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Thirty-three crew members of a Hurtigruten cruise in Norway have been diagnosed with Covid-19, with four hospitalised and the rest in isolation.
The staff, of which there were 160 in total, were tested at the end of a seven-day sailing around the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard yesterday, with 177 passengers on board; none of whom reported any symptoms of the virus while onboard and all of whom had disembarked by the time the news broke.
In what is unfolding as a major test for an industry that is only just getting back on its feet, all guests have been ordered to quarantine and will undergo testing. The Norwegian cruise line has already announced that one passenger has tested positive for coronavirus.
“There was no reason to suspect Covid-19 when the ship docked in Tromso based on the symptoms the four of the crew had,” said Hurtigruten communications manager Rune Thomas Ege. “Fortunately, we received a quick response to the tests, so that both we and the Tromso municipality were able to implement measures.”
The vessel, MS Roald Amundsen, which is the world’s first hybrid-powered ship, remains in Tromso and its next voyage, due to embark yesterday, was cancelled. Earlier this month, Hurtigruten became the first line to announce cruises around Britain, planned for September, since the pandemic forced the industry to pause all operations in March.
The FCO currently advises against all ocean cruises.
What we learnt today
A recap of the key headlines:
- Bookings to Greece surge as British holidaymakers flee Spain
- Hurtigruten cruise cancelled as 33 crew members test positive for Covid-19
- Spanish tourism minister pleads with Britons to return
- Tokyo reports record number of cases
- Denmark opens air bridge with Portugal
- Jet2 'will refund customers returning early from Spain'
Scroll down for more. Thanks for joining us and see you again tomorrow.
Five of the best things to do in the Loire
Cooler, greener, more refined than the heaving south, the Loire Valley in France is an enchanted land of elaborate chateaux, verdant landscapes and world-class vineyards. Steeped in nobility, the Loire is easily France’s valley of the kings.
Our expert Anthony Peregrine has five ways to drink it in...
Edinburgh castle reopens after longest period of closure since WW2
Edinburgh Castle in Scotland has reopened after the coronavirus lockdown, which caused the famous fortress to shut for its longest period since the Second World War.
Stirling Castle and Urquhart Castle have also reopened.
The castle in the centre of Edinburgh has long been one of Scotland’s most popular tourist destinations, but capacity will be reduced and some areas will be restricted in line with social distancing rules.
Tickets must be booked in advance and face coverings will be required in the castle’s shops.
Cyprus welcomes Britons back for the first time since lockdown
Cyprus today opened up to British holidaymakers – its biggest tourist demographic – after restrictions were dropped against UK arrivals. The island initially planned to welcome us back on July 15 but the date was postponed when our infection rates failed to fall to levels that Cyprus considered safe.
Here is one of the first triumphant arrivals...
Kenya Airways resumes international flights after virus curbs lifted
Kenya Airways resumed international flights today, heading to about 30 destinations for the first time since the routes were suspended in March due to the coronavirus.
The carrier, in which Air France KLM holds a small stake, resumed domestic flights in mid-July after the government cleared local air travel.
"We announced we are starting with 27 destinations, we increased it to 30 just following demand," Allan Kilavuka, the airline's chief executive officer, said during a ceremony ahead of seeing off a flight to London.
He said for the rest of the year the airline expected demand to remain below 50 per cent capacity, but it would increase flight frequencies depending on demand.
The pandemic has depressed the global aviation industry, with African carriers alone expected to lose $6 billion this year in revenue.
The FCO still advises against all but essential travel to Kenya.
Busy scenes at Bournemouth today...
It’s America’s greatest road-trip route – and you’ve probably never heard of it
The Lewis and Clark Trail is longer, and more dramatic, than any of the drivable ways to explore the USA, says Chris Leadbeater:
In its near-3,700 miles of stubborn meandering, the trail makes its way through 11 of the 50 states (Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington).
That it does so by cutting across some of the most magnificent aspects of the American landscape – the Great Plains at the heart of the country, the Rocky Mountains which claw fractiously at its skies, the dense forests and rainy demeanour of the upper Pacific states – only adds to its appeal.
