Green List latest news – Portugal Brits' top choice amid huge surge in flight availability to quarantine free countries

AIRLINES are desperately rushing to add extra flights to meet demand for Brits wanting to get away on holiday.

Travel agents have reported their best day of sales since Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed the roadmap to freedom.

Brits appear to be keenest to fly to Portugal from May 17, when the restrictions are eased and can visit the green list of countries.

The surge in interest has prompted easyJet to put on an additional 80,000 seats – plus it’s restarting a route from Newcastle to Faro in south Portugal.

Read our coronavirus live blog below for the latest updates…

  • Alice Peacock

    BENIDORM MAYOR SLAMS GREEN LIST

    The mayor of Benidorm has slammed UK’s new green list of quarantine free travel destinations as “incomprehensible” after Spain was left off.

    Toni Perez’s outburst comes after the holiday hotspot remains on the amber list of countries which require returning visitors to self-isolate for 10 days.

    The mayor is now demanding a personal meeting with Britain’s Ambassador to Spain to explain the “reality” of the popular British holiday destination.

    Transport Secretary Grant Shapps finally announced that Brits can get their foreign getaways booked in, but the list of green list areas is very short.

    Portugal, Israel and Iceland are on the list, but as well as Spain, the other traditional holiday hotspots of France and Greece, have been left off.

  • Alice Peacock

    SPAIN REFUSES COVID JABS TO BRIT EXPATS

    British expats living in Spain are being turned away from the country’s Covid jab rollout, reports the Sunday Telegraph.

    Local officials are flouting government orders – and putting lives at risk.

    John McKenzie, 42, has diabetes and a heart condition but his local health centre in Tenerife has spurned him four times.

    During one of those distressing visits he was told outright: “Go away, we don’t vaccinate foreigners.”

  • Alice Peacock

    'KEEP USING FACEMASKS', DOCTOR URGES

    Dr David Nabarro, special envoy on Covid-19 for the World Health Organisation, is urging Brits to maintain social distancing and keep using face masks.

    He told Sky News: "On the one hand we've got a dangerous virus, on the other hand we must get on with life because it just can't go on with the restrictions that people have had up till now.

    "Finding that middle path, how to live with this virus's constant threat, is key.

    "If I were able to talk to everybody personally over the coming weeks, I would say: You must restart life and everybody wants you to do that, but please be really careful, maintain that physical distance of between one metre and two metres, especially indoors, and don't forget to wear your face masks because that really can give extra protection.

    "It's these simple things, but all done together that will really make the difference as to whether or not future spikes are huge or future spikes are small and easily contained."

  • Alice Peacock

    'VERY IMPORTANT FOR MENTAL HEALTH'

    An epidemiologist has touched on the importance of hugging, for mental health and wellbeing.

    Speaking on BBC Breakfast this morning, Dr Mike Tildesley said: "It's actually very important for mental health and wellbeing that we can hug loved ones, but the key message for me is that if and when this comes in, we need to remember that the pandemic hasn't gone away.

    "We are still a few steps away from normality. It's really great we can hug loved ones but what we need to remember is we need to be a little bit careful.

    "Do it responsibly. If people have symptoms or particularly vulnerable relatives, then maybe do this with caution."

  • Alice Peacock

    INDIA BRINGS IN EX-ARMY MEDICS TO BATTLE COVID

    India will recruit hundreds of former army medics to support its overwhelmed healthcare system, the defence ministry said on Sunday, as the country grapples with record Covid-19 infections and deaths amid calls for a complete nationwide lockdown.

    Some 400 medical officers are expected to serve on contract for a maximum of 11 months, the ministry said in a press release, adding that other defence doctors had also been contacted for online consultations.

    Covid-19 cases and deaths have been hitting records every two or three days.

    Deaths rose by more than 4,000 for a second consecutive day on Sunday.

  • Alice Peacock

    HIT IN THE POCKET

    Brits holidaying in green list countries may not be able to use free NHS Covid tests because of concerns over their effectiveness, a report says.

    Instead, a family-of-four travelling to one of the government's approved tourist spots could end up paying £320 for tests before their departure and on their return to the UK.

    Travellers returning from green list countries – which include Portugal, Israel and Gibraltar – need to take a test at least 72 hours prior to departure.

    Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, had previously proposed giving people holidaying abroad lateral flow tests free of charge in a bid to help them reduce costs.

    But, sources say the free kits, which provide results within less than 30 minutes, may not be allowed when the travel list comes into affect on May 17, the Telegraph reports.

