TRAVEL bosses have demanded that the Government expand the green list to include the Greek islands.

It came as Michael Gove confirmed Brits can hug again from next week as lockdown is eased.

It has emerged as the new UK hotspot for the strain, 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.

Speaking out on behalf of airlines, EasyJet Holidays boss Garry Wilson said that he was “disappointed” at the size of the government's green list.

He said the Balearic, Canary and Greek islands fitted the Government’s Covid safety criteria and should be included.

Virgin Atlantic called the list “overly cautious” and urged that the US be added.

The list is to be reviewed in three weeks.

Meanwhile, Brits rushed to book foreign holidays on Friday with TUI having its "best day" in months.

Read our coronavirus live blog below for the latest updates…

  • Debbie White

    HALF-TERM HOLS RUINED FOR THOUSANDS OF BRITS

    Thousands of Brits have had their half-term holiday plans ruined as the Government faces mounting anger over its traffic-light system for international travel.

    It came as easyJet boss Lohan Lundgren urged ministers to put tourist hotspots Greece and Spain on the green list from May 17.

    Mr Lundgren said the decision to leave holiday favourites off the green list was “overly cautious” and “not justified by the evidence”.

    He urged ministers to move Greece and Spain onto the list in three weeks as the risk of contracting Covid was “very low”.

  • Dan Keane

    NEARLY 2 MILLION JABS GIVEN OUT IN WALES

    Public Health Wales said a total of 1,922,881 first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have now been given in Wales.

    The agency said 842,047 second doses have also been administered.

  • Dan Keane

    BORIS TO MAKE NHS PRIORITY

    Boris Johnson will make fixing the Covid-hit NHS his top priority in the year ahead.

    The PM will pump in billions of pounds to cut big waiting lists which grew as hospitals fought the virus.

    Action to speed up diagnosis and treatment for other illnesses will be at the heart of the Queen’s Speech this week.

    Mr Johnson said: “My government is focused on beating this disease, saving lives and livelihoods.

    “But I am also determined we fulfil the promises we made to the British people.”

  • Debbie White

    CHAMP'S SECRET HELL

    Anthony Joshua says Covid lockdowns stopped him having a breakdown.

    The world heavyweight champ was grateful to take time off from training.

    Joshua, who is closing in on a mega-fight with rival Tyson Fury, said: “I never want to say Covid has been a blessing as for 99 per cent of people it has been so life-changing and tough for people.

    More on the story here.

  • Debbie White

    ROADMAP REVEAL – PM TO GIVE SPEECH TOMORROW

    Boris Johnson will finally allow Brits to hug family and friends from next week, after months of social distancing.

    The Prime Minister is due to set out the rules on hugging loved ones and attending wedding and funerals in a 5pm press conference tomorrow.

    He is likely to tell the nation to use their "personal judgement" and "common sense" when hugging pals and family members after May 17, sources say.

    Number 10 sources have told The Telegraph Mr Johnson is likely to tell the public tomorrow that everyone should use their “personal judgement” and their “common sense” when it comes to hugging friends and family after May 17.

    It is thought that the PM will also confirm changes to the restrictions surrounding care home residents.

  • Debbie White

    INDIA STILL IGNORING LOCKDOWN CALLS

    India's Covid-19 deaths rose by more than 4,000 for a second consecutive day on Sunday.

    Yet calls for a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the virus continue to be ignored.

    India's health ministry reported 4,092 fatalities over the past 24 hours, taking the overall death toll to 242,362. New cases rose by 403,738, just shy of the record and increasing the total since the start of the pandemic to 22.3 million.

    India has been hit hard by a second wave with cases and deaths hitting record highs every other day.

    With an acute shortage of oxygen and beds in many hospitals and morgues and crematoriums overflowing, experts have said the actual numbers for Covid cases and fatalities could be far higher.

  • Debbie White

    HEATHROW HOLIDAYMAKERS FUMING OVER 10-HOUR-LONG QUEUES

    Holidaymakers could face queues up to TEN HOURS when arriving back in Heathrow Airport this summer.

