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Travel

‘Far too early’ for Britons to be thinking about booking summer holidays, vaccines minister says

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BBCBreakfast / Twitter

Nadhim Zahawi said that British travellers should not book summer 2021 holidays yet.

Those looking forward to jetting off this summer are warned that it is still ‘far too early’ to be thinking about going away given the rate of the virus in the UK. 

When asked if it was too soon for the public to book holidays, vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi said:

“Absolutely. I think it’s far too early.

“There’s still 37,000 people in hospital with Covid at the moment. It’s far too early for us to even speculate about the summer.”

He later spoke to Times Radio where he said it was still ‘too early’ to know if summer holidays will go ahead. 

There will be a meeting with senior ministers held today to consider further travel restrictions including the possibility of requiring travellers to quarantine at a designated hotel.

It is not clear the exact details of such a measure including how long this would be in place for. 

“There will be an announcement on this issue later on today,” Mr Zahawi said.

BBCBreakfast / Twitter

The BBC reports that ministers are expected to approve the plan to require UK citizens to quarantine in a hotel if they arrive in the country from a high-risk country.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Zahawi said: “We review our border policy like any other responsible country would – Germany and Canada did a similar thing in January.

“We’ve done that with the pre-departure testing that is now required to enter the UK and of course with passenger locator forms.

“There will be an announcement on this issue later on today, so I can only say to you that it is the right thing to do, because I am the vaccines minister, that as we vaccinate more of the adult population, if there are new variants like the South African or the Brazilian variants, we need to be very careful.

“We acted on those very quickly and of course dealt with travel from those countries, and from Portugal and elsewhere, rapidly so it is important we continue to review our border policy and an announcement will be made when a decision has been taken.

“And of course the industry itself will be engaged with heavily, including (Health Secretary) Matt Hancock engaging with the industry to explain the decision making at health, as well as of course the business department with the Business Secretary.”

Chief executive of Best Western hotel groups told the BBC that the hotel industry was ready to assist the government if they did opt for such a policy. He said the sector was ‘familiar and accustomed to managing Covid-positive customers in our hotels’. 

Mr Paterson added: “From the hotels’ perspective, we would have to treat each of these customers as Covid-positive, so we would have to have strong infection control and protocols around security in the hotel to ensure we can deliver safely.”

An announcement on this from the government is expected to be made on Wednesday. 

Travel

You can now hire a massive luxury 6 berth canal boat in the middle of Manchester

Who’d have thought a barge could get so fancy?

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Prestige Worldwide

There’s a luxury canal boat smack in the middle of Manchester, and it’s available right now for you to hire. 

You’ll all know that Manchester is famed for its winding canals and abundance of barges – but have you ever envisioned treating yourself, your friends, or your better half to a night or two of luxury in one of them?

No, you probably haven’t – but, low and behold, a ‘luxury barge’ now exists.

Prestige Worldwide

Courtesy of Prestige Worldwide, founded and run by friends and business partners Erin and Harry with the aim to create something a little different, we have perhaps the boujiest barge to ever grace Manchester’s waters.

Prestige Worldwide aim to eventually have a ‘fleet of floating luxury’, but for now, they’re just getting started with their debut canal boat, the Vätten Hüs. This barge, located in the heart of Castlefield locks, accommodates up to six guests in two plush king-sized bedrooms, with additional sleeping space in the main collective area.

It features a large, open-plan kitchen-dining and living-room – intended for sharing and celebrating, of course –  with rich furnishings and an exclusive outdoor seating on the deck, perfect for those warm summer nights.

Harry and Erin also partnered up with local florists Frog Manchester for the most exquisite floral displays that are found suspended over the lavish kitchen island and adorn both bedrooms.

Prestige Worldwide

The interior designer, Claudia Chez, said of the boat: “The Vätten Hüs interior design is modern style with clean, crisp lines strategically softened by French Art Deco hints.

“Art Deco represented luxury, glamour and exuberance back at the 1920’s, and this is subtlety expressed throughout the boat with gentle undulating curves, scalloped furniture and bronze details all on top of a light oak herringbone floor.”

