Holiday testing rules to relax in time for half term, Shapps suggests

·29-min read
heathrow - Reuters
heathrow - Reuters

Costly day two PCR tests could be scrapped in time for the half-term break, Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, suggested in the House of Commons.

The initial relaxation of the current travel system, as announced on September 17, is due on October 4. The green and amber lists will merge and fully vaccinated UK adults and under-18s will no longer need to take a pre-departure test to return to England.

However, further changes are expected later in October – including replacing the day two PCR test with a cheaper lateral flow test. As it stands, all arrivals aged five or over must have a booked and paid for PCR test for day two (with the arrival day being day zero) to return to the UK.

Mr Shapps told the House of Commons on Monday that the Department of Health and Social Care would offer more details on testing requirements. He said: “I am sure that they [DoH] will have had half-term in mind.”

The Transport Secretary added that he hoped “we move away from a world in which instant changes [to the UK Government’s travel rules] are required. I cannot absolutely guarantee that, but I think we can see by the direction of movement that things are coming on to a more sustainable footing.”

Scroll down for more of today's travel news.

04:38 PM

Today's key travel headlines

Here's a recap of the main stories:

  • Britons with AstraZeneca vaccine will be allowed into US, suggests Anthony Fauci

  • Tourists flee Canaries volcanic eruption

  • US flight searches up by 700pc as experts warn of rising fares

  • Boris Johnson ‘delighted’ by US announcement

  • Antigua introduces mandatory vaccine for all travellers

  • Wales and Scotland set to keep day 2 PCR tests

  • Easyjet: Gov 'missed the boat' for summer boost

  • Holiday testing rules to relax in time for half term, Shapps suggests

  • Indian foreign minister urges UK to resolve quarantine dispute

Catch-up with the rest below, and join us again tomorrow for more travel news.

04:24 PM

The most-booked US destinations

UK travellers are searching to travel to US in November and December with popular weeks including Thanksgiving and early December for Christmas shopping and festivities, according to flight booking platform Skyscanner.

The five most popular destinations in the Us, booked on Skyscanner on September 20 were:

  1. New York

  2. Orlando

  3. Los Angeles

  4. Miami

  5. San Francisco

04:09 PM

The latest advice on travel to red-listed South Africa

South Africa remains on our red list – to the ire of many – meaning a mandatory 10-day quarantine hotel sentence when you return to the UK.

South Africa is in the run-up to peak season - Getty
South Africa is in the run-up to peak season - Getty

Annabel Fenwick Elliott has looked into the rules for travel to and from the country, and what to expect if you visit.

Read our advice.

03:59 PM

UK's handling of foreign travel during Covid has been 'chaotic'

The UK Government's handling of international travel has been "among the most chaotic parts of its response" to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford.

Speaking at Plenary, the First Minister said he had urged the UK Government to follow a "more precautionary approach" to prevent new strains of coronavirus from entering the country.

Mr Drakeford described the UK Government's decision to remove the requirement of a PCR test on day two as the "most concerning thing of all" [read more on the post at 16:13].

03:48 PM

La Palma's wild and beautiful landscape has been shaped by its volcanic past

The island's ongoing volcanic eruption is a reminder that some of the planet's most dramatic landscapes can be found in the Canaries, writes Chris Leadbeater.

la palma - Getty
la palma - Getty

The fifth largest Canary Island was one of my final assignments before the world crashed into Covid chaos. It was an out-of-season trip, in November 2019, with the wind howling across La Palma’s peaks and troughs, and rain working ruthlessly to disrupt the inevitable bouts of sunshine that define daily life in the archipelago. But however bad the weather’s mood, it couldn’t conceal the beauty of a place that was born of magma and tectonic fury.

That much will be clear from the news. Plenty of the headline statistics alone make for worrying reading. Five thousand people have been evacuated from their homes, with the potential for that figure to rise to 10,000 if the lava flow looks like it will spread its tentacles.

Read the full story.

03:39 PM

Research: The cheapest US cities for a five-star hotel

Minneapolis, New Orleans and Las Vegas are among the US cities with the cheapest five-star hotel rooms, according to new research.