    A row between Border Force, Heathrow and unions over Perspex screens to blame for the horror wait times.

    Grant Shapps yesterday revealed the long-awaited list of where Brits can go on holiday later this month without having to quarantine on their return – with Portugal, Israel and Iceland among those on the green list.

    And the Transport Secretary also warned of longer wait times at airports as the industry reopens.

    Officials at the border will be tasked with a range of checks to make sure Covid doesn't take hold in the UK again.

  • Debbie White

    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.

  • Debbie White

    SINGLE-USE FACE MASKS KILLING OUR PLANET

    Face masks used to cut Covid rates could be killing our planet – by releasing pollutants into the environment.

    Experts found the single-use masks release heavy metals, chemicals and plastic fibres when submerged in water.

    Research originally set out to calculate the plastic waste impact on the environment.

    But as more masks were tested, more chemicals were uncovered usually linked to dyes used in producing the masks.

    The team found traces of heavy metals lead, antimony and cadmium – all toxic in low doses.

  • Debbie White

    FINALLY! HUGS TO BE ALLOWED

    Hugging family and friends will be allowed from next week when the next set of restrictions lift.

    Boris Johnson will set out the rules during a Downing Street press conference and Brits will be told to use their “common sense”, according to reports.

    It's expected that people will be told they can finally hug their close friends and family again – but social distancing rules will be expected to stay for others.

    Brits will be told they can decide on their own levels of risk "for their own circumstances" and take decisions into their own hands after months of advice from ministers about what to do.

    Number 10 sources have told The Telegraph Mr Johnson is likely to tell the public tomorrow that everyone should use their “personal judgement” and their “common sense” when it comes to hugging friends and family after May 17.

  • Debbie White

    ONE PER CENT OF HOSPITALISED COVID CASES HAD JAB

    Jabbed Brits make up just one per cent of patients hospitalised with Covid since the huge vaccine rollout, according to a study.

    Researchers at the Government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies called the findings 'joyous'.

    Prof Calum Semple said: "We feel very strongly this is a story about vaccine success.

    "The absolute numbers of people being admitted to hospital after 21 days of the first dose is tiny."

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    HOLD AGAIN

    Hugging family and friends will be allowed from next week when the next set of restrictions lift.

    Boris Johnson will set out the rules tomorrow during a Downing Street press conference and Brits will be told to use their “common sense”, according to reports.

    At the moment anyone who doesn't live together is advised to keep at least 1.5 metres away from others to stop the spread of the virus.

    But, as first revealed by The Sun it's expected that people will be told they can finally hug their close friends and family again – but social distancing rules will be expected to stay for others.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    WHAT COUNTRIES ARE ON THE GREEN LIST?

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    RUN FOR THE SUN

    Brits rushed to book breaks abroad yesterday — as travel chiefs said the Covid green list should be expanded.

    The UK’s biggest holiday firm, TUI, had its “best day” in months, with six in ten bookings for Portugal.

    Thomas Cook also saw high demand while EasyJet has put on an extra 80,000 seats to green list spots.

    Jet2holidays said its bookings were 1,300 per cent up on a week ago.

    Demand was also high for Gibraltar, Madeira and Israel.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    CHAMP'S SECRET HELL

    Anthony Joshua says Covid lockdowns stopped him having a breakdown.

    The world heavyweight champ was grateful to take time off from training.

    Joshua, who is closing in on a mega-fight with rival Tyson Fury, said: “I never want to say Covid has been a blessing as for 99 per cent of people it has been so life-changing and tough for people.

    More on the story here.

  • Aliki Kraterou

    HOW IS THE GOVERNMENT DECIDING WHICH LIST COUNTRIES ARE ON?

    The exact details are not yet revealed but factors taken into account include the number of people vaccinated and Covid infection rates.

    Variants are of concern and the ability of the country to identify them will also be taken into account.

  • Aliki Kraterou
  • Niamh Cavanagh

    SOUTH AFRICA PICKS UP FIRST CASES OF CORONAVIRUS VARIANT FROM INDIA

    South Africa's health ministry said on Saturday it had detected the first four cases of a new coronavirus variant that emerged in India and was responsible for a surge of infections and deaths in the Asian country.

