we were also encouraging people not to travel outside the UK, in fact it was - before the relaxations - it was illegal to travel outside the UK other than for reasons, exceptional reasons, that we set out."

12:03 PM

Britain By Bike: Hobnobs and a tailwind

Our roaming reporter Simon Parker is continuing his trip around Britain, on his bike. Today’s he’s on his way to Scarborough, with plenty of fuel in his tank.

Read his latest dispatch from the south east here and follow his pursuits on Twitter.

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11:53 AM

One in eight adults planning trip abroad this summer - ONS

Around one in eight British adults are planning a trip abroad this summer, figures suggest.

Some 12 per cent of adults said they plan to go on a trip abroad before September, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Of these, 71 per cent said this would be for a holiday.

Younger groups were more likely to be planning a trip: 16 per cent of 30- to 34-year-olds compared to 8 per cent of adults aged 70 and over.

The ONS collected responses from 4,153 people between June 2 and 6, when it was announced Portugal was being downgraded from the quarantine-free green list to the amber list.

11:41 AM

Portugal set to scrap costly tests week after green snub

Prices of holidays to Portugal have nosedived a week after it was announced the destination was to be dropped from the UK's green list.

The average cost of a summer break in Portugal, in July or August, fell by 64 per cent following last Thursday’s news, compared with the previous week. Search interest in the destination also plummeted by 85 per cent, according to data from TravelSupermarket.

A family of four is now able to secure a seven-night package holiday to amber-listed Portugal during the school holidays for as little as £180 per person, according to the comparison website.

portugal
portugal

Portugal has also reportedly dropped the requirement for all arrivals from the UK to have proof of a negative PCR test – instead saying travellers will reportedly be able to use antigen tests, including lateral flow tests, which are significantly cheaper to buy, to enter the country. This follows news that Which? consumer group has found travel testing firms have been advertising misleading prices, prompting a review. The tests must, however, still be organised privately – not through the NHS.

While the Government advises against holidays to amber-listed countries, the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) does not advise against travel to Portugal, meaning it is not against the law to visit and travel insurance will be valid. Former Prime Minister Theresa May has called the current rules “chaotic,” warning “we will never be able to travel abroad ever again” if things didn’t change.

11:13 AM

In pictures: Japan may keep restrictions in place until Olympic Games start

The Japanese government is considering ending a state of emergency in Tokyo as scheduled on June 20, but keeping some curbs such as on restaurant hours until the Olympics start in July, the Mainichi daily reported.

On Friday, the head of Japan’s main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, Yukio Edano, called for the global sporting event to be postponed or cancelled, warning there was an “extremely high risk” of an explosive outbreak in August and September if they went ahead.

A final decision is expected late next week. In the meantime here’s the view from on the ground in Japan.

Meigetsu-in Buddhist temple -  Kiichiro Sato/AP
Meigetsu-in Buddhist temple - Kiichiro Sato/AP
worker - Hiro Komae/AP
worker - Hiro Komae/AP
olympic statium - Pawel Kopczynski/Reuters
olympic statium - Pawel Kopczynski/Reuters
torch relay - Carl Court/Getty
torch relay - Carl Court/Getty

10:57 AM

Huge crowds return to sporting events in US

Life is returning to normal across the Pond and sports fans have returned to the nation’s major events.

A video shows scenes in Las Vegas following an ice hockey game between the Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche, with crowds descending an escalator with many people not wearing masks.

In Nevada, 38 per cent of the population are now fully vaccinated and there’s currently nine cases per 100,000 residents – but infection rates have risen in the last two weeks. By comparison, the US as a whole has given two doses to 52 per cent of residents and the seven-day case rate is 30 per 100,000.

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10:40 AM

Germany removes US from travel risk list

All eyes are on when the UK will resume travel with the United States, but today Germany has taken the US off its travel risk list.

