EUROPE is begging vaccinated Brits to take their summer holidays on the continent this year as coronavirus cases keep falling.

While just a "handful" of countries are due to get the coveted green status from May 17 when the list is announced later this week, a three-weekly review will pave the way for more places to be added.

Holiday hotspot Portugal is on the “cusp” on making the initial list, with an insider saying it would go green “soonish” even if it missed out this time around.

Popular destinations including Spain, Greece and France are pencilled in by Downing Street to be added by the end of June, reports the Telegraph.

A government source said the list will be updated every few weeks to give Brits the chance to get away.

Read our coronavirus live blog below for the latest updates…

  • Patrick Knox

    SPAIN TO LET REGIONS DECIDE COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS FROM MAY 9

    Its government will pass responsibility for coronavirus restrictions on to the country's 17 regions after a state of emergency expires next week, Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo said on Tuesday.

    The six-month emergency decree, which provides a legal framework for the most restrictive Covid-19 measures, expires on Sunday.

    Regional authorities will then be able to set up curfews and lock down areas but must secure the support of local courts, Calvo said.

    "Regions can justify, argue, propose measures to tribunals curfews or lockdowns that limit rights and freedoms, but they need a judicial authorisation," she told a news conference.

  • Patrick Knox

    GERMANY TO EASE VIRUS CURBS FOR VACCINATED PEOPLE

    People who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will no longer have to abide by curfews and contact restrictions in Germany under a draft law agreed by the cabinet today.

    The law, which would also apply to people who have recovered from Covid-19, must still be signed off by parliament but could come into force as early as this week, Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht said.

    There must be a "good reason" for any restrictions on public life, Lambrecht said. "As soon as this reason ceases to exist… these restrictions should then no longer be in place," she said.

    Under national measures introduced in April, areas of Germany with an incidence rate of more than 100 new infections per 100,000 people over the last seven days.

  • Patrick Knox

    WHO IS NIGEL BOYLE?

    Boyle is an English actor born in Moseley, Birmingham.

    He graduated from Birmingham School of Acting in 2002.

    He's best known for starring as DS Ian Buckells on BBC's hit police drama Line of Duty.

    Before getting into acting on the small screen, Boyle has appeared in numerous stage productions, in Twelfth Night, Henry V, No Exit, Aston Hall By Candlelight, Sweet Love Remembered, If Music Be The Food Of Love, Circus Land and A Dybbuck.

    Boyle has also had a number of film roles include Young, High and Dead and The Best Years.

  • Patrick Knox

    IRISH COVID-19 JOBLESS CLAIMS FALL 4% AS ECONOMY REOPENS

    The number of people in Ireland claiming temporary coronavirus-related jobless benefits fell by 4 per cent over the last week ahead of a substantial reopening of the economy in the coming weeks, data shown today.

    Pandemic Unemployment Payment claims dropped to 385,211 from 403,095, the social protection department said. 

    The total rose as high as 480,000 in February when the closure of most shops, building sites and all hospitality facilities pushed the unemployment rate to close to 25 per cent.

  • Patrick Knox

    ICOAST BUSTS GANG FORGING COVID TEST CERTIFICATES

    Ivory Coast has arrested around a dozen people, including three nurses, on suspicion of selling fake negative Covid-19 test certificates to air travelers, police sources told AFP today.

    "These people issued fake certificates for the price of 45,000 (CFA) francs (68 euros, 82 dollars) each to passengers leaving from Abidjan airport," a source said, requesting anonymity.

    "Three nurses and around 10 other people" were detained on suspicion of participating in the scheme, another source said.

    The detainees used a computer application enabling them to modify names on genuine Covid-19 certificates issued by the local Pasteur Institute and to copy the signature of its director, Professor Mireille Dosso.

  • Patrick Knox

    HORRIBLE' WEEKS AHEAD AS INDIA'S VIRUS CATASTROPHE WORSENS

    India's official count of coronavirus cases surpassed 20 million today, nearly doubling in the past three months, while deaths officially have passed 220,000. 

    Staggering as those numbers are, the true figures are believed to be far higher, the undercount an apparent reflection of the troubles in the healthcare system.

    The country has witnessed scenes of people dying outside overwhelmed hospitals and funeral pyres lighting up the night sky.

