Canary Islands, Mykonos and Maldives added to quarantine-free travel list

Greg Dickinson
·31-min read
Tenerife is back - Getty
Tenerife is back - Getty

 

Four destinations have been added to the Government’s travel corridors list, giving Britons a few more options for a last-minute quarantine-free autumn break. 

The biggest addition as far as UK holidaymakers are concerned is the Canary Islands. While Spain remains on the red list, a far lower case rate in the Atlantic archipelago means Britons can now visit the likes of Tenerife and Lanzarote without needing to self-isolate on their return home. 

Mykonos, the Maldives and Denmark were the other destinations given the green light. Mykonos is open to British tourists and its addition means the whole of Greece is now considered safe. The Maldives is welcoming tourists so long as they present evidence of a negative PCR test issued no more than 96 hours prior to departure. Denmark, however, is not permitting UK residents to enter unless they have a “worthy” reason – holidays, sadly, do not count. 

One country, Liechtenstein, was removed, although it is already requiring all UK arrivals to self-isolate for 10 days. 

The changes were announced by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps following the Government’s weekly review of its quarantine policy. 

Scroll down for the latest updates:

04:44 PM

That's a wrap

We had some good news today. Here's a recap:

  • Four destinations have been added to the green list, including the Canary Islands

  • Liechtenstein has been removed

  • Cyprus, Sweden and Germany survive

  • Cases are rising across Europe, prompting many countries to increase restrictions

  • Airport testing could catch six in 10 Covid carriers, research suggests, not the seven per cent suggested by the Government

We'll be back tomorrow. Farewell. 

04:25 PM

How to get to the Maldives

We'll be publishing a full guide tomorrow, but in the meantime travel expert Paul Charles makes a very good point: fly direct or you'll still need to quarantine.

04:20 PM

Your last-minute guide to the Canary Islands

What better way to escape the doom and gloom of Britain than a week in the Canaries, lounging by the pool, with an enormous jug of sangria? And, you'll not be surprised to learn, there is plenty of availability on flights and in hotels. Ryanair has £20 fares to Tenerife, BA has £75 options to Lanzarote. What's stopping you?

See our guide to planning your last-minute break

04:16 PM

48 hours in Mykonos – an insider guide to Greece's most glamorous party island

Let Laura Millar be your guide (just don't ask Harry Maguire for tips). 

The island is famous for its windmills - Getty
The island is famous for its windmills - Getty

04:10 PM

Which of the new options is welcoming UK travellers?

Maldives: YES

However, all tourists and short term visitors must present a negative PCR test for Covid-19 on arrival. The test and negative PCR certificate must be issued no more than 96 hours prior to departure.

Canary Islands: YES

On arrival, travellers entering Spain from the UK will not be required to self-isolate. However, you will be subject to the following three requirements:

  • Provide the Spanish Ministry of Health with mandatory contact information and any history of exposure to COVID-19 48 hours prior to travel

  • Temperature check

  • Undergo a visual health assessment

Mykonos: YES

If you travel to Greece, you will need to complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) at least 24 hours before travel. This is currently the only requirement for UK arrivals. 

Denmark: NO

Rules on entry to Denmark depends on whether you are arriving from an ‘open’ country or a ‘banned’ country. The UK is a ‘banned’ country. You must have a ‘worthy’ purpose to enter if you are arriving into Denmark from the UK (this, sadly, does not include a holiday). 

04:03 PM

Liechtenstein is out

Not sure too many will be losing sleep over that one. 

04:03 PM

The Canary Islands are in!

Good news folks. The Maldives and Mykonos have also been given the green light, along with Denmark (although Britons cannot currently visit the Scandi nation). 

03:55 PM

Five minutes to go...

All eyes on Grant Shapps's Twitter account. We bet he loves this. 

03:43 PM

Iconic Cyprus hotel closes after Covid outbreak

The Anassa, one of the most luxurious hotels on Cyprus, has suspended operations after 13 staff members tested positive for Covid-19. 

