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Travel

Spain holiday warning: Canary Islands bans Britons as tourists return to Balearics

Holidaymakers could be allowed to holiday to the Canary Islands in just two weeks, according to a travel minister. While tourists will be welcomed from European countries, Britons could be banned from visiting the areas in Spain.

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The coronavirus crisis has caused countries across the world to go into a lockdown, in a bit to combat the disease.

Travel bans have meant many people have only been able to move between countries if it is absolutely essential.

However, policies in Spain are thought to be relaxed from July 1, making it easier for tourists to visit.

In the Canary Islands, tourists could go even earlier with a scheme allowing visitors in just two weeks.

However, holidaymakers from Britain will not be among those allowed early access, according to Spain’s minister of industry, trade and tourism in Spain, Maria Reyes Maroto.

She spoke about the possibility of foreign tourists entering the Canary and Balearic Islands in just two weeks.

If a pilot is approved by the Spanish government, holidaymakers could visit the islands weeks before Spain officially reopens borders.

According to reports, the Spanish government had been discussing plans with holiday providers including Jet2holidays and TUI.

However, she explained tourists granted access are likely to come from other countries in Europe.

The minister said the first holidaymakers to arrive could be from Germany and the Nordic countries, stating “at this moment at time their epidemiological situations are very good”.

Concerns about the current state of the coronavirus crisis in the UK could stop Britons from being allowed to visit.

Maria continued: “There the health situation still has to improve. For us, it is important to guarantee that people arrive healthy and leave healthy.”

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The Balearics Islands regional government has been campaigning for a test run to welcome visitors on June 16.

It was announced Spain would welcome tourists again as the coronavirus pandemic improved in the country.

Visitors can visit from July 1, although they will need to follow strict health rules including taking tests.

Britons hoping to travel to the Canary Islands could be asked to take a coronavirus test before leaving the UK.

Vice-president of the Government of the Canary Islands and Minister of the Treasury, Román Rodríguez said this will reduce the risk of infection for everyone.

He said: “We need people who get on the plane to do so with the least possible risk of infecting others or becoming infected.”

Britons may also be asked to quarantine for six hours when they arrive in Spain to ensure they don’t have any symptoms.

Additional reporting by Gerard Couzens

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Travel

Google Maps: Bizarre glowing object sparks UFO concerns

Google Maps Street View is a useful tool where users can see some of the world’s best landmarks. From the Eiffel Tower to The Empire State Building, Google Maps has it all. However while users navigate the world online, they have also uncovered some of the most bizarre sightings like this one in Romania.

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Eagle-eyed viewers have spotted what they claim to be a UFO hidden in a forest in Romania, just outside Timisoara.

Many have claimed that it could be a sign of extraterrestrial activity.

At first glance, the object is in a desolate area in the middle of a forest with trees surrounding.

The bizarre object is white and shaped almost like a spaceship with small holes around the edge.

The circular disks are what made people question if what they were seeing was a UFO.

Also because the spaceship-like object is in the middle of a forest surrounded by trees, people questioned why there was no human life around.

At closer inspection, it appears to be a water tower instead of a vehicle from outer space.

However, this didn’t stop users creating up their own ideas of what they thought it was.

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One user on Google wrote: “Amazing. Its Real, Been There And Seen It.”

However another said: “It is just a water filtering facility built in the architectural style of Wiener Secession.”

The image went viral and has been called Alien UFO Resort on the destination on Google Maps.

This isn’t the first time something strange has been spotted on Google Maps.

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Another image that left users with supernatural concerns was that in Florida.

This bizarre scene takes place in a desolate area just outside of the Bermuda Triangle.

A Google Maps user reported the mysterious “UFO” sighting onto Reddit.

Reddit is a forum in which people share their weird and wonderful sightings with each other.

Even when zoomed in, it’s hard to identify what the object exactly is as half of the object is missing.

The object was spotted in the Big Cypress National Preserve, which is located in southern Florida.

This is an area just outside of the Bermuda Triangle, an area of the North Atlantic Ocean.