    Infections have surged in India since February in a disastrous turn blamed on more contagious variants of the virus as well as government decisions to allow massive crowds to gather for Hindu religious festivals and political rallies.

  • Patrick Knox

    WILLIAM PAYS TRIBUTE TO FATHER OF ASTON VILLA MANAGER

    The Duke of Cambridge has paid tribute to the father of Aston Villa manager Dean Smith, who died after contracting Covid-19, as he opened the football club's new training centre.

    William said Ron Smith, a lifelong Villa fan who died aged 79 last year, would have been "very proud" of the achievements of his son who has steered the team to promotion and Premier League safety since being appointed in 2018.

    The duke visited the team's training ground to hear about the work of the club's foundation protecting and supporting communities during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    He shared a laugh with the squad, joking about the use of modern technology in football and a player who was stopped by police just before meeting the duke.

    The future king is a keen Villa fan and wore the club's colours – a claret jumper and blue shirt – for his visit to its high performance centre at Bodymoor Heath in north Warwickshire.

  • Alice Fuller

    BORIS TOLD TO 'GET ON WITH ENDING LOCKDOWN'

    Boris Johnson has been told to "get on with it" and end lockdown faster after Britain recorded its lowest death toll in nine months.

    Restless Tory MPs want the PM to speed up parts of his roadmap, including allowing more guests at weddings before June 21.

    They have accused him of failing to stick to his promise that he'll follow "data not dates" when deciding how to lift restrictions.

    Tory MP Philip Davies said there is "no justification" for not returning the country "back to normal" now.

    He told told The Sun: "I want everything reopened much faster and weddings is one of them. It's been devastating for the industry. Everyone vulnerable has now been vaccinated, what is the justification for it?"

  • Alice Fuller

    COVID ACCELERATED CRYPTOCURRENCY MARKET GROWTH

    The pandemic has accelerated growth in the retail cryptocurrency market by at least five years, according to research.

    A project by UK-based money app Ziglu concluded 37 per cent of people who own cryptocurrencies had seen the amounts they had actively bought and sold during Covid lockdowns increase significantly.

    10 per cent even admitted their activity rose "dramatically", CityAM reports.

    Ziglu creator Mark Hipperson said: "he coronavirus crisis has accelerated growth in the retail cryptocurrency market by at least five years."

  • Alice Fuller

    COVID FRAUDSTERS INJECTING PENSIONERS WITH FAKE VACCINES

    Vile Covid fraudsters are injecting pensioners with a fake vaccine in a horrific £160-a-jab doorstep scam.

    Vulnerable Brits are being targeted in their own homes by conmen who give them a shot and take their cash, experts say.

    One frail OAP was allegedly jabbed in the arm with a "dart-like" injection and charged £160 – before the same man returned to her home days later to ask for another £100.

    And this morning, Gareth Shaw of consumer group Which? urged people to be especially cautious as doorstep cons have made a huge resurgence during the pandemic.

    "It's really, really serious stuff. They're targeting the most vulnerable and really taking advantage of their uncertainty," he told Sky. Fraudsters go around posing as the NHS and actually administering a 'vaccine'. It's typically a saline solution. It's an absolutely horrific crime."

  • Alice Fuller

    UNIVERSITIES SLAMMED FOR 'FORCING STUDENTS TO GET VACCINES'

    Tucker Carlson has slammed university colleges for allegedly forcing students to get vaccinated against Covid-19 before they return to campus in the fall.

    The Fox News host, who supports the vaccine, condemned the 100 American universities that have said they will require students to take up the jab.

    He told viewers last night: "Colleges across the country have announced that they will require vaccine passports in the fall. Students who can't show proof of COVID vaccination will not be allowed on campus.

    “You can see where this is going, and at high speed. Soon, virtually all college students in America will be required to take the COVID vaccine. In effect, it is a national mandate."

    The presenter claimed it’s “hard to understand the reasoning” behind the decision from a medical perspective and accused Democrats of driving mandatory university vaccinations – including president Joe Biden.

  • Patrick Knox

    WHAT NEXT FOR LIFTING LOCKDOWN?

    The next phase is expected to be introduced on May 17, with households allowed to mix indoors.

