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Up to 1.5 million British tourists have been left in limbo after the Government removed Spain from its list of safe countries exempt from coronavirus quarantine rules.
As of midnight on Saturday, holidaymakers must self-isolate for 14 days upon their return to the UK from the European nation after it recorded 2,255 new Covid-19 cases on Friday – sparking fears of a second wave.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab defended the move, saying ministers would not apologise for taking “swift” action to protect Britons against the disease.
The scrapping of the travel corridor comes as the number of confirmed cases of the virus surpassed 16 million worldwide, with 4.1 million reported in the US alone.
In other developments, Boris Johnson is set to unveil a new ‘Better Health’ campaign tomorrow in a bid to encourage Britons to slim down to protect against the worst symptoms of the disease, and the UK’s official death toll rose by 14 overnight.
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Coronavirus cases in Latin America surge past US and Canada, according to a Reuters tally
According to the Reuters news agency, Covid-19 cases in Latin America have surpasses combined cases in the US and Canada.
The tally shows Latin America makes up 26.83% of coronavirus cases globally.
The continent has 4,327,160 infections while the US and Canada has 4,308,495.
It comes after a spike of cases were recorded in Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Argentina.
Healthcare workers walk along a bridge to access a house in the riverside community Pinheiro, as they visit riverside communities to check on residents during the coronavirus outbreak in Para state, Brazil (REUTERS)
A mother-of-two holidaying on the Spanish island of Majorca said she was “angry” over the changes to travel quarantine rules
Liz Samandi, 52, a business owner from Market Harborough, Leicestershire, is due to return from a family break away on Thursday.
She said it was “frustrating” that people already abroad had been given “no choice” in relation to the new rules.
“I just feel a bit angry as well actually that they’ve done this and not considered the people that are already here,” she added.
Highlighting the lower number of Covid-19 cases in Majorca compared to parts of mainland Spain, Mrs Samandi backed the use of regional travel corridors and having testing for arrivals at UK airports.
“It’s the blanket approach which I think is wrong, it should have been a more targeted area I think,” she said.
A Liverpool man who flew back to the UK today said a region-specific approach should have been adopted with the Spanish quarantine measures
James Sloan, 34, who runs the Imagine Trust, said his family-of-five had been on holiday in Mojacar, more than 400 miles from the nearest Covid-19 outbreak in Barcelona.
He told the PA news agency: “When we flew out to Spain 10 days ago from Manchester there was an outbreak in Leicester, 100 miles away, but that wasn’t seen to be a problem.
“So why is it a problem when our nearest outbreak was 400 miles away from us in Spain?”
His wife works as a self-employed doctor and he said she will lose two weeks’ work while they quarantine. He is hoping to be able to work from home.
He said: “We knew the risk and we aren’t asking for sympathy, but if they are going to keep doing this, they need to think about a different approach because it is going to have a massive effect on people.”
The plan to reopen schools will see extra teachers, extensive cleaning regimes and personal protective equipment put in place in Ireland, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar has said
The Department of Education has been finalising details in its planning document before it is brought to Cabinet on Monday.
The Government said its priority is to see the full reopening of schools at the end of August.
Mr Varadkar told RTE’s the Week in Politics programme on Sunday that he has read the comprehensive document in recent days and is “confident” students and teachers will return by the end of next month.
The Government’s plan is ready, it’s going to go to Cabinet tomorrow. It involves a really big investment in changes to schools and school buildings.
It involves extra teachers, it involves cleaning regimes, and involves all sorts of practices and procedures that may occur if there is a case of coronavirus in schools.
And also special arrangements for teachers who have a chronic illness, for example. A lot of work has gone into it. There has been a lot of consultations with the unions.”
No further coronavirus deaths in Ireland
The Department of Health has confirmed that there have been no further deaths from Covid-19 in the last 24 hours in Ireland.
The health system has been notified of another 12 confirmed Covid-19 cases.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps holds video call with UK airlines and the British Ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliott
Mr Shapps is currently abroad in Spain and will have to self-isolate for 14 days upon his return.
He tweeted: “Following the unexpectedly rapid rise in Spain’s #coronavirus cases, I held a video call with UK airlines + our Ambassador @HughElliottUK today in order to ensure close coordination to help UK nationals return from Spain. We will all need to quarantine for 14 days on arrival.”
North Korea declares emergency in town over suspected Covid-19 case
North Korea has declared a state of emergency in a city near its border with South Korea over concerns the country has its first coronavirus case.
The measure was taken on Friday afternoon after a resident of Kaesong who is suspected of fleeing the country to South Korea years ago, illegally crossed the border into North Korea early last week, said North Korea’s Central News Agency (KCNA).