The hotel's management team announced on its Facebook page that the positive workers had not been in contact with any guests but that it would remain closed until further notice.

Cyprus has seen cases rise sharply in recent days, putting its travel corridor with the UK at risk. 

03:39 PM

Train for one?

Tory MP Esther McVey has just posted this from on board a train from London to Manchester. Staggering.

03:27 PM

While the world tightens the noose, Sweden lifts restrictions

Cases are rising across Europe, prompting most nations to impose tougher restrictions on freedom. 

As German authorities reported more than 10,000 daily cases for the first time, Berlin issued travel warnings for Switzerland, Ireland, Poland, most of Austria and many Italian regions, including the capital Rome.

Meanwhile, a number of Spanish regions are calling for localised curfews such as those implemented in France and Italy, where Lazio, the region around Rome, has joined Lombardy and Campania in imposing overnight curfews.

Only Sweden, a European outlier which has relied largely on voluntary measures to promote social distancing, was an exception, declaring senior citizens no longer need to isolate themselves given lower infection rates than in spring.

03:18 PM

Grant Shapps is warming up his Twitter trigger finger

Every Thursday at 5pm the Transport Secretary announces the quarantine changes on Twitter (because that's the best place to confirm major updates to public policy, apparently). We have 45 minutes to go. 

Here's how last week's changes were announced:

03:01 PM

Portugal imposes partial lockdown

Portugal announced on Thursday that three northern municipalities will go under partial lockdown to fight a surge of coronavirus infections.

From Friday, around 161,000 residents in the municipalities of Felgueiras, Lousada and Pacos de Ferreira will only be able to leave home for work, school or other essential activities such as buying food and medicine.

Those able to work from home must do so, visits to care homes will be banned, events can only be attended by a maximum of five people and commercial outlets must close by 10 pm.

"These measures are due to the evolution of the pandemic in these three municipalities," Cabinet Minister Mariana Viera da Silva told a news conference.

Portugal, with just over 10 million people, has recorded a comparatively low 106,271 cases and 2,229 deaths. But, like in most European countries, infection have risen in recent weeks.

Last Friday, Portugal hit 2,608 cases, the highest daily figure since the pandemic started, although testing has also increased. A set of new, tougher measures to contain the disease came into force last week.

Most of the new cases are concentrated in the northern region and in and around the capital Lisbon.

Coronavirus Portugal Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus Portugal Spotlight Chart - Cases default

02:47 PM

'Here in Germany we're winning the fight against Covid – for now'

Germany recently reported more than 10,000 new daily cases for the first time, and Angela Merkel is battling to impose new restrictions, Paul Sullivan reports. 

Merkel and the ministers of Germany’s 16 states have been in communication about what to do, though not always in agreement. Some states, presumably mindful of the counter-demonstrations that have broken out across the country (the largest, in Berlin, drew some 40,000 at the end of August), have opposed any kind of tightening measures.
 The eventual compromise is the Hotspot Strategy, whereby only specific hotspots will endure curfews and stricter controls in order to avoid a nationwide shutdown. The criteria for such hotspots in Germany is 50 infections per 100,000 for seven days in a row, which has been superseded in many different places due to a mix of returning holidaymakers and superspreader events such as illegal raves and gatherings, and large weddings, according to reports.
 The Westphalian city of Hamm, for example, suffered an intense spike due to a wedding that infected some 300 people, while Bavaria’s Bergeschter Land, which hit 273 per 100,000 lately, is rumoured to have been caused by a 50th birthday party.

Read the full story.

Street art in Hamm, a city that suffered an intense spike - Getty
Street art in Hamm, a city that suffered an intense spike - Getty

02:37 PM

Will any countries by added to the green list at 5pm?