Now fully complete and on the water, the Vätten Hüs’ diary is open and ready for visitors – though for insurance purposes, the boat cannot be moved.

Check out its Airbnb listing here, and stay up to date on their official Instagram page.

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Travel

Government asks people to ‘holiday at home’ this summer to avoid foreign travel

‘My advice to people would be holiday at home’

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David Iliff / Flickr & John M Wheatley / Geograph

Holidaymakers should choose to visit the ‘great places’ that exist in the UK rather than head abroad, according to a government minister.

The environment secretary George Eustice dashed any slim hopes for a summer holiday abroad this morning, telling Sky News his advice to the British public ‘would be holiday at home’.

He warned against foreign travel unless absolutely necessary, adding that people need to be aware of the ‘risks’ in travelling outside the UK under the current circumstances.

Alton Towers

He told Sky News: “I will be staying at home. I have no intention of travelling or going on a holiday abroad this summer.

“Some people may, but they have to understand that there are obviously risks in doing so because it is a dynamic situation.

“But I think most people will probably decide this year to stay at home, holiday at home.”

When asked if he was advising people to stay in the UK, Eustice added: “I think, my advice to people would be holiday at home.

“We’ve got some great places here, there aren’t many places that are on that list.

“But obviously some people will want to travel abroad. There are still a small number of countries on that green list. If they want to do that they can, but obviously they will have to understand there are risks in doing so as well.”

angela pham/Unsplash

While official government guidance says ministers ‘continue to advise against all non-essential travel to some countries and territories’, that doesn’t include all countries and there are still some on the ‘green list’.

The government’s website says: “The Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect international travel.

“No travel is risk-free, and many countries have closed their borders or restricted entry to UK travellers.

“Any country may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new Covid-19 variant.”

David Dixon / Geograph

According to reports this morning, the easing of lockdown restrictions on June 21st could be delayed by two weeks following the latest Covid-19 data and news of the Delta variant.

England’s chief medical officer, Chris Witty, and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance delivered a ‘downbeat’ briefing expressing concerns about the transmission rate of new strains of Covid-19, as well as vaccination not being able to give 100% protection, the Times reports.

According to a cabinet source that spoke to the Times, the easing of restrictions could be between ‘two weeks and a month’.

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Travel

A new Stockport to Alton Towers bus service is starting this weekend

Travelling to Alton Towers just got a whole lot easier

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Alton Towers

Key services to and from the popular Stoke-on-Trent theme park will be extended this weekend, bus bosses have announced.

Before now, thrill seekers without a car have had to travel to Alton Towers via train to Uttoxeter, the closest train station which sits around ten miles away.

From there, guests can catch a shuttle bus service directly to the park.

Geograph

But now, those living in Stockport can travel directly to Alton Towers on one extended bus service.

High Peak Buses will now run its Sunday and Bank Holiday 199 and 199X service through to Hartington, Peak Wildlife Park and Alton Towers Resort – as well as introducing a new early-evening return journey.

The services will now run from Manchester Airport to the theme park, stopping in Stockport, Disley, Chapel-en-le-Frith, and Buxton along the way.

Alton Towers

Nikos Ntalampiras, Operations Manager at Buxton depot, said: “We are very pleased to welcome customers to this brand-new direct bus service between Manchester Airport, Stockport, Buxton, Peak Wildlife Park and Alton Towers Resort which Skyline 199/X99 provides.

“The introduction of the brand new bus service shows we have listened to feedback from our customers and we would encourage as many people as possible to use Skyline 199/X99, to ensure its long-term viability along with helping to free-up the roads through the local countryside to Alton Towers Resort.”

Nature lovers will also benefit from the new route, as those with a valid 199/X99 bus ticket will receive 25% off the cost of an entrance ticket to the Peak Wildlife Park, near Leek.

The new timetable comes into effect from this weekend, Sunday May 30th, and will be in place until August 30th.

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