Cyprus, Croatia, Canada, Switzerland, Austria, Portugal and some regions in Greece have also been reclassified and are no longer considered a risk to travellers. However, Malaysia and Sri Lanka have been added to the list of high incidence areas.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases said the new classifications apply from Sunday.

The UK remains an ‘area of variant concern’ meaning Britons are not allowed to enter unless for specific reasons – those who can visit face quarantine and extensive testing.

Read the latest travel advice for Germany here.

10:27 AM

Gen Z driving staycation boom

Following comments from Ministers this week that Britons should spend the summer visiting ‘the fabulous places’ the UK has to offer, new research has found that it’s the younger generation, Gen Z, that is driving the boom in holidays on home soil.

18 to 24 year olds are spending the most, on average £459 per person, on a staycation this summer, according to Square, a global payment system. This is nearly £100 more than the average spend of £377.

lake district
lake district

It's not just the younger generation keen to explore the UK though. Nearly half (45 per cent) of all UK holidaymakers are planning to stay on home soil until next year, according to the research, with Cornwall (24 per cent), the Lake District (21 per cent) and Scotland (16 per cent) the destinations of choice – the majority of people (61 per cent) admit they’ll rebook a UK holiday in a place they’ve visited before.

10:13 AM

Staycations: Britain’s beautiful alternatives

isle of wight
isle of wight

There's no denying that the Lake District, Snowdonia, and our other National Parks hog all the limelight when it comes to choosing a location for a staycation – and will likely be overwhelmed this summer as British breaks remain in vogue.

If you're looking to explore Britain's great outdoors this summer but are reluctant to join the masses, head instead to one of these 20 lesser-visited Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) – from Lancashire’s Forest of Bowland to the Isle of Wight, they’re truly beautiful.

10:00 AM

Record number of skiers hit the slopes in New Zealand as season begins

Winter is underway in the southern hemisphere. By midday on the first day of the ski season at New Zealand’s Mt Hutt ski resort more than 2,200 people had arrived to hit the slopes – surpassing the previous record for first-day visitors from 2009.

“For an opening day that’s a great indicator of what’s in store for us for the rest of the season,” said the ski area’s manager James McKenzie.

Some eager skiers decided to camp at the base of the slopes in order to bag the first seats on the resort’s lifts. Brendan Lindsay, from nearby Christchurch, was among the first to ride the resort’s new eight-seater chairlift – the first of its kind in New Zealand – she camped for two nights to win a front-row place in the queue.

“We’ve got a bluebird day with clear skies, no wind. It’s absolutely idyllic up here with a lot of excited people,” said McKenzie.

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09:47 AM

The abandoned US holiday resort that's been left out to dry

lake mead - Ethan Miller/Getty
lake mead - Ethan Miller/Getty

America’s largest reservoir, Lake Mead, has dropped to its lowest ever level, causing its previously busy shores to become ghostly deserts.

Rosemary Behan visited the 120-mile long lake, a geographic extension of the Grand Canyon, to witness the devastating impact this has had on businesses and holidaymakers, amid fears the ‘mega drought’ will prompt a federally declared water shortage later this summer.

Read her reports here.

09:35 AM

Wizz Air runs special flight for Welsh football fans

The Welsh national football team has set up camp in Azerbaijan’s capital city ahead of their first UEFA Euro’s match on Saturday.

To ensure they have supporters there to watch Wizz Air is set to operate a special flight for football fans from Cardiff airport to Baku. Some 2,000 Wales supporters are due to make the 3,000-mile trip to the shores of the Caspian Sea for their European Championship games against Switzerland and Turkey.

The fans will travel against the advice of the Welsh Government however, with Azerbaijan being on the amber list. The one-off service comes ahead of the budget carrier opening a new base at Cardiff airport this summer with routes to destinations such as Larnaca, Corfu, Heraklion, Faro, Alicante, Lanzarote, Palma, Tenerife and Jersey.

wizz air
wizz air

09:23 AM

Predictions: The green list

It’s that time again, when travel experts share their thoughts on the future of the green list.