A fair question. Most of the traffic has been one-way, and only four countries – Sweden, Cuba, Thailand and Singapore – actually added to the green list. However, the Government has been showing a little more leniency in recent weeks. 

The following countries don't have travel corridors but could conceivably get the nod as their seven-day case rates are lower than Sweden's and Germany's (which are on the green list):

  • Denmark: 59 per 100,000

  • Maldives: 49

  • India: 30.4

  • Mexico: 28

  • Dominican Republic: 25.7

  • South Africa: 20.7

  • Jamaica: 15.5

 

02:21 PM

'The future for Cyprus is bleak – we cannot survive more lockdowns'

Cases are on the rise, writes Alix Norman, and fear of another lockdown is growing.

We all wait anxiously for news of what will happen next. And the prevailing feeling is that Cyprus cannot survive a second lockdown. “We just cannot afford this financially,” acknowledges the owner of a branding agency which caters primarily to the tourist sector.“

Without planeloads of tourists, primarily from Britain, we’re in trouble. The first lockdown was catastrophic, with a knock-on effect across the island. Wineries, supermarkets, boutiques, excursion companies, kiosks, rental car businesses... so many places went under. I cannot believe the government will do the same thing again.”
 
Others are not as hopeful. “Second lockdown is coming,” says a Nicosia-based restaurateur who closed his doors and retired in June, a casualty of the spring lockdown.

 “The figures will continue to rise because we have become complacent. That’s how we are here on the island. At first we were terrified. Now? Well, everyone is asking ‘Do you know anyone who has had corona? Who do you actually know who has died?’ And gradually, people are starting to suggest that Covid-19 is a hoax. But it’s not. And so the only thing the government can do is create another lockdown.”

Read the full story

The beaches of Cyprus have been quieter than usual - Getty
The beaches of Cyprus have been quieter than usual - Getty

02:07 PM

Hospitality groups launch legal action against Scottish government

Five hospitality industry bodies in Scotland have launched legal action against restrictions imposed on the trade by the Scottish Government.

The move comes after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that measures on the sector due to end on Monday will be extended for a further seven days.

These include the closure of licensed premises in the central belt and the curbing of alcohol sales indoors in other parts of the country.

A joint pre-action letter has now been sent to the Scottish Government by the Scottish Beer & Pub Association, the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, UKHospitality (Scotland), the Scottish Hospitality Group and the Night Time Industries Association Scotland.

Paul Waterson, group spokesman, said: "We understand and entirely support the goal of suppressing the virus, but our sector is at breaking point.

"Despite having more mitigation measures than other sectors and the vast majority of operators going above and beyond in ensuring customer safety, our sector has been repeatedly targeted without consultation and without the evidence."

02:04 PM

How Covid-19 has changed the future of cruise ship design

One of the lasting legacies of Covid will be on the world's cruise ships, writes Gary Buchanan. 

The future will see all-encompassing innovation of the ship’s layout to permit physical distancing, while accommodation will also be the focus of profound changes. There could be a higher proportion of cabins with verandas; as well as larger cabins which have a sanitising ‘wet-room’ in their vestibule, plus touch-free bathroom fittings. It’s almost certain that internal passenger cabins have been consigned to history; while in crew quarters there will be a maximum of two persons per cabin.

Restaurants will be redesigned in terms of table size and spacing. Buffets, if they exist at all, will be transformed and implement design improvements and equipment innovations to make it a protected space. There will also be stipulations for anti-microbial carpets and fabrics. 

Read the full story

MSC Seashore, one of the most advanced ships being built, will feature "Safe Air" technology
MSC Seashore, one of the most advanced ships being built, will feature "Safe Air" technology

01:55 PM

The situation in Sweden

Considering a last-minute trip to Sweden? We'd advise waiting until after 5pm, when Grant Shapps confirms any changes to the travel corridor list. Sweden could be removed after its seven-day case rate crept up to 59 per 100,000 residents. 