The Bermuda Triangle has long been associated with mysterious aircraft and bizarre sightings with some users claiming that they have seen aliens.

One Reddit user described this sighting as a “UFO sighting” because it is almost impossible to identify how far away the object is from the camera and it is definitely an object that is flying.

However another user suggested that it was simply a “butterfly” and that it only sparks supernatural concerns because half of the object is missing, meaning it is hard to identify it.

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Travel

Google Maps: Users left terrified when they spot this man – what is wrong with him?

Google Maps Street View is one of the most popular tools that users can use to see the world’s most popular landmarks. From visiting the Empire State Building to the Eiffel Tower, Google Maps allows you to visit these destinations just by a click of the button. However, it has also been used to uncover some of the world’s most weird and wonderful scenarios. One bizarre sighting left Google Maps users shocked by a man’s terrifying incident.

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The scene unfolds in Sweden, in what appears to be by the side of a river or a lake.

The man is sitting on the pebbles that are by the side of the water and he appears to be dipping his feet into the water.

Sunshine is shining overhead, and nothing seems to be out-of-the-ordinary.

However, the man’s head is missing from the shot completely, and you can only see part of his hair.

His body is also visible with his knees bent up and he is leaning his arms on his legs.

An eagle-eyed Reddit user posted his photo and wrote: “U good mate?”

He is dressed in a navy t-shirt as well as navy bottoms with a red stripe.

Part of the man’s back is also missing and you can see the clear water through his back.

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However his face has completely disappeared and is nowhere to be seen.

Although there may be a rational explanation for this bizarre sighting caught on Street View.

Glitches appear to be very common on Google Maps Street View for many reasons.

Google Maps creates the images by stitching together the 360 degree image sets submitted be users, meaning small errors can occur in the stitching.

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Glitches are therefore very common on the site.

The camera must have taken one image when the man was still and then took an adjacent one when the man was moving.

Another bizarre scene was captured in a desolate area of Florida, just outside of the Bermuda Triangle.

A Google Maps user reported the mysterious “UFO” sighting onto Reddit.

Even when zoomed in, it’s hard to identify what the object exactly is, with it sparking supernatural concerns online.

The oval shape is different colours but half of it has been cut off, again another stitching problem.

One user suggested that it was simply a “butterfly” and that it only sparks supernatural concerns because half of the object is missing, meaning it is hard to identify it.

There is no rational explanation for what the weird shaped object actually is and one user on Reddit suggested that an insect scientist should answer the question.

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Travel

Pound to euro exchange rate: GBP ‘trades in tight range’ as focus remains on coronavirus

The pound to euro exchange rate showed little movement yesterday. GBP “traded within a tight range” against the common currency. New PMI data failed to spark a shift but attention remains on the tensions between China and the USA.

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Investors also continue to focus on the coronavirus pandemic.

There are currently over five million cases of the virus worldwide.

The UK has over 252,000 cases, trailing behind the US, Russia and Brazil – the only countries with more cases.

The pound is currently trading at 1.1171 against the euro, according to Bloomberg at the time of writing.

Michael Brown, currency expert at international payments and foreign exchange firm Caxton FX, spoke to Express.co.uk regarding the latest exchange rate figures this morning.

“Sterling traded within a tight range against the euro on Thursday,” said Brown.

“Markets shrugged off the latest round of PMI surveys pointing to a further economic contraction.

“They also continued to pay close attention to ever-increasing Sino-US tensions.”

Brown continued: “Today, those tensions, and the coronavirus itself, will remain the primary focuses of attention.

“However risk appetite is likely to remain depressed, pressuring the pound, ahead of the long weekend on both sides of the Atlantic.”

A number of counties across the planet are starting to relax their lockdown restrictions.

Some have even set dates for when they anticipate tourists will be able to return.

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However, British travellers cannot get excited about buying their holiday money quite yet.

Despite the easing lockdown rules in the UK, Britons are still unable to travel aboard.

Foreign travel is only permitted for “essential” reasons.

It is not yet known when this restriction will be lifted.

Many travel money services are on pause for now during the lockdown measures.

Britons are also advised not to swap their leftover currency back to pounds at this time.

