Tag Archives: Leisure & Recreation (NEC) (TRBC level 5)

Johnson of the UK will set travel plans once the vaccine program begins | Instant News


LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will lay out plans to reopen the economy and finally relaunch international travel on Monday when he updates his coronavirus roadmap, aided by one of the world’s fastest vaccine launches.

As much of Europe enters a new lockdown to deal with soaring cases, Johnson will provide an update on his staggered plans to ease restrictions in the coming months, a huge boost for one of the hardest-hit countries during the pandemic.

Johnson is expected to confirm that non-essential retail, outdoor hospitality and hairdressers can reopen on April 12 in the UK, while he will also provide further details on vaccine passports and international travel.

Airlines are struggling to survive after a year of barely traveling, and government plans to use traffic light systems for countries based on infection and vaccination rates provide a glimmer of hope that some form of vacation could take place.

Under current plans, international travel will not resume until May 17 at the earliest. The Financial Times says Johnson is not expected to set a specific timeframe.

Gradual loosening of rules will also be helped by increased availability of testing, with everyone in the UK entitled to have a rapid COVID-19 test twice a week to prevent an outbreak and find people who are asymptomatic.

“As we continue to make good progress in our vaccine program and with our roadmap for carefully reducing restrictions, regular rapid testing is even more important to ensure those efforts are not wasted,” Johnson said in a statement.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are following their own similar path from the tight lockdowns imposed earlier this year.

The UK can pursue recovery after giving AstraZeneca and Pfizer injections to more than half of the adult population. The reopening of schools in March has also not caused a spike in cases, although there has been an increase in more testing.

But Britain has been hit hard by the pandemic. With nearly 127,000 deaths, it has the fifth highest death toll in the world after the United States, Brazil, Russia and India.

In 2020, gross domestic product fell 9.8%, the largest in more than three centuries and one of the deepest contractions in the world. But households have been saving up, and sterling has strengthened against the euro ahead of its reopening.

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The cooped up Spaniards are envious when Germans flock to Mallorca | Instant News


MADRID (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of Germans are planning a last-minute Easter holiday to the sun-kissed Spanish islands, upsetting many Spaniards, who are not allowed to do the same due to travel bans, upset.

FILE PHOTOS: People sunbathing and swimming on El Arenal beach, amidst the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, August 15, 2020. REUTERS / Enrique Calvo

“It makes absolutely no sense that in Spain we can’t move between regions but any foreigner can enter … and spread the infection,” said Emilio Rivas, 23, who lives in Madrid.

The young tax assessor wants to go out of town for the holidays but must stay home because Spain banned travel between territories over Easter to avoid a repeat of the spike in transmission seen after the easing of restrictions over Christmas.

But tourists from European countries with higher infection rates such as France or Germany can fly for holidays as long as they have a negative Covid-19 test result – something even high-profile health official Fernando Simon described as “inappropriate”.

As Berlin last week lifted quarantine requirements for travelers returning from the Balearic islands, demand for flights to the islands soared, with tourists from France and elsewhere also prominently visible on Madrid’s streets.

However, the German government still advised against nonessential travel. “The lack of a travel warning is not an invitation to travel,” a foreign ministry spokesman said earlier this week.

Retired Madrid resident Angelines Ruiz complained of having to stay behind after canceling a trip to the western region of Extremadura.

“Besides, I’m afraid to go anywhere if I get infected by one of these French or German people,” said 76-year-old Ruiz.

Spain’s infection rate is at its lowest point since August.

NO FREE BOOZE

Despite widespread complaints from Spaniards, the return of Germans seeking sunshine would provide a good opportunity for the ailing tourism industry after foreign visitors to Spain fell 80% to 19 million in 2020, the lowest level since 1969.

By 2020, the industry’s contribution to gross domestic product fell to between 4% and 5%, according to an estimate from the Funcas think-tank of a 12% share in 2019.

Hotels and holiday permits in Germany are prohibited from being rented out to tourists, leaving foreign holidays as the only option.

