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Quarter of amber list travellers ignore Covid rules – follow live

With the UK lagging behind Europe in the recovery of its travel sector, the time has come to scrap travel PCR tests for the fully vaccinated, says Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate. Reacting to news from ACI Europe that travel bookings in the UK are at around 30 per cent of pre-Covid levels, compared with around 60 per cent in Europe, Wingate called for UK travel restrictions to be eased. “With vaccination rates across Europe comparable, if not better, than the UK’s, the time has come for testing to be removed altogether for travellers who have been double jabbed,” Wingate said in an official statement from Gatwick.

“Other countries have done this and their aviation sectors are recovering much faster with bookings in Europe recovering twice as fast as in the UK.” In other news, Canada today opened to fully vaccinated travellers from across the world. Follow the latest travel news below:

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Israel and Abu Dhabi ease travel restrictions ahead of winter sun getaways

Israel and Abu Dhabi have announced plans to lift travel restrictions ahead of winter sun getaways.

Israel’s tourism ministry has confirmed that small tour groups of between five and 30 people from selected countries will be allowed to enter the country from 19 September provided all group members have been vaccinated. However, British holidaymakers must still quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Abu Dhabi has also dropped its quarantine requirement for all double jabbed visitors.

Prior to this, British travellers were required to isolate for 12 days upon arrival to the United Arab Emirates capital. In an update to the country’s traffic light system, the Republic of Ireland has also been added to Abu Dhabi’s green list. Joanna Whitehead7 September 2021 16:51

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Sweden to lift most Covid restrictions from 29 September

Swedish ministers have confirmed that the country will go ahead with plans to lift most of the remaining Covid-19 restrictions from the end of September.

In a press conference held on Thursday afternoon, Health Minister Lena Hallengren was joined by Public Health Agency Director General Johan Carlson to announce the changes which will take effect from 29 September onwards. Citing the high take-up of vaccines and low hospital figures, Ms Hallengren said: “Our society is in a new, better place. We are taking a step towards a normal day-to-day life, a society free from restrictions.”

Limitations on the number of people allowed at public and private events will be lifted, including restrictions applying to restaurants and bars, such as distance between tables and group sizes. The changes represent step four of the government’s five-step plan for easing restrictions throughout the country. “The announcements we are making today mean that vaccinated people can in principle live as normal after September 29,” said Mr Carlson.

“For the unvaccinated, they continue to be at risk of suffering serious illness, and this will be a concern when day-to-day life returns to a more normal situation,” he added. An entry ban on travel from the UK to Sweden remains in place. Joanna Whitehead7 September 2021 16:19

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Next travel traffic light update expected next week

The UK government’s next review of the “traffic light” travel lists is expected to be announced towards the middle of next week.

Going on the government’s advice that the lists will be updated every three weeks – and the most recent review having been announced on 26 August – it is expected that any changes to the lists will be revealed on 15 or 16 August. Countries rumoured to be candidates for a move to the green list include Hungary and Poland. Read the full story here:

Lucy Thackray7 September 2021 15:49

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Listen to Simon Calder’s latest travel podcast

In travel correspondent Simon Calder’s latest travel podcast, he talks about the “race to the sun” as various countries begin to ease travel restrictions to allow for holidays. “A journey overseas has the look of a constantly evolving obstacle course about it – with ‘go directly to quarantine’ the square no-one wants to land on,” says Calder. Will quarantine-free status be bestowed on more countries?

What are travellers’ rights? And how to the laws of the four nations of the UK interact? Get the up-to-the-minute latest on the green, amber and red list – and find out how optimistic you should be about an upcoming holiday or visit to see loved ones.

Find the latest episode of Green List Travel here: Lucy Thackray7 September 2021 14:49

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New Heathrow PCR departure tests deliver results in three hours

A new facility is being set up at Heathrow airport that promises to process PCR tests – the style of Covid test required to be taken before departure by many countries – within three hours. The processing will be handled on site.