Vietnam's Danang to test entire population as outbreak spreads beyond city
Vietnam’s coastal city of Danang plans to test its entire population of 1.1 million people for coronavirus infection, governing authorities said today, as 40 new cases linked to the tourist hotspot were reported across the country, taking total infections to 586, with three deaths.
Most of the new cases are linked to hospitals in the city, where the first locally transmitted infection in more than three months was detected last week.
The Health Ministry has said that up to 800,000 visitors to Danang have left for other parts of the country since July 1, adding that more than 41,000 people have visited three hospitals in the city since.
Vietnam has detected new coronavirus cases in other cities, including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, with links to Danang.
Key players in the African safari industry are raising money for rangers
A group of African tour operators are teaming up with conservation charity Tusk to raise money for wildlife rangers in some of the continent’s most popular safari destinations.
With safari holidays ceasing during the coronavirus pandemic, prized areas such as Tanzania's Serengeti and South Africa's Kruger are struggling to pay the salaries of the rangers, who are the first line of defence against poaching. Despite the devastating cuts to their income, they are still working to tackle the surging illegal wildlife trade.
Exceptional Travel, along with others, have come up with Ride 4 Rangers, an initiative to help protect the work of African rangers, by cycling, walking, running or riding the equivalent of circumnavigating Africa – an estimated 30,000 kilometres. The aim is to contribute to Tusk's greater Wildlife Ranger Challenge, which will see vital funds directly dispersed into the field.
As well as joining one centralised cycle from Land's End to John O’Groats, which sets off on August 15, there is the option to organise your own activity and add to the ambitious total from anywhere in the world.
To take part in the bike ride, or donate to the cause, visit ride4rangers.com.
Spanish tourism minister pleads with Britons to return despite quarantine measures
Spain’s tourism minister has said the country will not impose any reciprocal quarantine measures on travellers arriving from Britain, even as fears rise about a second wave of Covid-19 infections hitting the UK.
Reyes Morato pleaded for tourists to "come back to Spain" in an interview with the Telegraph.
More than 10,000 British tourists have cancelled holidays to Majorca in the first two weeks of August alone after the sudden decision to quarantine travellers on their arrival back in the UK.
Jennifer O'Mahony, reporting from Madrid, has more here.
Holidaymakers rush for Croatia's Adriatic coast
You wouldn't want to be stuck in this traffic jam.
It was feared that following a recent spike in Covid=19 infections, Croatia would be taken off the FCO's "safe list" yesterday, but for now it remains restriction-free. And today, Croatians and foreigners alike were rushing to the Adriatic's northern coast...
Anguish for UK staycationers as cottages are being cancelled at last-minute
A growing number of people who had booked accommodation on Cottages.com, a popular rental platform that offers 18,000 properties, have been complaining after receiving emails telling them their reservations were suddenly unavailable. Most were due to check in within days, had paid the full balance and received confirmation.
Yvonne Moulds, 43, an A&E doctor, was due to stay in a cottage near Inverness with her partner Chris, a teacher. Both key workers, they had booked a week off for some much-needed respite. Three days ago, she tells Nick Trend: “The owner of the cottage phoned me really distressed. She explained she had decided not to rent it out this year, and had informed the agent at the start of the season. She’s had no money from them and it’s not her fault.”
The site has admitted that trips have been cancelled because of technical errors caused by “unprecedented” demand on its website, which meant some listings were double-booked.
A spokesperson for Cottages.com told the Telegraph: “Due to the large number of last-minute bookings we have received there have been a small number of double-booking issues within our system. We have apologised to those customers involved and are working with them to ensure they can rebook, or receive a voucher or a cash refund.”
They added: “Some [proprietors] are choosing to use the property themselves as they are unable to travel abroad for their summer holiday.”
Bookings to Greece surge as British holidaymakers flee Spain
British holidaymakers are flocking to Greece in lieu of Spain as the busiest month for summer holidays gets underway.
The chairman of Sunvil Holiday Group, Noel Josephides has reported a sudden rise in enquiries for 'last-minute, flight-only' bookings to Greece, and not from the company's usual 50-plus demographic. “We know they are people who were likely to go to Spain,” he told iNews.
It comes as Europe's largest tour operator Tui extended the cancellation of all UK holidays to the Spanish Balearic Islands and Canary Islands until August 10 and all holidays to mainland Spain until August 17. Jet2 has also been contacting customers already on holiday there and requesting they fly home earlier; sending empty planes to repatriate them.