Low-cost Eurowings Lufthansa added an additional 300 flights from across Germany to Mallorca for Easter in response to a quadrupling of bookings following the lifting of the quarantine, while Ryanair announced an additional 200 flights to Mallorca and Alicante.

Germany’s TUI, said Easter bookings were double 2019 levels and several corporate hotels in Mallorca were fully booked.

Head of communications at TUIfly Aage Duenhaupt said the inflow would not cause a fuss, and nightclubs at German resorts would remain closed.

“There will be no party holidays,” he said. “They’ve even canceled free alcohol at an all-inclusive hotel.”

In response to the sudden surge in bookings, Balear authorities said they were welcoming a new wave of tourists and would firmly enforce the requirements for a negative PCR test.

“It doesn’t matter if people come to the Balearic Islands. We are testing everyone and will continue to do so as long as health safety requires, “said a spokesman for the health department.

At Duesseldorf airport, travelers heading to the Balearics sympathize with Spanish discontent.

“I totally understand how the Spaniards feel, traveling in corona times is really a privilege,” said Mallorcan passenger Donata, who did not give his names. “Everything is a little irresponsible.”

Reporting by Nathan Allen and Marco Trujillo in Madrid; Ilona Wissenbach, Tanya Wood and Maria Sheahan in Germany; Edited by Ingrid Melander and Alexandra Hudson

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The German hotel chain said it would oblige tourists to be vaccinated | Instant News


BERLIN, February 19 (Reuters) – Future German hotel chain Allsun will ask guests to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, Alltours owners said on Friday, trying to revive the business of tourists worried about the risk of catching the virus.

The new policy for 35 Allsun hotels – located on the Spanish island of Mallorca, in the Canary Islands and in Greece – is likely to take effect from October 31, depending on the progress of Germany’s vaccination campaign, Alltours said in a statement on Friday.

That makes it one of the few holiday companies to say it will introduce such a requirement, as governments and tour operators grapple with how and when travel can return to normal, as the number of coronavirus cases falls and vaccination rates rise.

“We want to offer all our guests the best possible security so they can enjoy their vacation,” said Alltours owner Willi Verhuven.

Until enough people are vaccinated by the end of the year, the Allsun hotel will require a negative PCR or an antigen test that is no longer than 48 hours.

UK-based holiday and insurance expert Saga last month said its customers are required to get fully vaccinated against the coronavirus before boarding its cruise ships.

Germany-based TUI said in December that it had no plans to turn down customers who did not yet have a COVID-19 vaccine. (Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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Britain will unveil its hotel quarantine plans, the public is told not to book holidays | Instant News


LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will announce on Tuesday whether it will bring mandatory hotel quarantines for some or all of arrivals, the country’s coronavirus vaccination minister said as he warned the public against booking summer holidays.

FILE PHOTO: People wearing face masks walk in St James’s Park amidst the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in London, England January 22, 2021. REUTERS / John Sibley

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was looking for options to introduce quarantine hotels for those coming to the UK to prevent the risk of a new “vaccine-busting” variant of the coronavirus entering the country.

Nadhim Zahawi, the minister in charge of launching the UK’s COVID-19 vaccination program, said details would be presented on Tuesday evening.

“The government is looking at, as the prime minister has confirmed, the hotel quarantine policy, and we will announce it in an appropriate manner,” he told BBC TV.

Interior Minister (interior minister) Priti Patel, whose department is responsible for border security, told parliament that the measures were under review and the government would not hesitate to take further action.

“It is wrong to speculate about any action that does not exist at the moment because policies are being developed,” Patel told lawmakers.

Britain has seen a sharp rise in infections and deaths in the new year, driven in part by the new, more highly contagious variant of the virus first identified in southeast England.

There are concerns about the impact of other strains found in South Africa and Brazil, and whether these variants might impact the effectiveness of the vaccines seen as key to Britain’s escape from its strict lockdown measures.

The country has the world’s fifth-worst death toll from the pandemic, with 98,531 people dying within 28 days of testing positive, and one of the deepest economic contractions on record. Official figures on Tuesday showed the unemployment rate had reached its highest level in nearly five years.

The BBC reports that new hotel quarantine requirements mean arrivals from large parts of South Africa and South America, as well as Portugal, must be isolated in hotels for 10 days.