Read more: A dose of the old normal in mask-free Sweden

Coronavirus Sweden Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus Sweden Spotlight Chart - Cases default

01:49 PM

Stratford-upon-Avon struggles without tourists

As a town reliant on tourists and theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon is suffering more than most.

“From March we lost 86 per cent of our income overnight,” said Erica Whyman, deputy artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, which has been a cultural hub and bastion of the town’s economy for years.

Over the street from the RSC at the stylish boutique hotel The Arden, the pain has also been felt. “It's devastating for us in Stratford because the RSC is the epicentre of everything. The night-time economy has been lost” said Tara Robinson, sales and marketing director for the Eden Hotel Collection. 

Read our full report

Stratford-upon-Avon has never been sleepier - Getty
Stratford-upon-Avon has never been sleepier - Getty

01:35 PM

'Jeremy Clarkson's attack on cruise holidays is elitist claptrap'

Our cruise correspondent Jane Archer has aimed both barrels at mouthy petrol-head Jeremy Clarkson:

What an elitist load of claptrap. I’m talking, for those who missed it (lucky them), about Jeremy Clarkson’s embarrassing rant about cruising in a national newspaper last weekend that would have insulted millions, and –frankly – proved he hasn’t got a clue what he is talking about.

I make my living writing about cruise holidays, but am first in line to accept that they are not everyone’s cup of tea. A common saying in the industry is that “there is a cruise for everyone”. To that I add: “But not everyone wants to cruise”.

It’s the same for other types of holidays. I went off skiing after knackering my knee and I find scuba diving on a par with watching paint dry. But I tried both and don’t denigrate those who like nothing better than hitting the slopes or getting down with the fish.

Not so Clarkson, who spouts such unmitigated – and unfair – nonsense about cruise holidays. It’s clear he has never even been near a ship, never mind on one. Maybe he was scarred for life watching Carry on Cruising back in 1969. Yes, that is how out of date he is.

Read her rant in all its glory

01:30 PM

The world's greatest road?

Heaven for cyclists - Getty
Heaven for cyclists - Getty

This will have every cycling fanatic's mouth watering. The Giro d'Italia pro cycling race is currently on the Stelvio Pass, one of the world's greatest roads. 

01:24 PM

Germany lifts Canary Islands travel warning

The Canary Islands is hoping to attract more tourists in the coming weeks after Germany removed the archipelago from its "high-risk" travel list. 

"This arrives at a crucial and very important moment, just when our high winter season is about to start, which opens good expectations from this market," regional tourism secretary Yaiza Castilla told Reuters. 

It is possible that the UK government could follow suit – last month it introduced a regional corridors policy, meaning islands with direct flights to Britain and low case rates could be given the all-clear even while a country's mainland remains on the red list. 

01:14 PM

And now for something completely different...

Rob Crossan is lamenting the sad demise of silly place names. Asbestos is out; what's next? Shitterton in Dorset and Cheesequake, New Jersey?! Let's hope not. 

He writes: "In our woke times, the atavistic simplicity of laughing at a town called Stiffknee Knob feels wonderfully pure and innocent." Read the full story.

Tongue in Sutherland, northern Scotland  - Getty
Tongue in Sutherland, northern Scotland - Getty

01:10 PM

Cyprus tipped to stay on the green list

The quarantine sages on Twitter are tipping Cyprus to keep its travel corridor, but Sweden and Germany may not be so lucky. 

01:06 PM

Czech Republic sees cases and deaths spiral

Praised in March for its swift lockdown, the Czech Republic is now the European country with the highest case rate. Fresh restrictions are being imposed this week – we'll have a report from Prague resident Will Tizard later today. 

Coronavirus Czech Republic Spotlight Chart - Deaths default
Coronavirus Czech Republic Spotlight Chart - Deaths default

12:57 PM

Britain's biggest ski operator won't run holidays to countries on the quarantine list

Lucy Aspden reports that Crystal, the UK’s leading ski holiday operator, won’t operate holidays this winter to any destinations where customers need to quarantine, either when they arrive or when they return home, or to countries to which the Foreign Office (FCDO) advise against all non-essential travel.