    The Prime Minister's official spokesman told reporters: "The aim of the road map throughout is to be cautious but irreversible.

    "We are approaching the earliest possible date for step three and we will say more about that soon."

    The latest figures were "in line with expectations, which is hugely encouraging and a credit to the vaccine rollout and to the British public".

    "But that emphasises the need to adhere to the road map which provides that certainty and stability that the public and business have been asking for."

  • Patrick Knox

    BRAZIL REGISTERS 983 NEW COVID-19 DEATHS

    Brazil registered 983 COVID-19 deaths on Monday and 24,619 additional cases, according to data released by the nation’s Health Ministry.

    The South American country has now registered 408,622 total coronavirus deaths and 14,779,529 total confirmed cases.

  • Patrick Knox

    DIGITAL COVID-19 STATUS CERTIFICATES

    Any scheme which uses digital certificates to prove a person's coronavirus status would only be a success if the public is able to "trust" the way their data is used, the Information Commissioner will say tomorrow.

    The Government has said it is "considering" using the official NHS app as a digital route to allow holidaymakers to show they have been vaccinated and unlock overseas travel.

    Speaking at the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) Data Protection Practitioners' annual conference, Elizabeth Denham is expected to say such a system can only work if the public is able to trust that their personal data was being used responsibly and their privacy protected.

    "The success of any Covid-status scheme will rely on people trusting them, and that means people having confidence in how the scheme would use their personal information," the Information Commissioner will say.

    "There is simply not an option today for any organisation, private or public sector, to say 'how we use data is complex, this service is important, so just trust us'. That applies as much to Covid-status certificates as it does to social media companies or app developers."

  • Patrick Knox

    TRAVEL APP SCHEME MUST BE UK-WIDE

    Henk van Klaveren, head of public affairs at trade body The Airport Operators Association, said the Government's plan for enabling people travelling abroad to use the NHS app to prove their Covid-19 status must be "a four-nation approach not just an England-only approach".

    Giving evidence to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus, he added that the app must include details of recent tests, not just vaccines.

    "It's not just about vaccinated status. We've seen that people will require also proof of testing, even if they are vaccinated.

    "Again that depends on the different entry requirements of different countries, but some require both."

  • Patrick Knox

    CAMBODIA BANS MEDIA COVERAGE FROM LOCKDOWN 'RED ZONES'

    It ordered journalists to stop reporting from blockaded coronavirus "red zones" and from chasing ambulances as the country battles against a record surge in infections.

    The country has seen Covid-19 cases surge since February, when an outbreak was first detected among its Chinese expatriate community.

    Today officials announced a record 938 new infections, bringing the total cases to 16,299 with 107 deaths.

    Authorities have transformed schools and wedding party halls into covid treatment centres as hospitals are running out of beds and Prime Minister Hun Sen warned the country was "on the brink of death" from the virus outbreak.

  • Patrick Knox

    COVID ‘NAILS’ ARE LATEST NEW SYMPTOM

    Prof Tim Spector, who leads the Zoe Symptom Study app, wrote on Twitter: “Do your nails look odd? 

    “COVID nails are increasingly being recognised as the nails recover after infection and the growth recovers leaving a clear line. Can occur without skin rashes and appears harmless.”

    He posted an image of what appear to be women’s fingernails with horizontal streaks across them.

    Fingernails grow in roughly six-month cycles. 

    Therefore, Prof Spector is suggesting that a change in appearance related to an infection would come with a slight delay.

    Prof Tim Spector posted this photo on Twitter to show "Covid nails"
  • Patrick Knox

    65 NEW CASES IN WALES

    This takes the total number of confirmed cases to 211,638.

    Public Health Wales said there was one new death, taking the total in the country since the start of the pandemic to 5,551.

    It said a total of 1,864,400 first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have now been given in Wales.

    The agency said 772,527 second doses have also been administered.

  • Patrick Knox

    AXED OKTOBERFEST TO BE HELD IN DRY DUBAI INSTEAD 

    Plans to move the axed Oktoberfest from Munich to Dubai have been compared by German critics to holding election rallies in North Korea.

    The world's biggest beer festival has been scrapped by Bavaria for the second year in a row amid the coronavirus pandemic – but organisers want to swap bratwurst for the Burj and take it to the UAE.

