GERMANY has advised against all tourist travel to high risk regions of Spain over a spike in coronavirus cases.
Authorities have told travellers to avoid “autonomous communities of Aragon, Catalonia and Navarra” after Germans were some of the first welcomed back to Spain in June.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Office is now advising against travel to Spanish islands.
It comes following the shock ‘U-turn’ on air bridges at the weekend, which saw thousands of Brits holidaying in Spain now forced to isolate on their return to the UK.
But The Telegraph reports the two week self-isolation will be shaved down by to ten days after holidaymakers were in uproar about the lost wages and cancelled plans.
The FCO had initially left the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands exempt from the 14-day quarantine.
But now, official advise says Brits should avoid “all but essential travel to Spain, the Balearic and Canary Islands.
Meanwhile, the latest coronavirus death toll in the UK stands at 45,759.
Follow all the latest coronavirus news and updates below…
TALL PEOPLE COULD BE MORE VULNERABLE TO COVID, SCIENTISTS CLAIM
Weight has become a known risk factor for coronavirus, but scientists now claim that HEIGHT could make you more vulnerable.
Being tall could more than double your chance of testing positive for Covid-19, experts have said.
Researchers in the UK, Norway and the US, examined a wide range of personal and work-related predictors of transmission.
They said that the early results – from a survey of 2,000 people – suggested that aerosol transmission of the virus is very likely, with taller people at twice the risk.
Read the full story here.
PM: WE MUST BE ‘VIGILANT’ AGAINST CORONAVIRUS
Boris Johnson said the UK must be “vigilant” regarding the threat of second coronavirus wave.
He said: “The most important thing is for everybody in all communities to heed the advice, to follow the advice, not to be spreading it accidentally and get it right down, and we’ll be able to ease the restrictions across the country.
“But clearly we now face, I’m afraid, the threat of a second wave in other parts of Europe and we just have to be vigilant and we have to be very mindful.”
LIB DEMS CALL FOR INQUIRY INTO TORY HANDLING OF PANDEMIC
A public inquiry into the Government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic should start work immediately, the Liberal Democrats have said.
Acting leader Sir Ed Davey has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and said that Martin Forde QC should be appointed to lead the inquiry.
Sir Ed said: “The Prime Minister confirmed to me weeks ago that there would be an independent inquiry, but we have seen no action from the Government since.
“Bereaved families I speak to are so disappointed that the Government is yet to begin an inquiry. They just don’t want any more families to go through what they have.
“The coronavirus threat remains very real. Were a second wave to happen during the winter, it could be even more deadly and damaging than the first.
“The Government must immediately start an inquiry so that we can learn from mistakes and properly plan for a second wave.”
JOHNSON TO ‘REVIEW’ LEICESTER LOCKDOWN
Asked about the lockdown in Leicester, Boris Johnson said: “I have every sympathy for local leaders who want their area out of lockdown, I can understand their instincts.
“But we have to look at the big picture, we have to look at the national situation and, of course, we need to look at the health of the people of Leicester as well.
“They’ve been making a great effort to get the incidents down, the review is going on in the course of the next few days as you know, let’s hope we can make progress there.
“But the priority, and I think the mayor (Peter Soulsby) and local MPs would agree with this, the priority has got to be people’s health and getting the disease under control.
“Particularly now as we can see what’s happening amongst some of our European friends, where they’ve got it starting to bubble up again.”
JOHNSON: SIGNS OF SECOND WAVE IN EUROPE
Speaking today, the Prime Minister said: “Let’s be absolutely clear about what’s happening in Europe, amongst some of our European friends, I’m afraid you are starting to see in some places the signs of a second wave of the pandemic.”
He said it was up to individuals to decide whether they wanted to take the risk of going abroad in the present circumstances.
“These are decisions for families, for individuals, about where they want to go,” he added.
Asked about reports the 14-day quarantine period could be reduced, Mr Johnson said: “We are always looking at ways in which we can mitigate the impact of the quarantine, try to help people, try to make sure that the science is working to help travellers and holidaymakers.
“At the moment you have got to stick with the guidance that we are giving, we have given the guidance now about Spain and about some other places around the world.
“I’m afraid if we do see signs of a second wave in other countries it is really our job, our duty, to act swiftly and decisively to stop…travellers coming back from those places seeding the disease here in the UK.”
The Prime Minister cycles down the Canal Side Heritage Centre in Beeston near Nottingham yesterday.
BIKES ON THE NHS PART OF ‘BIGGEST’ PLAN TO BOOST ACTIVE TRAVEL
Bikes will be made available on the NHS as part of the Government’s “biggest and boldest plans” to boost active travel, Boris Johnson has announced.
The Prime Minister said GPs in areas of England with poor health will be encouraged to prescribe cycling, and patients able to access bikes through their local surgery.
He also revealed that the delayed scheme offering £50 vouchers towards the cost of fixing a bike will go live on Tuesday.
Thousands of miles of new protected cycle lanes, cycle training for any child or adult, and the creation of the UK’s first zero-emission transport city are also part of the plans to promote cycling and walking.