As things stand this means it won’t be running its usual trips to France, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Norway, Andorra, Finland, Bulgaria, Canada or the USA. Furthermore, with cases rising across Europe, this looks unlikely to change any time soon.

Skiers may have no quarantine-free options this winter - Getty
Skiers may have no quarantine-free options this winter - Getty

12:55 PM

Where can I visit if I'm willing to take a test?

If you take a test before departure, or on arrival, a further 16 countries on the UK green list are welcoming tourists.

  1. Cyprus: Test before departure

  2. Faroe Islands: Test on arrival

  3. Germany: Test on arrival

  4. Jersey: Test on arrival

  5. Madeira: Test on arrival

  6. Anguilla: Test before departure

  7. Antigua and Barbuda: Test before departure

  8. Barbados: Test before departure 

  9. Bermuda: Test before departure

  10. Cuba: Test on arrival

  11. Dominica: Test before departure and on arrival

  12. Grenada: Test before departure 

  13. St Lucia: Test before departure

  14. St Vincent and the Grenadines: Test before departure

  15. Mauritius: Test before departure and on arrival

  16. Seychelles: Test before departure and on arrival

12:50 PM

The last three restriction-free holiday options

Now that all Britons visiting Germany must take a test on arrival – or show evidence of a negative test – we have only three restriction-free holiday options:

1. Gibraltar

Travellers must report to the authorities if they have been in a “relevant area” in the 14 days before their arrival in Gibraltar. Failure to do so constitutes an offence punishable with a fine of up to £1,000. A relevant area means a country, area or territory outside the European Union but does not include the United Kingdom, Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man.

2. Greece (Partially open)

Those returning to anywhere in the UK from Mykonos must quarantine. Trips to the rest of Greece are free from restrictions.

You must complete an online Passenger Locator Form (PLF) at least 24 hours before your arrival in Greece. Failure to do so in advance may result in your carrier not allowing you to travel, a fine on arrival, or the Greek authorities not allowing you to enter the country.

3. Sweden

No restrictions (or masks).

12:35 PM

Your views on the Government's travel restrictions

We want to hear from you. Do you think the Government is being too strict on its travel restrictions? And should young people (or, indeed, all people) be allowed to travel freely if they want to?

We're created a forum for your thoughts. Click here to join the conversation.

12:30 PM

Boris Johnson to hold press conference today

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hold a press conference at 4pm on Thursday regarding the coronavirus situation, Downing Street has said.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance will also be answering questions at the event.

12:17 PM

Germany rolls out restrictions for Austria, Italy and Switzerland

Germany issued travel warnings for popular ski regions in Austria, Italy and Switzerland on Thursday aiming to contain the spread of the coronavirus after the country reported more than 10,000 new daily cases for the first time.

The RKI public health institute said Germany must prepare for an uncontrolled spread of the virus.

"The situation has become very serious overall," Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases told a news conference. "We still have a chance to slow the spread of the pandemic."

However, that required people to stick to the rules, he said. A change in strategy was not planned.

Under the warning, travellers returning from high risk regions to Germany must quarantine for 10 days. They are allowed to get a coronavirus test from the fifth day. If the test is negative, they can leave the quarantine.

While Germany’s infection rates are lower than in much of Europe, they have been accelerating and the number of confirmed cases last rose by 11,287 to 392,049. Germany's death toll stands at 9,905.

12:09 PM

The alarming – and completely pointless – rise of Covid booze bans

Booze has taken a battering during the pandemic, and Emma Cooke isn't convinced it is entirely fair or necessary. She writes:

"For centuries the ‘demon drink’ has been blamed for society’s ills, often vocally and by public figures. Curiously, the Covid crisis has given fresh impetus to the anti-boozing brigade.