The analysis by luxuryhotel.com suggest that:

  • Durham, North Carolina, is the cheapest US city for a stay in a five star hotel, coming in at an average nightly price of £112.

  • New York City was the 21st most expensive city in America at an average price of £290.

The ten cheapest cities were:

  1. Durham (North Carolina)

  2. Arlington

  3. Minneapolis

  4. Greensboro

  5. Reno

  6. Milwaukee

  7. San Antonio

  8. New Orleans

  9. Louisville

  10. Las Vegas

03:26 PM

Weird and wonderful places where the Tube terminates

As the Northern Line welcomes a new end station, we round up the best places you'll find if you stay on the London Underground until the very last stop.

They now include, of course, Battersea Power Station.

tree in epping forest - Getty
tree in epping forest - Getty

The Battersea Power Station, which opened on September 20, is part of a £1.1bn project to extend the Northern Line that began six years ago. It now offers access to the West End and City within 15 minutes, and is key to the regeneration of an area of southwest London that now houses the US Embassy.

At its peak, Battersea Power Station was integral, providing a fifth of London’s electricity needs as the UK’s third-largest power station, but has laid dormant since its furnaces were put out for the last time in 1983. It is now under redevelopment, but star residents already living in the new flat blocks include Sting and Bear Grylls. Shops and restaurants will also be housed in what were old turbine halls.

Read the full story.

03:13 PM

PCR tests should remain for travel, says Welsh First Minister

Wales will not follow England in scrapping day two PCR tests, First Minister Mark Drakeford has said.

Mr Drakeford added that his ministers face a "difficult decision" adding that to end day two PCR tests (they will be replaced with cheaper, lateral flow tests in England) was a "step away" from the UK Government's duty to people's health.

He said: "In Wales we genomic sequence a higher proportion of tests than any other part of the United Kingdom and it is that sequencing that allows the very skilled scientists who do it to identify new variations in coronavirus."

03:00 PM

Easyjet: Gov 'missed the boat' for summer boost

Easyjet claims the UK Government "missed the boat" by waiting until after the summer holidays for the latest easing of travel rules.

Chief commercial officer Sophie Dekkers told the Commons' Transport Select Committee: "In terms of sales over the weekend, they did pick up but not to the extent that we've seen in previous announcements because we've missed the summer.

"October half-term is probably the only big opportunity for people in the near term, so although we saw a good uplift in trading and sales over the weekend, we've missed the boat unfortunately with the summer holidays.

"There is still a question around the need for the day-two test."

02:49 PM

UN chief grades world on vaccine rollout: 'F in Ethics'

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has reprimanded the world for the inequitable distribution of Covid vaccines, describing it as an "obsenity" and giving the globe an "F in Ethics."

Addressing the annual U.N. gathering of world leaders in New York, Guterres said images from some parts of the world of expired and unused vaccines in landfill told "the tale of our times" – with the majority of the wealthier world immunised while more than 90 per cent of Africa has not even received one dose.

"This is a moral indictment of the state of our world. It is an obscenity. We passed the science test. But we are getting an F in Ethics," Guterres told the U.N. General Assembly.

Out of 5.7 billion doses of Covid vaccines administered around the world, only 2 per cent have been in Africa. Guterres is pushing for a global plan to vaccinate 70 per cent of the world by the first half of next year.

02:30 PM

Explore: 10% off adventure trips for 2022

Sri Lanka is back on the map for British holidaymakers - Getty
Sri Lanka is back on the map for British holidaymakers - Getty

Adventure specialist Explore is offering 10 per cent off selected trips departing in 2022, until midnight on Thursday.

The sale includes Turkey, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, all of which will be removed from the red list tomorrow – and will be deemed 'low risk' for travel under the new rules from October 4. Highlights include:

  • 15-day 'Turkey in Depth' tour, from £958 (excl flights)

  • 8-day 'Maldive Dhoni Cruise', from £1,078 (excl flights)

  • 9-day 'Family Highlights of Sri Lanka', from £899 (excl flights)

To see all offers, go to explore.co.uk.