The new test, costing GBP95, will enable travellers to build the testing requirement into airport formalities, rather than booking an extra trip to take one. But the testing facility is located outside the airport itself, in a car park off of Bath Road. Dr.

Simon Worrell, global medical director for Collinson, said: “No longer do travellers need to take a PCR test three days before travel, and so risk contracting the virus in the interim.” Read the full story: Simon Calder7 September 2021 14:14

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Irresponsible jet ski users could face up to two years in jail

Under new government rules, jet ski users in the UK could face up to two years of jail time and fines of up to GBP1,000 for endangering ships or swimmers.

The Department for Transport has proposed closing a legal loophole which currently views “personal watercraft” as operating outside of maritime law. Under the change, watersports craft such as jet skis and speedboats would be subject to the same national regulations as ships. Maritime minister Robert Courts said: “The vast majority of jet-skis users, and those operating personal and recreational watercraft, do so safely and responsibly.

However, there are those who unfortunately put others in danger. “Introducing these laws will help prevent accidents from happening, allowing everyone to enjoy our waterways, beaches and coastlines safely and with peace of mind.” Lucy Thackray7 September 2021 13:20

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Dubai’s answer to the London Eye sets opening date

After the sad demise of the Melbourne Star – the Australian observation wheel modelled on the London Eye – its rival in Dubai has confirmed an opening date of 21 October.

The 210-metre Ain Dubai is 50 per cent taller than the London Eye, making it the tallest Ferris wheel in the world. It is located on Dubai’s Bluewaters Island and will offer views of the city skyline including icons such as Burj Al Arab, Palm Jumeirah and Burj Khalifa. Each rotation around the wheel takes 38 minutes.

Twenty-five per cent more steel was used to construct Ain Dubai than iron was used on The Eiffel Tower. Tickets for the attraction start at GBP25. Simon Calder7 September 2021 12:10

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Poland and Hungary are next candidates for the green list, predicts expert

As anticipation mounts about changes in country categories in the next “traffic light” review – expected next week – a leading Covid data analyst says Poland and Hungary are likely candidates to be moved from “amber” to “green” – meaning unvaccinated travellers need not self-isolate on return to the UK.

Tim White, who tweets as @TWMCLtd, said: “There seemed no logical reason to leave Hungary and Poland off the green list. “I strongly suspect the non-data driven reason was England playing World Cup matches in the two countries before this review.” White said that on Tuesday Hungary reported 130 new Covid-19 cases, while Poland had 403 – barely one per cent of the UK rates.

“Poland still has the lowest infection rate in Europe, even allowing for its very poor testing rate,” he added. Simon Calder7 September 2021 11:40

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Heathrow clears latest hurdle in plans for third runway

Government ministers effectively gave Heathrow‘s planned third runway the green light yesterday, by refusing an opportunity to review their approval of it in 2018. Ministers have faced pressure from campaigners to overturn their approval for the two-mile runway, in the face of growing concerns about climate change.

But a Department for Transport letter, published yesterday, confirms that transport secretary Grant Shapps has decided not to review the airports national policy statement (ANPS) “on the basis of climate change or carbon policy at this time”. The letter states that although the Climate Change Committee’s position on climate change and Parliament’s declaration of a climate emergency “represent a significant and unforeseen change in circumstances that was not anticipated at the time of designation of the ANPS”, it was not clear that the policy set out in the ANPS would have been “materially different” had these developments been taken into account. Read the full story:

Lucy Thackray7 September 2021 11:15

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New cheap trains between London, Newcastle and Edinburgh – all you need to know

The biggest shake-up in decades on the East Coast main line between London, Newcastle and Edinburgh is under way. But how will the new rail service work, how will it affect competitors, and is it any faster than flying from London to Scotland? Simon Calder breaks down everything you need to know here:

Lucy Thackray7 September 2021 10:40