    Berlin Christmas market organiser Charles Blume and the Munich-based restaurateur Dirk Ippen revealed their elaborate plans last week, and intend to have imported Bavarian beer and German waiting staff for the event in the Dubai marina.

    A string of celebs are also said be invited to the unconventional execution of Oktoberfest, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pamela Anderson and Steven Seagal.

  • John Hall

    ONLY ONE UK COVID DEATH REPORTED YESTERDAY

    That was first time fatalities have dropped to a single figure since last summer.

    It appears to show the vaccine programme is working, with fewer serious illnesses resulting in deaths.

    There is often a lag over the weekend in reporting numbers of deaths and new infections, but fatalities have been encouragingly low for weeks.

    The UK has recorded 1,649 new Covid cases in the last 24 hours, with infections remaining steady.

    It comes weeks before the next stage in the roadmap out of lockdown – when people in England will be able to mix indoors as a group of six.

  • Patrick Knox

    ‘YOUNG PEOPLE MAY SHUN COVID PASSPORT’

    Professor Stephen Reicher, from the University of St Andrews and a member of the Sage sub-committee advising on behavioural science, told the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus that younger people and black people are more likely than the general population to be opposed to a requirement to hold a vaccine passport in certain circumstances.

    He said: "It gets more controversial when you go into the realm of things like going to a football game, going to an event, going to the pub, going to a restaurant.

    "In particular, if you look at going to the pub or going to a restaurant, it varies between different groups.

    "Groups which have more of a history, if you like, a troubled relationship with government and the state, are more suspicious.

    "So younger age groups see vaccine passports to go to the pub, to go to a restaurant, to go to non-essential shops, they see them as more of an attack on liberties.

    "Black people see them as more of an attack on liberties."

  • John Hall

    RUSSIA REPORTS 7,770 NEW COVID-19 CASES, 337 DEATHS

    This brings the total national tally of infections to 4,839,514.

    The Russian coronavirus crisis centre said 337 more deaths of coronavirus patients had been confirmed in the last 24 hours, taking the official death toll to 111,535.

  • John Hall

    PORTUGAL SAYS IT’S ‘TAKING THE LEAD IN REOPENING’

    Secretary of state for tourism, Rita Marques, said the country is "taking the lead" at the European Council in negotiations aimed at opening up the European Union to UK holidaymakers.

    She told BBC Breakfast: "We are really pushing hard to open up to third countries like the UK.

    "I'm not going to tell you how important the British market to Portugal. I just want to tell you that the British market is really important to all Europe, and in that sense we are ready to welcome you when you are ready to come."

  • Patrick Knox

    'NO EVIDENCE DRINKING ALCOHOL INTERFERES WITH JABS'

    There is no evidence that drinking alcohol after a Covid-19 vaccine interferes with how it works, a UK regulator has said.

    The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) was responding to social media reports that people should abstain from drinking for up to two weeks after a vaccine.

    In January, advisers to the alcohol education charity Drinkaware, which is funded by the alcohol industry, said there was some evidence that drinking, especially regular heavy drinking, could interfere with the body's ability to build immunity in response to some vaccines.

    But there is nothing in the patient information leaflets from the NHS or the vaccine manufacturers to suggest such a link.

    A spokeswoman for the MHRA told the PA news agency: "There is currently no evidence that drinking alcohol interferes with the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccines.

    "We would advise anyone concerned about this to talk to their healthcare professional."

  • John Hall

    IPL INDEFINITELY SUSPENDED IN INDIA

    The Indian Premier League Twenty20 cricket tournament has been indefinitely suspended due to the Covid-19 crisis in the country, IPL chairman Brijesh Patel told Reuters today.

    "The tournament stands suspended, we are looking for another window," Patel said. "Right now we can't say when we can reschedule it."

    Monday's match in Ahmedabad had to be rescheduled after two Kolkata Knight Riders players tested positive for COVID-19 and two non-playing members of the Chennai Super Kings franchise contracted the virus in Delhi.

    India's tally of coronavirus infections surged past 20 million on Tuesday, following 357,229 new cases over the last 24 hours, as the country battles a second wave of the disease.

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