The plans will be funded by a £2 billion investment announced in February.
CAMILLA WITH HER FACE MASK
The Duchess of Cornwall wears a mask with a feather design as she arrives at the recently reopened National Gallery in London this morning.
She will meet staff involved in the organisation’s Covid-19 response and reopening process.
INFECTION RATE ACROSS EUROPE
Sky News has crunched the data to show the current infection rates across Europe, and to show which countries could follow Spain in having quarantine restrictions imposed on those coming to the UK.
After quarantine restrictions were imposed on those coming to the UK from Spain, what countries could be next? @IslaGlaister and @PhilipWhiteside take a look at the data for @SkyNews. https://t.co/1UJFpohSV2 pic.twitter.com/mfDK6sE6ug
— Nick Sutton (@suttonnick) July 28, 2020
GERMANY WARNS AGAINST TRAVEL TO CERTAIN PARTS OF SPAIN
Germany’s foreign ministry has warned against unnecessary visits to three regions of Spain, namely Aragon, Catalonia and Navarra.
The regions have seen a huge rise in cases during recent days, but Spanish authorities insist that infections in most regions are under control.
It comes as Germany’s Robert Koch Institute said negligence was to blame for a recent rise in cases around the country.
The number of new cases in Germany almost doubled on Tuesday to 633.
‘TURN IT INTO JUST SOMETHING LAPPING AT YOUR FEET’
The World Health Organization today said coronavirus did not appear to be following a seasonal trend.
Margaret Harris said: “People are still thinking about seasons. What we all need to get our heads around is this is a new virus and…this one is behaving differently.”
She also warned against thinking in terms of virus waves, saying: “It’s going to be one big wave. It’s going to go up and down a bit. The best thing is to flatten it and turn it into just something lapping at your feet.”
GREGGS BOUNCES BACK FROM COVID LOCKDOWN
The bakery chain said sales were running at 72 per cent of last year’s levels – but said its sales had recovered to “encouraging” levels since it reopened shops.
Although many people are still away from their workplaces, chief executive Roger Whiteside said Greggs was not that dependent on office workers.
The vast majority of its customers “simply can’t work from home”, he said.
Greggs said it would be breaking even when sales reached 80 per cent of last year’s level.
Mr Whiteside was speaking as Greggs unveiled a £65.2m loss for the first half of 2020.
In the same period a year earlier, it made a profit of £36.7m.
NICK FERRARI: ‘GET BACK TO WORK’
LBC’s Nick Ferrari has urged companies to get their employees back into the workplace – despite scientific experts saying people should continue to work from home ‘where possible’.
Here’s what Ferrari said this morning.
Nick Ferrari had this message for companies who are keeping their employees working from home all year: “This country is broke and we have to get it moving again. That’s not going to happen with you in your jim-jams, not doing anything all day.”@NickFerrariLBC | #WFH pic.twitter.com/PsiurW3Iqu
— LBC (@LBC) July 28, 2020
56,400 DEATHS INVOLVING CORONAVIRUS IN THE UK
According to the latest ONS figures released today, 56,409 deaths have been registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, including suspected cases.
TREASURY COVID-19 SUPPORT TO BUSINESSES NEARS £50BN
Almost £50 billion of loans to businesses hit by Covid-19 have been approved so far, the Treasury said.
This includes, up to July 26, £33.68 billion in bounce back loans for 1,113,312 businesses.
The Government, which is guaranteeing the vast majority of the loans should they not be repaid, added that £12.65 billion has been endorsed through the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme and £3.1 billion through the coronavirus large business interruption loan scheme to larger firms.
A total of 510 convertible loans have been awarded through the Future Fund, totalling £512.9 million.
JOHNSON TELLS BRIT BUSINESS TO PREPARE FOR SECOND WAVE
The Prime Minister has warned British firms of the risk of a second wave of Covid-19 in the autumn.
Boris Johnson told more than a dozen businesses on a conference call yesterday that the pandemic could worsen after the summer.
But he insisted it would not be as bad as the first outbreak and stressed the government would try to avoid a second national lockdown, the Financial Times reported.
One person said the PM expressed hope the country would return to normal by spring next year, adding: “He was clear there will be more to come this year.”
COVID DEATHS IN ENGLAND AND WALES AT LOWEST LEVEL FOR 17 WEEKS
The ONS figures reveal there were 295 deaths where coronavirus was mentioned on the death certificate – just 3.3 per cent of the total.
That represents a 19.4 per cent decrease from the previous week.
SELFRIDGES TO CUT 450 JOBS DUE TO PANDEMIC
Luxury department store Selfridges announced this morning it will cut 450 jobs due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter to staff, the company said: “It will, without doubt, be the toughest year we have experienced in our recent history.
“The task ahead is significant and, as we look to reinvent retail and prepare to build back, we will need to go further.
“As a family business, the hardest decisions are the ones that affect our people which is why it pains me to share news today of the toughest decision we have ever had to take that we will, very regrettably, need to make a 14 per cent net reduction in our overall headcount, approximately 450 roles.”
NUMBER OF DEATHS IN UK NOW BELOW FIVE YEAR AVERAGE
This graphic is from the Office of National Statistics.