    This is because the lateral flow tests – which are self-administered by holidaymakers – are not as accurate as their costly PCR counterparts, where the tests are carried out in labs.

  • Alice Peacock

    COVID DEATHS PLUNGE

    The UK recorded two deaths yesterday – an 85 per cent drop on last Sunday's 14 fatalities.

    In the past 24 hours Britain has also logged 1,770 new Covid cases.

    More than 35 million people have had their first vaccine dose, with 17.6 million now having had both jabs.

    A third of the country is now fully protected against the virus, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeting: "One third of adults in the UK have now had their second dose of the Covid vaccine, a testament to the extraordinary efforts of NHS staff and volunteers.

    "Thank you to everyone who has made this happen. Get your jab when called."

  • Alice Peacock

    NEW FREEDOMS TO BE ANNOUNCED TODAY

    Boris Johnson is set to reveal 11 Covid lockdown changes at a press conference at 5pm today.

    The loosening of coronavirus rules will give Brits a well deserved taste of freedom – but it's thought the PM will ask the public to use their "common sense."

    The freedoms Brits can look forward to next include:

    • Hugging
    • Overnight stays
    • Pubs indoor
    • Outdoor gatherings
    • and domestic holidays

    More on this, here.

    US ADMINISTERS 259.7M VACCINE DOSES

    The United States has administered 259,716,989 doses of Covid-19 vaccines in the country as of Sunday morning, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

    A total of 257,347,205 vaccine doses had been administered by May 8, the CDC said.

    The agency said 152,116,936 people had received at least one dose while 114,258,244 people were fully vaccinated as of Sunday.

    The CDC tally includes two-dose vaccines from Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc/BioNTech SE as well as Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine as of 6 a.m. ET on Sunday.

    A total of 7,813,633 vaccine doses have been administered in long-term care facilities, the agency said.

    • Claudia Aoraha

      DEADLY STRAIN IN BOLTON

      Bolton has emerged as the new UK hotspot for the Indian Covid variant as infection rates double and surge testing begins.

      Urgent measures to contain the variant are being out into place in the town with a ramped up vaccination campaign, as well as testing.

      The latest infection rate figures show an increase from 50 cases per 100,000 of population to 89 per 100,000.

      That compares to the average in England of of 20.6 cases per 100,000.

      More on the story here.

    • Claudia Aoraha

      TRAFFIC LIGHT TRAVEL SYSTEM A ‘DISASTER’

      Transport secretary Grant Shapps announced the Government’s traffic-light system on Friday, with Portugal and Israel among those on the green list – meaning Brits will not need to quarantine on their return.

      But travel bosses were left furious after Greece, Spain and France were put into the amber category – forcing holidaymakers to self-isolate for ten days on arrival in the UK.

      A senior Tory branded the traffic-light system a “disaster”, adding: “The vaccine programme will have covered everybody, but instead the decisions have been handed over to the scientists.”

      Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski also told the Mail on Sunday the Government’s approach was “illogical”, adding: “How can you categorise Greece as a whole if it comprises hundreds of islands? 

      “Some of these islands have a very low R rate, and authorities have put into place measures to protect tourists.”

    • Claudia Aoraha

      SPAIN REFUSES COVID JABS TO BRIT EXPATS

      British expats living in Spain are being turned away from the country’s Covid jab rollout, reports the Sunday Telegraph.

      Local officials are flouting government orders – and putting lives at risk.

      John McKenzie, 42, has diabetes and a heart condition but his local health centre in Tenerife has spurned him four times.

      During one of those distressing visits he was told outright: “Go away, we don’t vaccinate foreigners.”

    • Claudia Aoraha

      INDIA BRINGS IN EX-ARMY MEDICS TO BATTLE COVID

      India will recruit hundreds of former army medics to support its overwhelmed healthcare system, the defence ministry said on Sunday, as the country grapples with record Covid-19 infections and deaths amid calls for a complete nationwide lockdown.

      Some 400 medical officers are expected to serve on contract for a maximum of 11 months, the ministry said in a press release, adding that other defence doctors had also been contacted for online consultations.

      Covid-19 cases and deaths have been hitting records every two or three days.

      Deaths rose by more than 4,000 for a second consecutive day on Sunday.

    • Claudia Aoraha

      HUGGING COULD BE BACK ON MAY 17

      The Government wants to see “intimate contact” between family and friends “restored”, as it is expected to set out further easing of restrictions in England this week.

      Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said the Prime Minister will confirm on Monday the relaxation of rules for the next stage of the road map out of lockdown, which is due to take effect from May 17.