Both operators have added extra added services to Greece in order to meet demand.
Greece has fared well through the pandemic compared to the rest of Europe, with only 3.7 new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 14 days. The UK has registered 14 per 100,000 over the same period.
Elsewhere, senior ministers in France and Germany have both warned of possible new lockdowns, and Matt Hancock has said it is "quite likely" that further countries will be dropped from the FCO's quarantine-exempt list as fears of a second wave grips Europe.
Fears over 'unmanageable' beaches amid high numbers of visitors
Beaches are becoming "unmanageable" due to large swathes of visitors, local authorities have warned, prompting fears around keeping people safe in the water.
The Coastguard had its busiest day for more than four years yesterday - when the UK recorded its third hottest day ever - as it dealt with more than 300 incidents, sparking concerns about how sunseekers would keep to social-distancing measures.
Thanet District Council asked people to avoid four of the area's beaches, including Margate's Main Sands, due to the number of visitors.
Leader of the council Cllr Rick Everitt told the PA news agency: "Early on, it became clear that they were going to reach levels of which we were concerned about."
Authorities expressed concern about keeping tourists safe in the water, as well as the potential spread of Covid-19 and maintaining social distancing.
The Cambridges have just escaped to a hideaway in the Scillies
... and so could you, writes Francesca Syz. A self-contained house serviced by a hotel or one benefitting from hotel-quality services seems like a pretty good place to start.
The seven staycationer tribes to look out for this summer
Despite the vagaries of our weather, Britain has become a staycation nation, with 14m people expected to holiday within the UK over the next two months. But which of Michael Hogan's seven staycationer tribes are you?
The unhappy camper? The panicked barrel-scraper? The smug pre-booker?
A look at today's beaches
Tokyo reports record number of cases
The number of new coronavirus cases confirmed in Tokyo today was a new record of around 472, NHK public television quoted Tokyo officials as saying.
It was the second day in a row that the number of cases in the capital rose by more than 400.
Although the Tokyo governor, Yuriko Koike, has said the city could declare its own state of emergency, the central government says there is still no need to do so nationally despite a record spike in several cities around the nation.
Japan’s Okinawa region declared a state of emergency earlier today, with people asked to stay home for two weeks as the popular tourist destination sees an “explosive spread” of cases.
Rolling quarantines may be the final nail in the coffin for the travel industry
According to analysts, the reintroduction of quarantines and the lack of any sector-specific support is ‘catastrophic’ for the industry, reports Oliver Gill.
Becky Lane, an analyst at stockbroker Jefferies states: “We think the sudden change in UK Government policy could have severe implications for customer booking confidence, which could lead to a weaker 2020 summer ‘lates’ market and delayed booking cycle for 2021.”
The “lates” market, where customers wait until the middle of summer to book a holiday, can make or break a travel firm’s entire year.
The downfall of Thomas Cook is a cautionary tale. In 2018 it had a strong start to the year. But the summer heatwave stifled demand for last-minute bookings, triggering a series of profit warnings and putting the original tour operator on the road to ruin a year later.
Can I visit Greece? Latest travel advice
Direct flights from Britain resumed on July 15 and both Tui and Jet 2 have added extra services to Greece in order to meet demand. So what are the practicalities involved in visiting the country at the moment? And how safe is it?
Our freshly updated guide has the answers.
Barbara Taylor Bradford: The English stately homes that inspired my novels
The author Barbara Taylor Bradford has written a piece for us on the glorious stately homes that shaped her imagination:
It was my mother who introduced me to stately homes when I was still a child. She came from Ripon and had grown up in the shadows of Fountains Hall and Fountains Abbey nearby. She went back to her beloved Ripon frequently and she always took me with her.
Looking back, I think my love of stately homes began at that particular time. I truly believe the sights I saw there helped to set my mind working. No wonder I have written so many novels featuring such grand houses, and their fictional occupants behind those ancient walls.
Time to flee the country?
With many Britons now accustomed to working from home, there's a renewed appetite for moving out of the city or leaving the country altogether. Where are people looking?