02:17 PM

In pictures: Around the world today

As China celebrates Mid-Autumn Festival – also known as Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival – a plane is seen crossing the moon in Beijing. - AFP via Getty Images
As China celebrates Mid-Autumn Festival – also known as Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival – a plane is seen crossing the moon in Beijing. - AFP via Getty Images
Demonstrators hit a police car during a protest against Covid regulations in Melbourne today - AFP via Getty Images
Demonstrators hit a police car during a protest against Covid regulations in Melbourne today - AFP via Getty Images
An artist's impression of Domino Tower, which will be built on a man-made island off Stone Town, Zanzibar, developers have announced this week.  - xCassia / Zanzibar Domino
An artist's impression of Domino Tower, which will be built on a man-made island off Stone Town, Zanzibar, developers have announced this week. - xCassia / Zanzibar Domino

01:58 PM

EU to recognise NHS Covid Pass 'within days'

The NHS Covid Pass could be recognised as proof of vaccination across the EU within days, The Guardian reports.

UK officials said they believed Brussels would "shortly" recognise the pass, which is equivalent to the EU's own digital pass.

Many European countries already accept the NHS Covid Pass as proof of vaccination for entry. However, this would ensure it was taken as proof across 27 member states and 16 non-EU countries. It would also mean that the app should be recognised for entry to hospitality venues and tourists attractions in EU countries where some form of Covid health pass is required.

01:39 PM

US flight searches up by 700pc as experts warn of rising fares

Airlines have reported holiday search surges of up to 700 per cent, in the wake of yesterday's announcement that UK travellers will be permitted to enter the US from November.

Virgin Atlantic saw a 91 per cent increase in bookings in the single hour following the announcement, its CEO Shai Weiss describing the move a "major milestone" for the aviation industry.

British Airways Holidays claimed an increase in searches of "nearly 700 per cent" for its US holidays, as of 8pm yesterday. According to the tour operator, the most in-demand destinations are New York, Orlando, Las Vegas, Miami, Los Angeles and Boston.

Travel industry analysts have warned that the new demand will trigger a rise in fares, for the first time since March 2020. According to research firm Hopper, return flights between the US and Europe, including the UK, cost an average of £410 pre-announcement. This was the lowest price recorded in five years.

However, a search on Skyscanner this morning, for return economy flights UK–US in November, indicates little change in prices so far [see post below, 8:12am].

01:22 PM

An expert guide to cruising the Danube river

Autumn can be a golden time to experience Europe’s famously blue river, when the fruits of the apricot harvest taste all the sweeter, writes Jeannine Williamson.

Grein, Austria - Arnold Redhammer / EyeEm
Grein, Austria - Arnold Redhammer / EyeEm

The most popular itineraries, offered by virtually every river cruise line, are one-week sailings between Budapest and Passau, or week-long round-trips from Passau. Budapest and Vienna – generally a two or three-day sail stopping at Melk and Bratislava in between – remain the headline acts. In one you will moor in the heart of the city overnight before the Hungarian parliament is lit up at sunset, casting a golden reflection on the river; in the other the Schönbrunn Palace (the summer residence of the Habsburg) is a lure – of the 1,441 rooms, 45 are open to visitors.

Read the full story.

01:11 PM

Flights to USA start at £199 with budget carrier

Searches for transatlantic flights have spiked following the announcement that the US travel ban will lift for Britons in November.

Prices are likely to rise in line with demand. However, Aer Lingus is offering services for as little as £199 each way.

This starting price will be available on the routes from Manchester to New York (on Dec. 1) and Manchester to Orlando (Dec. 11).

Susanne Carberry, chief customer officer at Aer Lingus, said

Aer Lingus is delighted to finally be re-uniting the UK, Europe and the United States. We’re excited to once again connect families, friends and businesses on both sides of the Atlantic.

Safety remains our priority at Aer Lingus and we continue to implement measures such as mask requirements and additional cleaning, as has been in practice across the airline for the past year.

For more information, see aerlingus.com.

01:01 PM

Where to go for Mediterranean sun this autumn

Restrictions are easing just in time for savvy travellers to enjoy the tail end of summer in southern Europe. So where should you go for the last gasp of short-haul sunshine?

seville -  tupungato/iStockphoto
seville - tupungato/iStockphoto

Nick Trend has the answer – and the best trips to book now.