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, has used the EU’s benchmark of 75 cases per 100,000 people over the past 14 days to update his traffic light predictions – in the running are the Canary Islands, Malta, Italy and Jamaica.

View the current green list here.

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09:12 AM

Reaction: Calls for clear timeline for transatlantic travel

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has joined other industry bosses in the applause of news that talks are underway to resume transatlantic travel, but a clear timeline is needed.

Virginia Messina, Senior Vice President and Acting CEO, WTTC said:

Unless we have a clear timeline and unlock transatlantic travel by 4 July at the latest, we will continue to see jobs lost and businesses go under.

Nearly half of all adults in both countries are fully-jabbed and could travel seamlessly straight away, enabling airlines and the wider travel sector to recover quickly. Those not vaccinated should be allowed to travel with negative test proof.

In 2019 the US was the biggest source market for the UK in terms of visitor numbers, the UK was third biggest source market for the US. This shows just how vital a corridor would be in boosting both economies.

08:58 AM

Mask rules eased for fully vaccinated Americans

American citizens who have had two doses of a coronavirus vaccine will no longer need to wear a face mask in open-air areas of public transport, such as waiting areas or open-air seating.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Thursday it plans to update its face masks order to better align with its guidance for fully vaccinated people.

The agency maintains that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people should continue to wear masks indoors in public transportation settings, except under certain circumstances, like when eating or drinking.

08:48 AM

‘Covid has sucked the joy out of solo travel’

“Is it just you?” Usually such loaded language wouldn’t get to me. I am one of those people who wears solo travel on my sleeve like it’s a badge of honour, writes Lottie Gross.

I love to be that mysterious woman sitting alone at the bar, a novel or notebook in front of me while I sip a negroni or glass of sparkling wine. I’m a confident, proud solo traveller – in normal times, that is. But when the waitress at the pub in Snowdonia asked if it was “just” me, with a slightly judgey tilt of her head and grimace on her face that said “you’re really going to take up all that space just for you?”, I immediately felt incredibly guilty.

Read why, post-pandemic, our domestic tourism industry is just not set up for solo travellers and have your say.

lottie
lottie

08:37 AM

British Airways puts thousands of staff back on furlough

british airways - John Sibley/Reuters
british airways - John Sibley/Reuters

British Airways has furloughed thousands of its staff, citing delays to travel as the reason behind its decision.

The airline confirmed on Thursday that a large number of its workers – including management staff – have been put back onto the scheme. Workers were being brought off furlough ahead of the summer holiday period after the Government set May 17 as the date for the restart of international travel. However, no top holiday destinations are on the green list.

It comes as the Government is under pressure to reopen international travel. On Thursday, Theresa May attacked ministers, warning that Britain is “shut for business” because of travel restrictions that are “incomprehensible” in one of the most vaccinated countries in the world.

Read the full story here.

08:25 AM

North America’s 'first' fully vaccinated cruise sets sail – but two passengers test positive

It was billed as the first cruise in North America to require all passengers and crew to be fully vaccinated.

However, a voyage that had raised hopes of an end to what has been a grim year for the cruise ship industry has suffered a significant blow after two guests tested positive for coronavirus.

The pair, who were asymptomatic, were aboard the Celebrity Millennium vessel, operated by Royal Caribbean’s Celebrity Cruises from the Caribbean island of St Maarten – with 650 crew members and around 600 fellow passengers.

A statement from Celebrity Millennium said: "This situation demonstrates that our rigorous health and safety protocols work to protect our crew, guests and the communities we visit."

08:15 AM

Johnson and Biden 'keen to get travel up and running' but announcement not imminent

biden and boris - Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
biden and boris - Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Boris Johnson and Joe Biden are keen to get travel up and running, the PM's spokesman has said.

However, speaking to Sky News this morning, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the resumption of travel between the UK and the US was discussed by the duo but there will be no announcement "imminently".

