A strict new law in Spain will require people to wear face coverings at all times outdoors, even while sunbathing on beaches.
It replaces the current rules, which have been in force since June 2020, that only require face coverings to be worn when social distancing is restricted. According to papers published in Spain’s official gazette, those aged six and over must wear masks “on public roads, in open-air spaces and in any closed space for public use or that is open to the public.”
The measure has no end date, but will last until the Government declares the Covid-19 crisis over, the announcement added. Previously officials exempted the Balearic Islands but the law is expected to strip authorities of the power to do so.
Without clear details on how the policy will be enforced, tourists could open themselves up to fines by swimming in the sea without a face covering.
The enforcing of mask-wearing on beaches comes just weeks after Professor Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, told the Science and Technology Committee that despite fears that people flocking to the seaside would be “super-spreader” events, in fact “there were no outbreaks linked to crowded beaches”.
“There’s never been a Covid-19 outbreak linked to a beach ever anywhere in the world to the best of my knowledge,” he added. “I think we do have to understand where the risks are so that we can do as much as possible safely.”
Scroll down for more updates.
Where will we be able to cruise?
After a year without passengers, ocean cruising is gearing up to return to water. Telegraph Travel cruise expert Dave Monk looks at what the future holds.
After a year in which Britons have hardly been able to travel abroad, cruising is coming back – but starting close to home.P&O Cruises, Princess and Cunard are among more than a dozen lines that have announced they are scrapping overseas itineraries until late summer and replacing them with round-Britain cruises.Meanwhile, a task force, led by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, is due to report on April 12 as to whether overseas holidays can resume for people in England on May 17 – the same time that domestic hotels should be able to reopen.So where – and when – will we be able to sail?
International travel report to come a week early
The UK’s holiday roadmap will be unveiled on April 5, the Prime Minister has confirmed.
The Government’s Global Travel Taskforce was expected to report on April 12, but yesterday evening Boris Johnson confirmed the announcement will be made one week earlier than planned on April 5, with further detail to be given on April 12.
May 17 is the earliest date that foreign holidays could resume, and yesterday a group of forty MPs sent the Prime Minister a letter urging him to avoid delaying the ban on travel any further.
They said that it was “paramount that the restart of international travel provides the opportunity for businesses in the aviation, travel and tourism industries to begin their long journey back to recovery.”
Industry insider Paul Charles said: “I’d read much positivity into the fact we’re going to get one overseas travel announcement on April 5 and then greater detail on the 12th. You don’t announce bad news twice.”
New quarantine rules in Poland
New quarantine rules take effect from today for people travelling to Poland amid a surge in coronavirus infections.
Those entering Poland from other parts of the European Union’s Schengen area are now required to quarantine for 10 days unless they can show a negative Covid-19 test taken within the previous two days.
Travellers arriving from outside the Schengen zone must quarantine for 10 days unless they take a test on arrival and it gives a negative result.
Travel ‘simply cannot afford’ stop-start approach
The travel industry will struggle to cope with another start-start approach to recovery, according to trade body UKinbound.
Domestic tourist would not spend enough to make up the shortfall if international travellers didn’t head to the UK, and the uncertainty around borders opening would cut confidence that people would enjoy an overseas holiday to the UK.
Chief executive Joss Croft said:
We have one chance to get the reopening of international travel right and the prime minister’s announcement on 12 April will be make or break for the inbound tourism industry.
How the taskforce communicates its findings and suggestions will fundamentally shape how successful the restart of international travel is.
The Government’s Global Travel Taskforce will publish its findings on April 5.
Germany makes Covid test condition of entry
Travellers flying to Germany must show a negative Covid-19 before boarding the aircraft under new plans that came into force today.
The rules will be in place until at least May 12.
The results must be in German, English or French and must have been taken within no more than 48 before arrival in Germany. If the test if positive the traveller will be denied boarding and be required to follow local coronavirus rules regarding quarantining.
Children aged under five are exempt from the new rules.