12:52 PM

Scottish tourism season at 'serious risk' due to travel testing rules

Keeping stricter testing requirements in place for international travellers arriving in Scotland has caused "serious alarm" within the country's tourism industry.

Covid testing rules are relaxing for travel to England. Pre-departure tests for return to the country will be scrapped (effective Oct. 4) and passengers will be able to use lateral flow, instead of PCR, tests for day two (coming into effect later in October).

However, the Scottish government has said it will not adopt these changes at this stage "due to significant concerns at the impact on public health".

In a letter to Scotland's Government, signed by more than 40 tourism groups, the Scottish Tourism Alliance writes:

The Scottish Government’s decision to step out of alignment with Europe and England in relation to the easing of international travel restrictions not only adds a further significant adverse impact on the recovery of Scotland’s tourism industry, but also to its whole supply chain."

The long-term impact and costs are and will be significant. Our 2022 season is now at serious risk.

12:40 PM

Antigua introduces mandatory vaccine for all travellers

The Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda will impose new restrictions on arriving travellers from October 1.

All arriving and transiting passengers aged 18 and over – including returning residents and Antigua and Barbuda nationals – will need to provide evidence of having received at least one dose of a two-dose WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccine or a full dose of a single-dose WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccine.

All COVID-19 vaccines administered in the UK are WHO-approved.

The new rules come as the islands’ state of emergency continues. Current restrictions include a ban on all seafaring excursions, such as pleasure craft and sail-boat tours (until September 30), and rules prohibiting beach picnics, music, drinking alcohol, and parties. See gov.uk for more on the restrictions.

12:30 PM

Vietnam eases lockdown, but keeps travel bans in place

Public transport in Hanoi remains suspended - Shutterstock
Public transport in Hanoi remains suspended - Shutterstock

Vietnamese authorities are relaxing some pandemic restrictions in Hanoi from today, after two months of lockdown to contain a surge in Covid cases.

An order signed by the mayor yesterday evening will allow the opening of government offices, markets, essential services such as banking, logistics and take-away restaurants.

But schools will remain closed, public events and gatherings of more than 10 people are still banned and public transport including train and air travel stay suspended. Hanoi will also maintain 22 checkpoints on the outer ring roads to control travel into the city.

A dozen of high risk neighborhoods in Hanoi where recent virus cases were found will continue to be in lockdown.

12:16 PM

How will the travel rules change tomorrow?

The Maldives: now a viable option for winter sun - Canareef Resort Maldives
The Maldives: now a viable option for winter sun - Canareef Resort Maldives

Tomorrow at 4am, the new rules regarding the 'red list' will come into effect, incorporating the updates to the traffic light system which were announced by Grant Shapps last Friday.

Eight countries – Turkey, Pakistan, the Maldives, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh and Kenya – are to be removed from the quarantine hotel list.

This means that for fully vaccinated UK travellers, holidays are back on to Turkey, the Maldives, Egypt and Oman. The entry rules are trickier for holidays to Kenya and Sri Lanka, but not prohibitive. Bangladesh requires UK travellers to enter a 14-day quarantine on arrival.

A number of popular destinations remain on the red list, including South Africa and the Seychelles. Vast swathes of Africa remain red, as does the entirety of Latin America.

Here's everything you need to know about the changes.

12:02 PM

British Airways to increase Mauritius flights this winter

BA has announced it will boost its UK-Mauritius services by three extra flights per week, from November 3 until January 8.

The three new flights from Heathrow will join its existing Gatwick-Mauritius service, taking the total to five flights per week.

The move coincides with changes to Mauritius's border rules, which will allow vaccinated travellers to enter the country without restriction after October 1, provided they have proof of a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours of departure.

11:51 AM

Kayak reports 238pc spike in US travel searches

Just as BA and Virgin have claimed rising bookings and searches for the US, flight comparison site KAYAK is reporting buoyant interest in journeys across the pond.

It reports this lunchtime that searches rose by "about 238 percent on Monday (20/09) when compared to last Monday (13/09)". Furthermore, those same search figures are around 76 per cent higher than those recorded on the same date in 2019, pre-pandemic, indicating pent-up demand for transatlantic travel.