"We all want to do it, it was something that was discussed yesterday and we've got an idea... but it's not something that we'll be announcing imminently," he said.

08:06 AM

Portugal: What are the rules?

Portugal joined the amber list on Tuesday meaning returning travellers face quarantine and extensive testing.

However, despite Government advice warning otherwise, Britons are able to travel to a select number of amber-listed countries, including Portugal, because the Foreign Office does not advise against travel to them.

Confused? Here are all the rules on amber list holidays.

07:56 AM

Heathrow passenger numbers 90 per cent below pre-pandemic levels

Passenger numbers at Heathrow are languishing at 90 per cent below pre-pandemic levels, the airport said.

Just 675,000 people travelled through the UK’s busiest airport last month, compared with 6,769,000 in May 2019, reports the PA.

Chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: "With the G7 starting today, ministers have a chance to kick-start the green global recovery by agreeing how to resume international travel safely and setting a mandate for sustainable aviation fuels that will decarbonise aviation.

"This is the time for them to show global leadership."

07:48 AM

Cornwall resident’s share anger over the G7 summit

Residents in Cornwall are used to a regular influx of holidaymakers but the arrival of delegates from foreign nations for the G7 summit has caused friction in the seaside resort of St Ives.

Andrea Hodgson, 78, said it was "pretty awful" the G7 is being held in Cornwall this year.

Mrs Hodgson told the PA news agency: "It's totally inappropriate, it's not climate-friendly, it's a total waste of money. They've closed our hospital, they've closed our police station and they are wasting millions and millions of pounds for international people to have a party.

st ives - Hugh Hastings/Getty
st ives - Hugh Hastings/Getty

"It could all be done online. I'm really angry about it - the number of people that are coming down all through lockdown. We've been locked away here so we can't even go outside of our front door."

She added: "The people are being marginalised here - and the G7 is making it worse."

07:40 AM

Theresa May: ‘The messaging is mixed and the system chaotic’

During a Parliamentary debate on the aviation sector, former Prime Minister Theresa May said Britain had gone backwards, not forwards, in its travel policy despite the success of the vaccine programme.

She said that a year ago ministers promised they were “working hard” to get internationally agreed health standard measures in place but: “One year on we are no further forward, indeed what we have is a devastated industry, jobs lost and global Britain shut for business. More than not being any further forward, we’ve gone backwards.

“We now have over 50 per cent of the adult population vaccinated – a wonderful programme – yet we’re more restricted on travel than we were last year.

“In 2020, I went to Switzerland in August, South Korea in September, there was no vaccine and travel was possible – this year there is a vaccine, travel is not possible. I really don’t understand the stance the Government is taking.”

The Telegraph’s politics team has the full story.

07:35 AM

Travel testing firms' kits cost twice as much as advertised

Travel testing firms have been accused of overcharging holidaymakers after advertising kits for up to half the price that the customer actually had to pay.

An investigation by Which?, the consumer group, found three of the cheapest firms on the Government’s website claimed to provide tests for as little as £60 when they actually cost twice as much.

Rory Boland, Which? Travel Editor, said: “Weeks on from some international travel being allowed to resume, it’s very concerning to still be uncovering such serious problems with the Government’s testing system for travellers.

“These are problems that could have easily been ironed out well ahead of travel restarting, had proper regulatory oversight been ensured early on.”

Charles Hymas has the full story.

07:32 AM

What happened yesterday?

Before we begin, let's take a look at Thursday's top headlines:

  • EU expected to agree on easing travel rules

  • Travel boss: 'Govt. won't permit quarantine-free trips to Europe/US until late July'

  • France opens borders to vaccinated overseas tourists

  • International tourist arrivals down 83% in first quarter of 2021

  • Two-thirds of Britons to ignore Government advice on foreign holidays

  • Airlines demand support amid fears of summer fizzle

Now, on with today's news.