The benefits of living in a town that no tourist in their right mind would visit
The Government wants us to swap Bath and Oxford for the likes of Portsmouth, but locals in unheralded towns might prefer you to stay away, says Rob Crossan.
Much as I applaud the new government staycation push to persuade people to forego the usual suspects of Bath, Oxford and Stratford for the likes of Portsmouth and Birmingham this summer, I can’t help but feel slightly relieved to have spent my entire adult life living in places that simply can’t be polished enough to become a serious draw for visitors.
Before Stockwell, my home was Middlesbrough, a town that regularly tops nationwide surveys for poverty and cheap house prices. Fear not. This isn’t a contrarian piece where I start extolling the virtues of the land of the ‘Smoggies’ and tell you to book your summer holiday there, immediately.
The Transporter Bridge is a genuine industrial icon and the legacy of Captain Cook is something the beleaguered local tourism board does everything it can to promote. But it can’t be denied that the reason for Cook’s fame is because, like a fair few other natives since then, he got as far away from Middlesbrough as was humanely possible.
Riding the rails (soon)
Trainline, the train and coach booking app, has reported that bookings for travel within the UK have jumped 125 per cent this week compared with a month ago.
Restrictions in Turkey as cases jump
Turkey is reinstating weekend lockdowns across most of the country, with tough restrictions in place over Ramadan, after an increase of Covid-19.
The number of cases has soared in the weeks after the country divided its 81 provinces into four colour-coded categories and relaxed restrictions in some provinces under a “controlled normalization” effort.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said 58 out of 81 provinces (around 80 per cent of the population), including Istanbul and Ankara, are now designated as “red” or “very high-risk” areas and will be subjected to lockdowns on both Saturdays and Sundays, while night-time weekend curfews across the country would continue.
Which countries will be green?
The Government is due to unveil a ‘traffic light system’ for unlocking travel. We believe the Caribbean is a top contender for the green list. Why?
Since the pandemic began, the Caribbean has been the most reliable corner of the world when it comes to holiday options for Britons. Prior to the UK Government scrapping all travel corridors in January 2021, there were eight Caribbean islands welcoming British travellers, including the likes of Barbados, Cuba, St Lucia and Antigua. All required testing prior to departure or on arrival, or both, as a means to dodge quarantine. Given their willingness to introduce new protocols and their collective heavy reliance on tourism, it is quite possible the islands will start accepting some kind of vaccination certificate as an alternative to a negative test. Watch this space.
Read our full predictions for the Green, Amber and Red lists – here.
Italy to impose mandatory five-day quarantine on EU travel
Italy will impose a mandatory five-day quarantine for all those arriving or returning from trips to European Union countries, health ministry sources said on Tuesday.
Travellers will also need to take a Covid-19 test before leaving the country and a further test after their quarantine period is finished.
Similar measures are already in place for trips to countries outside the European Union. The sources did not say how long the new restrictions would remain in place.
Where to take your first post-lockdown holiday? There’s no contest…
… says Nick Trend.
“The sea, sparkling and shimmering in the distance, clear and warm close up. Those immaculate white-washed cubes clustered around a blue-domed church. Cheerful morning ferry rides round to the deserted sands on the far side of the island. The rhythms of beach life in the daytime, of the quayside restaurants in the evenings. The sunset walk to the viewpoint at the top of the hill through the dry, rustling grasses, ringing with the whirring song of the cicadas.”
Europeans flock to Spain
Our very own Oliver Smith comments on the French, Italians, Germans and Dutch flocking to Spain for a dose of “normality”.
English Heritage sites reopen
In case you missed it, yesterday English Heritage reopened the grounds at 62 of its sites across the land. You can find the full list of reopened sites, here (including a few of our favourites) and the map below shows where you can find the nearest English Heritage site to your home.
Will passengers need the Covid vaccine to go on a cruise?
It’s been over a year since the global cruise industry shuddered to a halt as coronavirus spread. Only river cruising in Europe mounted a significant comeback in 2020 – but this year holidays afloat looks set to spring back into life for sea-starved Britons, with domestic cruises permitted from as early as May 17.