"As infections have soared across Europe, many governments, including the UK’s, have scrambled to crack down – with the sale and consumption of alcohol often in the crosshairs. It’s as if we’ve been transported back to the 19th century. 

"In September, with cases rising, the Government’s response was to implement a 10pm curfew on all pubs, bars and restaurants in England – a terrible scenario for venues that rely on night-time trade. But even harsher measures have been seen elsewhere.

"Across the border in Scotland, a country with a rich drinking culture, all pubs and restaurants now have to close at 6pm. Post-work pints are a thing of the past. No booze can be served indoors at all, turning once bustling pubs into depressing (and deserted) temperance bars. A ban on the consumption of alcohol on Scottish trains is also in the works. "

Read her full comment piece here.

11:54 AM

Which country will lose its travel corridor next?

Oliver Smith crunches the numbers, here.

Which countries could be quarantined next: Coronavirus Quarantine Tracker
Which countries could be quarantined next: Coronavirus Quarantine Tracker

11:43 AM

Quarantine decision looms for Cyprus, Sweden and Germany

British holidaymakers hoping to visit Cyprus this half term could be in for disappointment, as the country risks losing its travel corridor in Grant Shapps' update this afternoon. But Jamaica could be back on the 'green list', as could holidays in the Canaries.

In recent weeks, Covid-19 case numbers have risen in the Mediterranean island nation. Yesterday, the country saw 127 cases, up from 51 this time last week and 21 the week before that.

The brings the number of cases per 100,000 over seven days up to 59.6  – higher than the threshold of 20, after which a quarantine is considered by the UK Government. In Germany, cases are at 54.5 per 100,000 and Sweden is at 56.2.

Jamaica, however, could be in for a travel corridor as its cases drop to 15.8 per 100,000. On August 31, daily cases in the Caribbean nation peaked at 244. Now they are at 71. There are also ongoing hopes that the Canaries could be given travel corridors; the UK set a precedent for this by announcing regional air bridges with the Portuguese islands of Madeira and the Azores back in August.

11:24 AM

250 new routes and 12 new bases: The low-cost airline that's thrived amid quarantine chaos

Wizz Air has taken a contrarian approach to the pandemic and the resulting travel restrictions. Since April it has launched 250 new routes (including 38 for Wizz Air UK) and opened 12 new bases, writes Emma Featherstone.

In May, it was the first European airline to restart flights from the UK, with new hygiene restrictions in place (and amid a blanket Foreign Office advisory against non-essential travel). Over the next five years, it will receive 250 new aircraft.

Today it has launched new bases at Gatwick and Doncaster Sheffield. 

A 6am flight to Naples from Gatwick this morning marked the first of this fresh offering.  From Gatwick, it will also fly to Athens, Lanzarote and Malta. It will operate routes to Tenerife, Malaga, Larnaca (Cyprus) and Lublin (Poland) from Doncaster Sheffield.

Read the full story here.

10:51 AM

Malaysia reports more than 800 new cases

Malaysia's health ministry reported 847 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, raising the total to 23,804.

The Southeast Asian country, which imposed targeted lockdowns this month amid a spike in cases, also recorded five new deaths, raising total fatalities to 204.

10:34 AM

British Airways jumbo saved from scrap heap by film deal

A British Airways jumbo jet has found a new role as a film set, saving it from the scrap heap where dozens of BA's other retired jumbos have ended up.

British Airways said that one of its 747s will fly to Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, southern England, later on Thursday, where the airport will preserve it as a commercial TV and film set.

Blaming the coronavirus pandemic, BA said in July it would have to retire its entire jumbo jet fleet, a source of huge regret for aero-geeks and fans of the "Queen of the Skies", the aircraft which brought long-haul flights to the masses.