      It will see most social contact rules outdoors lifted, although gatherings of more than 30 will remain illegal.

      Indoors, the rule of six or two households will apply, with indoor hospitality, entertainment venues such as cinemas and soft play areas, the rest of the accommodation sector, and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes expected to reopen.

      Speaking on BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Mr Gove said: “All being well, the Prime Minister will confirm tomorrow that there will be a relaxation, we’ve already indicated a proportionate relaxation on international travel, very limited at this stage because we have to be safe.

      “In the same way, as we move into stage three of our road map it will be the case that we will see people capable of meeting indoors.

      “And without prejudice to a broader review of social distancing, it is also the case that friendly contact, intimate contact, between friends and family is something we want to see restored.”

    • Jon Rogers

      MOST PARENTS MORE OPEN TO DISCUSSING DEATH WITH KIDS AFTER PANDEMIC – POLL

      More than half of parents in the UK are more comfortable talking to their child about death and dying following the coronavirus pandemic, new research shows.

      A survey conducted by the Ruth Strauss Foundation found that 55% of people say they are either "a lot" (17%) or "a bit" (38%) more open to discussing death with their children due to Covid-19.

      However, 42% said the pandemic has had no impact on their openness in discussing the matter.

      Brighton came top of the cities (67%) where Covid-19 has made people most open and willing to talk about death and dying generally, compared with the national average of 55%.

      The survey asked the question to 1,002 parents of schoolchildren aged between five and 18 across the nation.

      It also discovered that 26% of parents are "very comfortable" talking to their child about death, while just over two in five say they are "quite comfortable".

    • Jon Rogers

      BRITISH PUBLIC SUPPORTS SHARING COVID-19 VACCINES AROUND THE WORLD – POLL

      A new poll has shown public support for sharing doses of Covid-19 vaccines with other countries as a way to prevent new variants from emerging.

      Some have expressed concern that if a new vaccine-resistant variant were to develop overseas, it could derail the vaccine rollout programme in the UK.

      Humanitarian group One Campaign said its poll reflected awareness of the reality that while some countries, including the UK, are making progress against the pandemic, the rest of the world "has some way to go".

      It comes as the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned of "vaccine deserts" where a dozen countries – many of them in Africa – have no doses at all.

      Of the 2,273 who took part in the poll, which was jointly commissioned with charities Save the Children and Wellcome Trust – and anti-poverty movement Global Citizen, 67% agreed that it was important for the UK to share vaccines with other countries to prevent new strains emerging.

      Around 64% said the vaccination rollout could be jeopardised if a new, vaccine-resistant variant develops elsewhere, while 58% agreed that it is "not fair" that richer countries have reserved more vaccines than they need.

    • Jon Rogers

      MILLIONS TO BE SPENT ON PANDEMIC-RELATED MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT IN SCHOOLS

      Millions of pounds are to be spent on boosting mental health support in schools to help pupils recover from the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, it has been announced.

      The Government has pledged more than £17 million to go towards upgrading mental health support in education as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.

      Funding will be used to to train thousands of senior mental health leads in schools across England and to provide training for education staff to deal with children experiencing pressures brought on by the pandemic.

      Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: "I know how difficult the pandemic has been for many children and young people's mental health and wellbeing, and the next few months will be crucial in supporting their recovery.

      "Getting back into the classroom was a vital step in this process but success in school and college goes beyond an excellent education – as parents we want our children to feel settled, calm and happy while they learn.

      "That's why we're providing new funding to make experts available for support, advice and early intervention or specialist help, so every young person knows who and where to turn to as we build back better after the pandemic."

    • Jon Rogers

      BRAZIL RECORDS FURTHER 39,000 COVID CASES

      Brazil recorded 38,911 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours and 1,024 fatalities from Covid-19, the Health Ministry said on Sunday.

      That raised the total number of confirmed cases in Latin America's largest country to 15,184,790, and the official death toll to 422,340.

       

    • Jon Rogers

      ENGLAND TO EASE COVID RESTRICTIONS ON MAY 17

      England will press ahead with plans to ease COVID-19 restrictions further on May 17, including allowing people to meet indoors, thanks to favourable data on infections and vaccines, the government said on Sunday.

      The country is in the process of gradually lifting its latest lockdown over a period of months, in line with a four-step plan unveiled in February.

      Under Step 3 of the plan, as outlined when it was first announced, people will be allowed to meet up indoors for the first time in months, in groups of up to six people or two full households together.

      Pubs, cafes and restaurants will be able to host customers indoors, also for the first time in months and subject to certain rules. Other indoor entertainment, hospitality and sports venues will also be able to resume activity.