11:38 AM

UK's new 'low risk' list for travel: everything you need to know

England is to move to a new system for foreign travel under which countries will either be categorised as 'high risk', requiring hotel quarantine for returning Britons, or 'low risk', from October 4.

The UK Government announced last week that it would be replacing its traffic light system for foreign travel with a two-tier system.

The previous green and amber lists will be merged into a 'rest of the world' category, effective October 4. All other countries will be on the red or 'no go' list; arrivals from these countries will need to enter hotel quarantine on their return.

11:17 AM

The 10 things about the US that we have missed the most

With the US opening to double-jabbed visitors, the freedom of the open road is calling - Moment RF
With the US opening to double-jabbed visitors, the freedom of the open road is calling - Moment RF

From motels and landscapes to clichés and clam chowder, Marcel Theroux reflects on the very specific things he misses about the USA:

“It’s your world,” I once overheard a waiter saying at a bar in Logan Airport to a customer who wanted to tweak their order. No, he wasn’t being ironic. The presumption that the customer is right and all reasonable requests should be possible is part of the empowering American service philosophy.

As much as the UK tries to emulate it, we’re not quite there. I can’t imagine an attendant at a UK lake saying, “I don’t care,” if someone asks if they can swim in it — as happened to me in Colorado. Historically, they are citizens, we are subjects. They’re less likely to need permission to do something. Okay, it gets them into a spot of bother now and again. But haven’t you missed their can-do attitude?

Read on, here.

11:00 AM

EU: People vaccinated with AstraZeneca should be able to travel to US

The European Commission said this morning that it "makes sense" for the United States to allow entry to people vaccinated with the AstraZeneca shot in Europe.

It is not clear which vaccines will be accepted by US authorities when the country reopens to leisure travellers in November.

"We believe the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe," a spokesperson for the EU Commission told a news conference.

"From our point of view, obviously it would make sense for people who have been vaccinated with AstraZeneca to be able to travel," the spokesperson added, noting that this is a decision for the US authorities.

10:45 AM

US to require 'vaccination on arrival' for some travellers

Under new US rules, foreign nationals admitted to the United States on humanitarian grounds – who are not required to have Covid vaccinations – will have to agree to be vaccinated upon arrival, according to a planning document seen by Reuters.

The White House on Monday said it would lift restrictions that bar many non-US citizens from travelling to the United States by air starting in November. The United States will require nearly all foreign nationals age 12 and over to show proof of their vaccinated status before entering the country.

Exemptions to the policy will include "children, COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial participants and humanitarian exceptions for people traveling [sic] for an important reason and who lack access to vaccination in a timely manner," the planning document said.

Most people who receive those "very limited" exemptions would be required to agree to get vaccinated upon arrival, the document said. It was not immediately clear how or where vaccines would be administered or if the travellers would have to quarantine while waiting for their immunity to build.

A White House official said the administration is still working on the rules that will govern exemptions and added those arriving under humanitarian exemptions "will also need a compelling reason to come to the [United States]."

"To the extent there are people fleeing sort of exigent circumstances, violent conflict... that is something we'll consider" when granting a humanitarian exemption, a White House official said.

10:32 AM

Easyjet to boost capacity with extra Spain and Portugal aircraft next summer

Holidaymakers enjoying the beaches of Torremolinos, Malaga, this summer - Getty
Holidaymakers enjoying the beaches of Torremolinos, Malaga, this summer - Getty

Yesterday, we reported on Easyjet's plans to add an extra 51,000 seats to its October half term schedule – and today, it has revealed an expansion of its Spain and Portugal operations next summer.

The plans include:

  • Two extra aircraft in Malaga, two in Palma, and one in Faro – from May 2022.

  • Around 150 jobs for pilots and crew will be created, with 120 roles in Spain alone.

  • Increased flight capacity between the UK and Spain and Portugal, roughly 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

Johan Lundgren, easyJet chief executive, said: "The decision to add five aircraft to these bases is testament to the important role they play in our network now and in the post-pandemic recovery.

"They have provided us with the additional flexibility to capture the most demand on these popular routes. We can now continue growing our presence in these key destinations from next May, demonstrating our confidence in the continued recovery of leisure and beach travel next summer."