The announcement of new cruises in home waters comes as the UK’s Covid-19 vaccination rollout is proving a success. As of the start of this week, more than 28 million people in the country have been given their first jab.
But what does this mean for those hoping to embark on a long-awaited voyage? As cruise lines have begun to diverge on their requirements for boarding, Telegraph Travel explores what this will mean for travellers.
What does the April 5 ‘early’ announcement mean?
Our consumer travel expert, Nick Trend, says:
“Quite what this means isn’t clear. But it is hard to see how an earlier update will bring good news when all the emphasis from both scientists and politicians has been on the need for caution.
“The optimist in me still hopes that we will get a managed return to overseas travel by the end of May, with a handful of destinations with low levels of infection and variants being reopened to British travellers and others added as the summer progresses. I have a flight booked to Greece on June 5 and I certainly haven’t given up on that yet.
“But clearly we need to be prepared for a delay. And that would trigger a potentially disastrous new round of cancellations, adding to a refund crisis which, for many of us, is still unresolved.”
Mini Heatwave: head to your nearest (secret) beach
Dig out the beach towels and grab your cases from under the bed. After all the thwarted plans, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
If all goes to plan with the lockdown roadmap, domestic travel will slowly reopen from April 12, with even more easing of restrictions from May 17. The seaside will be waiting – ice cream vans and candy floss stalls at the ready.
Why are MPs calling for France to be added to the ‘red list’?
Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, confirmed on Sunday that hauliers travelling to England from outside the UK for visits lasting more than two days will be tested for coronavirus, but the Labour party is leading calls for France to be added to the red list.
France reported more than 37,000 new cases and 360 deaths yesterday, and according to French government data the South African and Brazilian variants account for around 5% of new infections. For some regions the figure is far higher, with 36.2% of new cases in the Moselle region, on the border with Germany, blamed on the two strains.
Flight attendant convicted of spreading Covid
A court in Vietnam handed a two-year suspended jail term to a Vietnam Airlines flight attendant on Tuesday after finding him guilty of breaking Covid-19 quarantine rules and spreading the virus to others, police said.
Duong Tan Hau, 29, was convicted of “spreading dangerous infectious diseases” at the one-day trial at the People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security said in a statement.
Vietnam has been praised for its efforts to contain the virus through mass testing and tracing and strict centralised quarantining. It has recorded fewer than 2,600 Covid-19 infections and only 35 deaths due to the disease.
Hau breached the country’s 14-day quarantine regulations and met 46 other people following his flight from Japan in November, according to the indictment posted on a police ministry website.
Hau had mingled with other people during a stint in state quarantine and according to the indictment visited cafes, restaurants and attended English classes while he was supposed to be self-isolating. He tested positive for Covid-19 on Nov 28.
‘Door not shut’: Summer holidays abroad could be saved by secret labs in Wiltshire
Summer holidays abroad could be saved by Porton Down tests on how the vaccines work on new variants, Matt Hancock has disclosed.
The Health Secretary said the findings from the tests at the Ministry of Defence’s top secret labs in Wiltshire due in the “next few weeks” could determine how many countries had restrictions lifted for summer holidays.
He said “the door was not shut” on foreign getaways as it emerged Government scientists have been heartened by preliminary data that suggests the vaccines may be effective against new variants and the risk of transmission is reduced “substantially” in people who have been inoculated.
Both Mr Hancock and Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, on Monday warned that the biggest risk in the UK’s battle against Covid was the importation of new variants, which have surged on the Continent and particularly in France.
What happened yesterday?
A re-cap of yesterday’s top stories.
- It is now illegal to leave the UK without a ‘reasonable excuse’
- A four-tier traffic light system could save summer holidays – backed by airlines
- Downing Street defends the decision not to add France to the red list
- Matt Hancock: ‘Door is not shut’ on foreign holidays this summer
- Cyprus confirms plans to welcome UK travellers
- Portugal extends suspension of UK flights until mid-April
- English Heritage sites reopen
- Refund credit notes extended until April 30
Now, on with today’s stories