NO DECISION

It says “no definite decision yet” for those coming from other parts of the world. Johnson chaired a meeting with senior ministers on Tuesday, but it was unclear when the announcement would be made.

The measures, among Europe’s strictest if enforced, have alarmed the travel industry with UK-based airlines and airports warning that further tightening of the rules would be “catastrophic”.

The UK is currently banning most international travel, with flight volumes down 80% over 2019 and more than 45,000 jobs lost in the sector.

UK Airlines, which represents airlines including British Airways and easyJet, said in a statement with the country’s trade agency for airports that more restrictions could impact cargo movement, including PPE supplies, and more jobs could be lost.

“We have fully supported the government to do what is right in the face of this pandemic, but policies must be based on evidence and there must be a road map to get out of these restrictions as soon as it is safe,” they said.

In further worrying news for the industry, Zahawi said the public should not book holidays abroad this summer.

“There are still 37,000 people in hospital with COVID at this time, it is too early for us to speculate about summer,” he told Sky News.

Additional reporting by Paul Sandle, Sarah Young and Elizabeth Piper; editing by Estelle Shirbon and Ed Osmond

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Britain will unveil its hotel quarantine plans, the public is told not to book holidays | Instant News


LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will announce on Tuesday whether it will bring mandatory hotel quarantines for some or all of arrivals, the country’s coronavirus vaccination minister said as he warned the public against booking summer holidays.

FILE PHOTO: People wearing face masks walk in St James’s Park amidst the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in London, England January 22, 2021. REUTERS / John Sibley

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was looking for options to introduce quarantine hotels for those coming to the UK to prevent the risk of a new “vaccine-busting” variant of the coronavirus entering the country.

Nadhim Zahawi, the minister in charge of launching the UK’s COVID-19 vaccination program, said details would be presented on Tuesday evening.

“The government is looking at, as the prime minister has confirmed, the hotel quarantine policy, and we will announce it in an appropriate manner,” he told BBC TV.

Interior Minister (interior minister) Priti Patel, whose department is responsible for border security, told parliament that the measures were under review and the government would not hesitate to take further action.

“It is wrong to speculate about any action that does not exist at the moment because policies are being developed,” Patel told lawmakers.

Britain has seen a sharp rise in infections and deaths in the new year, driven in part by the new, more highly contagious variant of the virus first identified in southeast England.

There are concerns about the impact of other strains found in South Africa and Brazil, and whether these variants might impact the effectiveness of the vaccines seen as key to Britain’s escape from its strict lockdown measures.

The country has the world’s fifth-worst death toll from the pandemic, with 98,531 people dying within 28 days of testing positive, and one of the deepest economic contractions on record. Official figures on Tuesday showed the unemployment rate had reached its highest level in nearly five years.

The BBC reports that new hotel quarantine requirements mean arrivals from large parts of South Africa and South America, as well as Portugal, must be isolated in hotels for 10 days.

NO DECISION

It says “no definite decision yet” for those coming from other parts of the world. Johnson chaired a meeting with senior ministers on Tuesday, but it was unclear when the announcement would be made.

The measures, among Europe’s strictest if enforced, have alarmed the travel industry with UK-based airlines and airports warning that further tightening of the rules would be “catastrophic”.

The UK is currently banning most international travel, with flight volumes down 80% over 2019 and more than 45,000 jobs lost in the sector.

UK Airlines, which represents airlines including British Airways and easyJet, said in a statement with the country’s trade agency for airports that more restrictions could impact cargo movement, including PPE supplies, and more jobs could be lost.

“We have fully supported the government to do what is right in the face of this pandemic, but policies must be based on evidence and there must be a road map to get out of these restrictions as soon as it is safe,” they said.

In further worrying news for the industry, Zahawi said the public should not book holidays abroad this summer.

“There are still 37,000 people in hospital with COVID at this time, it is too early for us to speculate about summer,” he told Sky News.

Additional reporting by Paul Sandle, Sarah Young and Elizabeth Piper; editing by Estelle Shirbon and Ed Osmond

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