      Johnson's Downing Street office said the latest data on COVID vaccinations, on infections, hospitalisations and deaths, and on the risk posed by new variants had been taken into account in deciding to move forward with Step 3.

    • Jon Rogers

      SPANIARDS CELEBRATE END OF COVID CURFEW

      Spaniards took to the streets to party last night after the country lifted its Covid curfew.

      The vast majority of the country's 17 regions eased restrictions at midnight on Saturday as infections continued to fall and the EU's vaccination rollout gathered pace.

      In capital Madrid, people danced and sang in the streets without masks in scenes resembling New Year's Eve celebrations.

      Local cops were forced to usher the party goers to move from the city's central Puerta del Sol square.

      In Barcelona, people headed to the beach at the stroke of midnight to celebrate the end of the six-month shutdown.

      Crowds poured onto the streets of Barcelona after the curfew was lifted

       

    • Jon Rogers

      NUMBER OF INTENSIVE CARE COVID PATIENTS FALLS BELOW 5K IN FRANCE

      The number of Covid-19 patients in French intensive care units fell below 5,000 for the first time since March 29 on Sunday in a sign that the third wave of the coronavirus is easing, health ministry data showed.

      The number was down for a sixth day in a row at 4,971, against 5,005 the previous day, the ministry said.

      The ministry also said a total of 106,392 people had died in from Covid-19 as of Sunday, up 115.

      The number of new confirmed infections rose by 9,128 against 9,888 a week earlier, taking the total to 5.78 million.

      The country began its third national lockdown at the end of March to tackle a surge in cases, but under pressure from business and a COVID-weary public, President Emmanuel Macron has begun easing restrictions.

    • Jon Rogers

      US ADMINISTERS 259.7M VACCINE DOSES

      The United States has administered 259,716,989 doses of Covid-19 vaccines in the country as of Sunday morning, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

      A total of 257,347,205 vaccine doses had been administered by May 8, the CDC said.

      The agency said 152,116,936 people had received at least one dose while 114,258,244 people were fully vaccinated as of Sunday.

      The CDC tally includes two-dose vaccines from Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc/BioNTech SE as well as Johnson & Johnson's one-shot vaccine as of 6 a.m. ET on Sunday.

      A total of 7,813,633 vaccine doses have been administered in long-term care facilities, the agency said.

    • Jon Rogers

      INDIA BRINGS IN EX-ARMY MEDICS TO BATTLE COVID

      India will recruit hundreds of former army medics to support its overwhelmed healthcare system, the defence ministry said on Sunday, as the country grapples with record Covid-19 infections and deaths amid calls for a complete nationwide lockdown.

      Some 400 medical officers are expected to serve on contract for a maximum of 11 months, the ministry said in a press release, adding that other defence doctors had also been contacted for online consultations.

      Covid-19 cases and deaths have been hitting records every two or three days.

      Deaths rose by more than 4,000 for a second consecutive day on Sunday.

    • Jon Rogers

      HUGGING COULD BE BACK ON MAY 17

      The Government wants to see "intimate contact" between family and friends "restored", as it is expected to set out further easing of restrictions in England this week.

      Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said the Prime Minister will confirm on Monday the relaxation of rules for the next stage of the road map out of lockdown, which is due to take effect from May 17.

      It will see most social contact rules outdoors lifted, although gatherings of more than 30 will remain illegal.

      Indoors, the rule of six or two households will apply, with indoor hospitality, entertainment venues such as cinemas and soft play areas, the rest of the accommodation sector, and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes expected to reopen.

      Speaking on BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Mr Gove said: "All being well, the Prime Minister will confirm tomorrow that there will be a relaxation, we've already indicated a proportionate relaxation on international travel, very limited at this stage because we have to be safe.

      "In the same way, as we move into stage three of our road map it will be the case that we will see people capable of meeting indoors.

      "And without prejudice to a broader review of social distancing, it is also the case that friendly contact, intimate contact, between friends and family is something we want to see restored."

    • Jon Rogers

      VACCINE PROGRAMME HAILED AS 'HUGE SUCCESS'

      Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said: "The UK's vaccination programme has been a huge success and reaching this milestone is a fantastic achievement.

      "The phenomenal rollout of the Covid-19 vaccines is a testament to all involved from the scientists who developed them to the incredible NHS staff and volunteers delivering them.

      "Everybody involved should rightly be proud of their contribution and I urge all those invited to step up and book in your jab, and play a part in our journey out of the pandemic and back to normality."

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