    Testing had also picked up 11 cases of variant B.1.1.7 first detected in the UK, the health ministry said in a statement.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    WHAT COUNTRIES HAVE THE GREEN LIGHT FOR HOLIDAYS?

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    PRESSURE ON FRENCH HOSPITALS FROM COVID-19 CONTINUES TO EASE

    The number of COVID-19 patients in French intensive care units fell for the fifth day in a row on Saturday, down 101 from the previous day at 5,005, the health ministry said.

    The number of people in hospital with the virus fell by 531 to 25,800, it said.

    These data follow President Emmanuel Macron's decision to start unwind the country's third lockdown last week.

    France also reported 176 new coronavirus deaths in hospital, down from 226 on Friday.

    However, the number of new confirmed virus infections rose by 20,745, from 19,124 the previous day, taking the total to 5.8 million – the world's fourth-highest.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    DEADLY STRAIN

    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.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    TURKEY COVID CASES BELOW 20,000 FOR FIRST TIME SINCE MID-MARCH

    Turkey's daily COVID-19 cases fell below 20,000 for the first time since March 17 on Saturday, with 18,052 infections over the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed.

    Last week, President Tayyip Erdogan announced what he called a "full lockdown" until May 17 to curb a surge in infections and deaths after the country eased restrictions in early March.

    The data showed another 281 deaths from the coronavirus on Saturday, raising the total toll to 42,746. Total cases exceeded 5 million, although there has been a fall in infections since the lockdown.

    In recent weeks, Turkey has ranked fourth globally in terms of COVID-19 cases, with daily infections topping 60,000.

    However, Erdogan said earlier on Saturday that he hoped a "new normalisation" period would begin after May 17, adding that reopening schools would be included in steps to be announced after the lockdown.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    IRELAND REMOVES ITALY & AUSTRIA FROM HOTEL QUARANTINE LIST

     Ireland removed Italy and Austria from its list of countries where arrivals are subject to mandatory hotel quarantine but kept the measures in place for three other European Union member states despite misgivings from the EU executive.

    Ireland has some of the toughest travel restrictions in the Europe and is the only one the EU's 27 countries that forces arrivals from certain countries to pay almost 2,000 euros each to quarantine for up to 14 days in a secure hotel.

    The European Commission last month urged Dublin to pursue less restrictive measures and sought clarifications as to why some fellow member states were subject to the rules and others were not. Belgium, France and Luxembourg remain on the list.

    Arrivals from Armenia, Aruba, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jordan, Kosovo, Lebanon, North Macedonia and Ukraine will also no longer have to quarantine in a hotel, Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said in a statement.

    The Irish government has said it hopes to ease the restrictions once the EU rolls out digital health passes that will permit vaccinated citizens to travel.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    ITALY PLANS TO LIFT RESTRICTIONS FOR SOME TRAVELLERS FROM MID-MAY

    Italy plans to lift quarantine restrictions for travellers arriving from European countries, Britain and Israel as early as mid-May in a bid to revive the tourism industry, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Saturday.

    Quarantine requirement may be scrapped for those arriving from the United States from June, Di Maio said, after meeting Health Minister Roberto Speranza to discuss the easing of restrictions for countries where vaccination levels are high.

    "We are working to lift the 'mini-quarantine' for people coming from European countries, the UK and Israel, if they have a negative swab, proof of vaccination or have recovered from COVID within the last 6 months. Same thing for the U.S.", he wrote in a post on Facebook.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    WHAT THE FLU

    Covid could be wiped out in the UK by winter as flu is a worse threat, a top scientist has claimed.

    Professor Hugh Pennington said the success of the coronavirus vaccine rollout has hugely dampened the rampaging virus.

    He said seasonal flu is going to be more of a problem in future if the UK is protected against Covid.

    But he added there will always remain the "threat" of a variant being imported into the country.

    The emeritus professor of bacteriology at Aberdeen University said the UK's high vaccination rate was "a success story" and had "undoubtedly reduced hospital admissions and deaths".

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