British Airways' last two Boeing 747s were put into retirement this month
British Airways' last two Boeing 747s were put into retirement this month

The pandemic has brought financial ruin to the travel industry. BA's owner IAG reported a 1.3 billion euro loss earlier on Thursday and warned on future demand.

10:20 AM

Follow Simon Parker as he cycles the length of Britain

Have you been keeping up to date with travel writer Simon Parker, who  is cycling the length of the UK to take a health check on the mood of the nation?

Read his first dispatch from Shetland, here.

10:14 AM

What time will we hear from Grant Shapps?

In recent weeks, Grant Shapps has made an announcement on his Twitter feed at 5pm.

He will lay out the countries that are gaining, or losing, a travel corridor, and then issue a time frame for British holidaymakers to return from that country. After that deadline, they will need to go into a 14-day quarantine.

Up until last week, holidaymakers were given until 4am on Saturday to return. But last week the Government granted travellers in Italy, San Marino and Vatican City an extra 24 hours, until 4am on Sunday, to return.

10:05 AM

The UK's Covid travel policy is blunt, inflexible – and could be doing more harm than good

The critique of the evidence underlying the government’s Covid policy for international travel published today makes a powerful case for change, writes Paul Nuki.

While more than 30 countries, including Germany and Italy, have made use of tests to avoid or shorten the period of quarantine for international arrivals, Britain has stuck rigidly with a policy of 14 days quarantine for anyone arriving from a high-risk destination. 

As things stand, that is much of the rest of the world, with the list of open “travel corridors” shrinking almost daily.

The UK policy is blunt and inflexible, and – with compliance estimated by some surveys at just 20 per cent – is almost certainly doing considerably more harm than good.

The law is an ass and it seems that travellers are treating it so.

Read his full analysis of the report, here.

09:53 AM

Oxford coronavirus vaccine trial continuing after death of volunteer in Brazil

The University of Oxford has said a trial of its coronavirus vaccine will continue in Brazil amid reports of the death of a volunteer.

Oxford is in advanced stages of testing a Covid-19 immunisation being developed with AstraZeneca, with volunteers in countries including Brazil, the UK and the US.

The university said it had investigated the case but found "no concerns about safety" around the vaccine.

Oxford said in a statement: "All significant medical incidents, whether participants are in the control group or the Covid-19 vaccine group, are independently reviewed.

"Following careful assessment of this case in Brazil, there have been no concerns about safety of the clinical trial and the independent review in addition to the Brazilian regulator have recommended that the trial should continue."

Read the full story here.

09:38 AM

The Government's reliance on shoddy modelling is killing travel

"Safely opening up the skies is a fundamental pillar of the nation’s economic recovery," writes George Batchelor.

"Yet worryingly, the UK is being held back from reducing the 14-day quarantine and introducing a testing regime because of an over-reliance on misleading modelling.

"That is the conclusion of our analysis published today with Oxera on the key evidence behind the Government's reluctance to push forward with a testing regime for air travellers. The claim from modelling by Public Health England that arrival testing would 'only identify 7% of infected travellers', which underpins the inaction so far, is distorting. 

"The reason for such a big under-estimation is simple. The modelling used by PHE was conducted back in February and made a number of substantial assumptions that have not been changed or challenged. They assumed that all symptomatic travellers, and all asymptomatic travellers who could be detectable if given a PCR test before the flight takes off, would not fly. In reality they would board the flight and then be detected by arrival testing."

Read the full Comment piece, here.

09:25 AM

In other news... Australia plans the world's biggest solar farm

An Australian outback cattle farm is to host the world’s largest solar farm that will supply power to more than a million people in Singapore. 

The 10 gigawatt farm in the Northern Territory will span 12,000 hectares and be visible from space by the time it is generating electricity in 2027. 

A computer-generated image of the solar farm in the Northern Territory  
A computer-generated image of the solar farm in the Northern Territory

It will supply up to a fifth of Singapore’s electricity needs via the world’s longest undersea cable nearly 2,300 miles long from a giant solar battery on the Darwin coast. 