Property portal Bayut has published new research which found the following countries to be top of the wishlist for Brits to move this year:
- New Zealand
Tourism workers brace for £37bn blow to Thailand's travel economy
Despite a domestic tourism bonanza, the Kingdom’s borders remain shut to international travellers – and the outlook is bleak for businesses, reports Jack Taylor.
According to a recent UN report, Thailand will be country worst-affected by the tourism downturn in the world, second only to Jamaica. Given the high share of female employment and large proportion of female entrepreneurs in the industry, women are expected to bear the brunt of these losses.
When its international borders do open, one of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)'s strategies for recovery is to promote high-end travel experiences for fewer but wealthier visitors. In theory, this can balance the country’s economic needs while minimising the increasing environmental damage from tourism.
In case you missed it from earlier in the week, read the full report here.
My Plan B holiday? Instead of a cottage in France, I got wet in a tent in Norfolk
Last weekend, Judith Woods should have been in Brittany en famille, nursing a chilled glass of cider and watching the bottlenose dolphins breach the waves off La Pointe Saint-Mathieu. Instead, she found myself in an East Sussex field, battling with the elements. She writes:
I think it was shortly before the gazebo blew away in a South Downs twister that I peeped at my phone and allowed myself one last glimpse of The Perfect Red-Shuttered House in France where I was supposed to be.
No, I tell a lie. It was when the tent leaked so catastrophically, the mattress was transformed into blotting paper and for one long, wakeful night, it was wetter inside than out.
Socially distanced Brighton
With yesterday being the hottest day of 2020 so far, beaches around Britain attracted sun-worshippers from near and far. And in Brighton, it looked like people were playing by the rules and keeping their distance...
Denmark opens air bridge with Portugal
From today, people in Denmark can travel to Portugal without restrictions.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that this decision recognises the "positive evolution of the epidemiological situation in Portugal, namely the ability to test on a large scale, detect positive cases, control their transmission and treat them in the most appropriate way".
Denmark joins Greece, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Romania, Belgium and the Netherlands in lifting all or partial travel restrictions previously applied on Portugal.
The British holiday let hotspots seeing the biggest jumps in bookings
It's getting crowded in the UK's post popular staycation spots this summer, even more so than usual, as the below map displays.
Switzerland lights up the Alps to celebrate its national day
Witness the beauty. Switzerland turned a section of the Alps amber last night in a pyrotechnic display to celebrate its national day. The country was founded in 1291.
'If it were a person it would be Poldark': Elizabeth Day visits The Pig - at Harlyn Bay
The author Elizabeth Day enjoyed her first post-lockdown stay at the newly-opened Cornish arm of The Pig, and had a jolly good time:
From the outside, the hotel is handsome but no-nonsense: if it were a person, it would be Poldark, dismounting from his horse after returning from the American War of Independence. But inside, the house gradually reveals its considerable, softer charms, in much the same way as Poldark does when he takes off his shirt
Check-in is done over the phone once I’ve got to my room. The windows have been left open to air it and all public areas are regularly sanitised using “fogging” methods. There are bottles of delicious, mint-scented hand sanitiser everywhere you go. In my room is a “personal safety kit” in a brown bag containing masks, gloves and antibacterial wipes, but most staff and guests opt not to wear any of these, preferring instead to keep a respectful one-metre distance. Inside, it feels safe.
Jet2 'will refund customers returning early from Spain'
Jet2 will refund customers on holiday in Spain who have been asked to return to the UK early, it has been reported.
The airline on Thursday cancelled flights to the UK for hundreds of passengers. But today Jet2 told the BBC that it is operating empty flights to pick up passengers from Spain until August 3. The airline will also refund unused nights for customers forced to come back early by the flight cancellations.
Jet2 said it was "responding to a very fast-moving situation with updates coming from the Government with little or no notice, and we have had to make decisions about our programme accordingly".
"We can assure these customers that we will be in touch with them to resolve any issues that they may have," the airline added.
Yesterday's top headlines
- President of Balearics urges UK to drop blanket travel ban
- Face masks to become mandatory in museums in England
- Antigua to welcome first post-lockdown UK flight – and it's full
- Portugal reopens nightclubs yet country remains on quarantine list
- Luxembourg added to list of countries requiring 14-day quarantine
- Tui and Jet2 cancel more holidays to Spain and its islands