10:15 AM

Indian foreign minister urges UK to resolve quarantine dispute

India's foreign minister has urged Britain to remove a rule requiring Indian travellers to quarantine, even if they are fully vaccinated.

India's Covishield vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and manufactured in India by Pune-based Serum Institute, is not currently recognised by Britain – despite being identical to the doses given to millions of Britons.

Many Indians have branded the decision as discriminatory, as Britons vaccinated in the United Kingdom with the same Indian-made doses are not required to quarantine.

They could also lead to a retaliation from New Delhi, with Indian government sources saying it was likely to take reciprocal steps if the issue is not quickly resolved.

"Urged early resolution of quarantine issue in mutual interest," Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said in a tweet after a meeting with his British counterpart Liz Truss in New York, where both are attending the United Nations General Assembly.

The British High Commission (embassy) in New Delhi said the United Kingdom was working with India to resolve the issue.

"We are engaging with the Government of India to explore how we could expand UK recognition of vaccine certification to people vaccinated by a relevant public health body in India," a spokesperson said.

10:01 AM

The rise of the autumn 'studycation'

A third of us took up a new hobby in the pandemic – and canny hotels know how to draw us in with workshops and weekend courses, says Anna Hart:

Every September, without fail, I go back to school. I either book a fabulous week away mastering some new sport or skill, or embark on a short course close to home. The impulse is the same: I want to learn something new.

This month though, it feels different: I’ve been joined by an influx of fellow students. Around a third of Brits took up a new hobby during lockdown, with bread baking, knitting, gardening and yoga among the most popular. I barely scraped on to the waiting list for an upholstery course at Margate Design Collective (margatedesigncollective.co.uk), and jewellery-making workshops and pottery classes are being rapidly booked up.

Read on, here.

09:45 AM

£3.29 billion boost for US cruise industry

Pictured in March, a cruise ship evacuating passengers amid Covid concerns in California - AFP
Pictured in March, a cruise ship evacuating passengers amid Covid concerns in California - AFP

The resumption of US-UK travel represents $4.5 billion (£3.29 billion) within the US economy annually for cruise travel alone, says the Cruise Lines International Association. A statement from the industry body reads:

The cruise industry is an important driver of international visits to the United States, prompting approximately 2.5 million international visitors to travel to the United States to embark on a cruise in 2019, representing nearly 18 percent of all US cruise embarkations.

International cruise visitors in the United States spend $4.5 billion annually on hotel stays, transportation, retail and other US businesses, supporting nearly 60,000 American jobs. Our members look forward to welcoming international travelers, including from the United Kingdom and the European Union, back to the United States while continuing to prioritize public health.

09:24 AM

Fauci: Travel ban expected to be dropped for travellers who've had AstraZeneca jab

US chief medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci has suggested that British travellers who have been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca (AZ) jab will be allowed into the United States.

Dr Fauci told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I don't believe there's any reason to believe that people who have received the AZ vaccine should feel that there is going to be any problem with them."

But asked if he expects that anyone who has had other vaccines approved by the UK Government will be able to travel to the US, Dr Fauci told the programme: "I can't account for every vaccine that has been approved by the UK.

"I am not sure about all of them but the specific one about AZ, given that we have a substantial amount of information on the AZ vaccine – again without being definitive about it – I would predict that there would not be a problem there.

"The final decision goes with the CDC."

09:21 AM

15 US trips to book now, from budget to blow out

Utah's Zion National Park is filled with incredible landscapes - iStockphoto
Utah's Zion National Park is filled with incredible landscapes - iStockphoto

Itching to explore the US at long last? From New York on the cheap, to a bacchanalian blow-out in Las Vegas, Chris Leadbeater has the best trips to book for 2021/22 – for skiing, sunshine, and everything in between.

Get planning, here.

09:01 AM

Tourists flee Canaries volcanic eruption

  • 5,500 people evacuated as lava flows toward coast

  • Some 100 houses destroyed, no fatalities

Lava flowing from the volcanic eruption in La Palma has forced the evacuation of 5,500 people and destroyed around 100 houses, while tourists continue to leave the area.

"It was horrible," said Eva, a 53-year old tourist from Austria told Reuters yesterday. "We felt the earthquake, it started in the morning... Then at three in the afternoon the lady from our house came and said you have to pack everything and leave quickly."