Read the full story here.

09:15 AM

British Airways owner IAG cuts flights again after big loss

British Airways owner IAG posted a massive €1.3bn (£1.2bn) loss in the third quarter and cut capacity again as the aviation industry flies into a harsh winter. 

The FTSE 100 group reported an 83pc decline in revenue to €1.2bn for the three months to the end of September, compared to €7.3bn for the same period last year, after passenger numbers collapsed by nearly four-fifths.

Before exceptional items, it said it would sink to a €1.3bn operating loss for the period compared to a €1.4bn profit last year. 

Given the "high uncertainty" surrounding the second wave of the pandemic, the airline giant added that it would reduce its flight schedule to no more than 30pc of last year's level between October and December, down from the already-reduced 40pc it announced last month.

Simon Foy has the story.

08:54 AM

Airport testing could catch six in 10 Covid carriers, research suggests

Airport testing would identify up to six in 10 coronavirus carriers on arrival, according to new research which suggests that Public Health England (PHE) and its Sage advisers have underestimated its effectiveness.

Research for a consortium of airlines, airports and industry bodies said new analysis of the proportion of passengers picked up with Covid by testing on arrival would be up to nine times the seven per cent the Government has claimed.

A testing facility at Rome Fiumicino
A testing facility at Rome Fiumicino

Boris Johnson, as well as Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, and Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, have consistently used PHE's seven per cent figure to reject calls for the introduction of airport testing.

They say it means 93 per cent of asymptomatic passengers would be missed and have instead set up a taskforce, headed by Mr Hancock and Mr Shapps, to study alternatives including a single test seven days into quarantine in the UK and pre-departure testing.

Read the full report from Charles Hymas here.

08:36 AM

German cases are heading in the wrong direction

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany rose by more than 10,000 in a single day for the first time, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Tuesday.

The institute recorded 11,287 new cases in its daily update for a total of 392,049. The previous day's increase was 7,830. The reported death toll rose by 30 to 9,905, the tally showed.

While Germany's infection rates are lower than in much of Europe, they have been accelerating rapidly since the onset of cooler weather, with politicians warning that stricter social distancing rules may be needed if the trend continues.

Health Minister Jens Spahn tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday.

Coronavirus Germany Spotlight Chart - cases default
Coronavirus Germany Spotlight Chart - cases default

08:25 AM

How are cases looking in Cyprus?

A look at the rise in Covid-19 cases in Cyprus.

Coronavirus Cyprus Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus Cyprus Spotlight Chart - Cases default

08:23 AM

Coronavirus around the world

  • Spain became the first western European country to exceed one million infections, while daily cases hit record highs in Italy and Britain, with Greece reporting a new peak since an outbreak in late February.

  • Poland's prime minister said he will recommend imposing the highest level of restrictions nationwide, after the country reported a new record of more than 10,000 daily cases.

  • Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, said the federal government would not buy a Covid vaccine from China's Sinovac. Five people have died after getting flu shots in South Korea in the past week, raising concerns over the vaccine's safety.

  • South Africa faces a high risk of resurging infections that may lead to a review of lockdowns.

  • Mexican health officials estimated on Wednesday that the country has risen above one million coronavirus cases, though the figure includes both confirmed infections as well as suspected cases.

  • Turkey is considering reimposing some measures to stem a resurgence of cases, but will avoid throttling the economic recovery, a senior official said.

07:57 AM

What happened yesterday?

A quick re-cap of yesterday's main stories.

  • South Yorkshire to move into Tier 3 

  • Airport testing 'could save two million UK jobs' – says WTTC

  • New project creates cross-UK walking paths

  • Dutch King and Queen apologise for Greek holiday 

  • Sterling jumps as Brexit deal hopes rise

  • Russia hits daily record of 317 deaths 

  • Cyprus travel corridor at risk as cases soar

Now, on with today's news.