SPAIN HITS OUT AT UK’S ‘ERROR’ OVER CORONAVIRUS TRAVEL WARNING
Boris Johnson’s Government faced a diplomatic storm with Spain and warnings that its policy on travel to the country risks major damage to business and confusion for holidaymakers.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has warned against all but essential travel to Spain’s Balearic and Canary Islands, having already issued the same advice for the mainland.
Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez described the latest move as an “error”.
He pointed out that the upsurge in coronavirus cases is focused in two regions, Catalonia and Aragon, adding: “In most of Spain, the incidence is very much inferior to even the numbers registered in the United Kingdom.”
The decision to impose quarantine restrictions was made after England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty reportedly told ministers that 10 Brits who tested positive for coronavirus after July 1 had reported visiting Spain in the 14 days before their test.
WHAT DOES SPAIN BEING ADDED TO UK QUARANTINE LIST MEAN FOR HOLIDAYMAKERS?
The measure came into effect from midnight on Saturday, meaning that from Sunday all travellers returning to the UK from Spain and the Balearic and Canary islands will have to quarantine themselves for 14 days.
It applies to people returning to any of the four nations of the UK – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The Government said the move follows a “significant change” over the last week in both the level and pace of change in confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Spain.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said that there was evidence of an increase in cases in several regions of Spain, particularly Aragon, Navarra and Catalonia – which include the cities of Zaragoza, Pamplona and Barcelona.
Catalonia became the latest region to crack down on nightlife, trying to halt new infection clusters.
The wealthy north-east region – home to Barcelona – ordered all nightclubs to close for 15 days and put a midnight curfew on bars in the greater Barcelona area and other towns around Lleida that have become contagion hot zones.
People currently on holiday in Spain have been encouraged to follow the local rules, return home as normal and check the FCO’s travel advice pages on gov.uk for further information.
The FCO is not advising those already travelling in Spain to leave.
Abta – the UK’s travel trade association – has advised customers in the country to continue their holidays and return as normal.
The FCO is advising against all but essential travel to mainland Spain.
Holiday operator Tui has said it will cancel all planned holidays to Spain until August 9 and the Balearic and Canary islands until July 31 in response to the announcement and customers will be contacted to discuss options.
Abta has advised customers due to travel to the country imminently to contact their travel provider.
The Association of British Insurers has said it is “likely” that travel insurance will remain in place for holidaymakers already in Spain until they return home.
However, those attempting to travel to countries against FCO advice would invalidate their travel insurance.
The ABI said people who booked a trip or took out travel insurance after Covid-19 was declared a pandemic may not be covered for travel disruption or cancellation. In either circumstance, travellers should check with their insurer.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said no worker following quarantine guidance should be penalised by employers, including by being put on to sick pay.
He said that if someone is following the law in relation to quarantine and self-isolating, “they can’t have penalties taken against them”.
Local government minister Simon Clarke said the Government is encouraging employers to take a “sensible and compassionate” approach to staff who may find themselves having to self-isolate after returning to the UK from abroad.
Labour wants the Government to do more to help quarantining employees.
5 MORE COUNTRIES ADDED TO QUARANTINE EXEMPTION LIST
The five countries are Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia, Slovakia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
However, the Government said anyone who arrived in England from these countries before Tuesday would still need to self-isolate.
ASDA SHOPPER MOCKS PEOPLE FOR WEARING MASKS IN STORE
An Asda shopper filmed himself calling customers “f****** sheep” for wearing masks in a store in Tunstall, in Staffordshire.
He said: “Look at all these f****** sheep in here wearing f****** masks. There’s sheep everywhere.”
Addressing a man wearing a mask, he adds: “You don’t have to wear that you know mate. You don’t have to wear them. It’s compulsory not mandatory. You look like f****** idiots with those masks on.”
It was made compulsory to wear a mask in shops from July 24.
EMPLOYERS URGED TO TAKE ‘COMPASSIONATE’ APPROACH TO THOSE ASKED TO SELF-ISOLATE
Employers should take a “sensible and compassionate” approach to staff who may have to self-isolate after travelling abroad, the Government has urged.
Local government minister Simon Clarke said the Government hopes employers will put “sensible steps in place” to support those required to self-isolate.
It comes after it was announced that travellers from Spain will be required to quarantine for 14 days on their return to the UK.
Mr Clarke told BBC Breakfast: “We all feel deeply for everyone who’s been affected by this.
“We very strongly encourage employers to take a sensible and compassionate approach to people who find themselves in this situation.”
DOORS TO REOPEN AT LONDON’S MAJOR TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
Madame Tussauds London, Sea Life London Aquarium and The London Dungeon are set to reopen their doors for the first time since being shut down during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Merlin Entertainments said these and other major attractions including the London Eye and Shrek’s Adventure! London will reopen with enhanced hygiene and safety measures on August 1.
Anyone looking to enjoy a day out at these London hotspots will have to pre-book tickets and a visiting time slot online and use cashless payments.
Social distancing is in place and staff have had rigorous training in the new safety measures.