"We're happy to go home now," she said at the airport, boarding a flight back home after cutting her trip short.

Aerial image of lava from the volcano yesterday in La Palma, Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Getty
Aerial image of lava from the volcano yesterday in La Palma, Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Getty

Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto said yesterday the eruption was "a wonderful show" which would attract more tourists to the tourism-dependent archipelago – comments that were criticised by the opposition at a time when many residents have lost their homes.

Many of the tourists at the airport disagreed with Maroto. "We want to leave as fast as possible," said Wienard, a 55-year-old social worker from Salzburg.

"The movement of lava is much slower than it was initially... There has not been a large advance during the day," local emergency coordinator Miguel Angel Morcuende told a press briefing last night. He said the stream had made its way about halfway to the coast.

A new stream of lava erupted from the volcano late yesterday, prompting the evacuation of residents in the town of El Paso, the regional emergency agency wrote on Twitter.

The volcano first erupted on Sunday, shooting lava hundreds of metres into the air, engulfing forests and sending molten rock towards the ocean over a sparsely populated area of La Palma, the northwesternmost island in the Canaries archipelago.

08:53 AM

Today’s other international headlines

People visit an illuminated art installation of the moon to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival at Kwun Tong Promenade in Hong Kong - Getty
People visit an illuminated art installation of the moon to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival at Kwun Tong Promenade in Hong Kong - Getty

While this morning’s travel news has been dominated by the November reopening of the US to vaccinated travellers, here are some other global headlines:

  • Health experts in Singapore are calling for mandatory vaccination amid a growing toll of Covid among unvaccinated people. Vaccine take-up is currently at 82% of the population, and the Government has paused the easing of restrictions this month.

  • Protests have erupted in Melbourne, after virus worries shut down construction sites. Hundreds of people demonstrated in the locked-down city today. Anti-vaccine protests in the city turned violent yesterday.

  • In China, the city of Harbin has ordered spas, cinemas and mahjong salons to close today, while tourism attractions must operate at half-capacity.The shutdowns were imposed after just one case of community transmission.

07:30 AM

Confusion over US rules for under-18s

There was uncertainty last night over whether unvaccinated children would be able to accompany their parents on US trips.

US sources indicated there would be very limited exemptions, which might include children, but officials refused to confirm whether they would be included.

UK government sources also said they expected children under 18 who had not been jabbed to be allowed to travel with their families, but there was no confirmation from the US that this would be the case.

UK children aged 12 to 17 are eligible for the jab, and most 12 to 15-year-olds will be offered Covid vaccinations by half term. This means they could be treated like adults by the US and therefore required to be vaccinated before being allowed entry.

07:28 AM

Will the US finally recognise AstraZeneca?

If you've had the AstraZeneca vaccine, you may well be wondering this morning if the relaxation of US travel rules will apply to you – as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is yet to recognise its efficacy.

The White House said it would defer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a decision, but the Prime Minister's official spokesman said yesterday it was expected that the vaccine would be approved.

He said: “I have no indicators that it won’t be.”

“I am convinced that any vaccine we have used, every vaccine acquired in the UK and licensed by the NHS, clearly signed off by the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency), and the WHO (World Health Organization) will be applicable.”

07:12 AM

Live prices for economy UK–US return flights

There are still bargains to be had on UK–US flights. This morning, prices on Skyscanner for return flights in November are as follows:

  • UK to Orlando starting from £313

  • UK to New York starting from £306

  • UK to Las Vegas starting from £419

  • UK to LA starting from £327

Prices do rise significantly for the final week in November, as Thanksgiving falls on Thursday November 25.

06:49 AM

Boris Johnson ‘delighted’ by US announcement

Mr Johnson said he was "delighted" that Mr Biden was reinstating transatlantic travel, saying: "It's a fantastic boost for business and trade and great that family and friends on both sides of the pond can be reunited once again."

Yesterday's White House announcement came after The Telegraph revealed that Boris Johnson would press Joe Biden, the US president, to change Covid travel rules and let Britons fly to the United States when they meet in the White House for the first time today.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Johnson had appeared to be out of the loop on developments in Washington, saying he thought there would not be a change in the travel rules this week.

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