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Encouraging Britons to cycle to tackle obesity as UK emerges from lockdown is a “no-brainer” says Olympic gold medallist
Chris Boardman, who also serves as Greater Manchester’s cycling and walking commissioner, has backed the Government’s 12-week health plans set to be rolled out as part of the Prime Minister’s obesity strategy.
The British Cycling policy adviser said introducing more segregated lanes and better cycle infrastructure would “tick so many boxes” both physically and mentally as the country emerges from lockdown.
He told the PA news agency:
It’s clear that more people want to cycle, so many have discovered the benefits during lockdown and have seen improvements to their physical and mental wellbeing.
By introducing more safe cycling routes, more people would be encouraged to continue cycling once lockdown ends and this would tick so many boxes, not just in fighting obesity and other inactivity-related diseases, but in tackling air pollution and mental ill-health.
The Government gets a massive yes from me, and I’m not sure why this hasn’t been done sooner, it’s become a case of ‘why not?’
It would be neglecting the health of the nation not to – it’s a cheap treatment to conditions such as type 2 diabetes.”
The dashboard has now been updated: another 14 deaths have been confirmed across all settings in the UK
Here’s the data on the Government website:
UK reports another 747 coronavirus cases
As of 9am this morning, 299,426 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK – up by 747 on yesterday.
The number of deaths has not yet been updated on the Department of Health dashboard.
Here’s a wrap of today’s hospital figures:
The UK’s coronavirus hospital death toll has increased by 10, which is the second-lowest total on a Sunday since lockdown began.
A further nine people have died in hospital in England from coronavirus
A further nine people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in hospital in England, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals to 29,281, NHS England said.
Patients were aged between 36 and 89, and all had known underlying health conditions.
Another three deaths were reported with no positive Covid-19 test result.
Wales reports one new coronavirus death
Wales’s coronavirus death toll has risen by one overnight, taking the total number of fatalities to 1,549.
The country has also confirmed another two cases of Covid-19, bringing the infection count to date to 17,125.
Spain says quarantine shouldn’t be about ‘tit-for-tat’
Spain’s foreign minister has refused to comment on whether the country will now start imposing quarantine rules on people coming from the UK, saying “this is not a political exercise”.
“This is not a tit-for-tat exercise, we will take measures on the basis of epidemiological data,” Arancha Gonzalez Laya told reporters.
“If we think that in any country in Europe the epidemiological data requires stricter measures on our side, we will do this – this is not a political exercise, this is not a diplomatic exercise.
“This is an exercise to protect the health and safety of our citizens – Spaniards as well as tourists who love coming to Spain and whom we hope will continue coming to Spain, because Spain is a safe country.”
Scotland records no new coronavirus deaths for 10th day running
Scotland has recorded four new confirmed cases of coronavirus overnight, according to the latest Scottish Government figures.
A total of 18,551 people have now tested positive for the virus north of the border.
No deaths of people who tested positive for Covid-19 have been recorded for ten consecutive days, meaning the toll remains at 2,491.
The percentage of people testing positive remains at 0.2 per cent, the figures indicate, down from 0.7 per cent yesterday.
Jet2.com to continue flights to Spain
Tour operator Jet2.com said it was continuing to run its scheduled programme of flights to and from mainland Spain, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands.
A spokesperson said: “We are still operating flights and holidays to four destinations in mainland Spain (Costa de Almeria, Alicante, Malaga and Murcia), which are open and are located away from areas which have been impacted by increased cases of Covid-19.
“In light of the updated advice from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), we are in the process of reviewing options for customers due to travel to these four destinations.”
They added: “We are also continuing to operate flights and holidays to our destinations in the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands as scheduled.
“Because the FCO travel advice to these destinations remains unchanged, our usual terms and conditions apply.
“As always, we advise customers to purchase appropriate travel insurance before travelling.”
Back to Spain:
The Spanish government is urging the UK to exclude the Balearic and Canary islands from its 14-day quarantine rule.
“Spain is safe, it is safe for Spaniards, it is safe for tourists,” Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya told reporters this lunchtime.
“We keep in a dialogue with European governments to transmit this message of calm and responsibility,” she said.
“We are doing so with the UK Government who has recently adopted a set of quarantine measures for Spain in particular.
“At the moment our dialogue efforts are focused on excluding from the quarantine measures the Balearic and the Canary Islands.
“[This is] for two reasons – number one, these are islands, very safe territories; number two, their epidemiological data is extremely positive and well below epidemiological data in the UK.
“We do hope that this dialogue we have started with the UK authorities, together with the governments of the Balearic and Canary Islands, will bear fruit shortly.”