 Ian Stafford-Taylor, CEO of currency exchange service Equals, advised: “If they can, holidaymakers might want to keep hold of their currency until their next trip and use it then.”

“For those using prepaid currency cards, they can spend their money back in the UK online or in stores, keep it for their next trip, or change it to a different currency altogether.”

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Travel

Turkey holidays: FCO issues urgent advice for Britons – are 2020 holidays safe?

Holidaymakers who are trapped in Turkey have been issued new advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) on how to stay safe amid the country’s stringent coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown measures. UK officials have also issued an urgent warning for those considering a holiday to the hotspot.

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On Tuesday, the FCO added more information for Britons who may have found themselves stranded in Turkey as the country went into lockdown.

In order to ensure their safety, the FCO is urging Britons to follow the advice of local authorities, which includes a strict curfew with limiting exceptions.

The FCO website explains: “On 18 May, the Turkish Government announced a nationwide four-day curfew from 23-26 May.

“The existing on-going curfew also remains in place for those aged over 65, those born after 1 January 2000, and those who have a chronic medical condition.”

The only exceptions to the curfew are for certain age groups.

Children aged 14 and under will be allowed outside, within walking distance of their home, on 20 May between 11am and 3pm.

People aged between 15 and 20 years old will be allowed outside, within walking distance of their home, between 11am and 3pm on 22 May.

During the weekend curfew on 24 May, those aged over 65 will be allowed to walk outside between 2pm and 8pm.

Those aged between 18 and 20 and working in the public or private sector, or as a seasonal worker in the agriculture sector, can leave home if they have the necessary documents and permissions to show to the security forces.

Anyone hoping to leave home during this time must seek official permission.

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The FCO adds: “Beyond these exemptions, people in these categories must not leave their homes.”

Authorities in the country have also placed strict travel bans in and out of certain regions, which may make it difficult for Britons who are hoping to leave ands return to the UK.

“There are extremely limited international flights,” the FCO states.

“On 18 May, the Turkish government announced that existing travel restrictions, into and out of, the following cities will remain in place until midnight on 3 June: Ankara, Balıkesir, Bursa, Eskişehir, Gaziantep, İstanbul, İzmir, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Konya, Manisa, Sakarya, Samsun, Van, Zonguldak.

“People may be fined by the Turkish authorities if they try to travel into or out of these cities while travel restrictions are in place.”

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The FCO website details a full list of flights departing from some Turkish airports.

“If you are in the vicinity of any of the departure airports in Turkey, you should consider taking one of these flight options,” advises the FCO.

“You should also consider taking one of these flights if you are elsewhere in Turkey, but are able to travel to these airports.”

Britons who are hoping to plan a holiday to the region in the coming months are being warned to avoid all but “essential” travel.

With the UK currently imposing a 14-day travel ban for those arriving in the country from abroad, the future of holidays remains uncertain.

What’s more, the Turkish government has suggested that tourists may not be allowed back in the country before July, and EU tourists may be some of the last to reenter the country.

Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said: “The tourism sector itself has a vital role in terms of returning to normal processes.

“The importance of caring for our guests in our culture leads us to be ready for the transition to healthy tourism before everyone.”

The country will impose four key measures to determine whether tourism is safe.

These are mapped out in the country’s “healthy tourism certification” program and include “health and safety of the passenger”, “health and safety of the employee”, “precautions taken at facilities” and “precautions taken in terms of transportation vehicles.

Mr Ersoy added: “We, as the Republic of Turkey, are acting with a sense of responsibility in order to ensure both our citizens and our guests, arriving to our country, to feel comfortable during their visit.”

Britons should stay up-to-date with current advice from both the UK and Turkish government before booking a holiday in the coming months.

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Travel

Travel expert reveals five steps Britons must consider before booking a European holiday

Holidaymakers across the world have been left devastated as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic closes borders and shuts down flights, putting a stop to any imminent vacations. However, with some airlines suggesting they may be back in the air as early as July, many Britons may be keen to plan their next trip.

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Travel expert Simon Calder has reminded Britons of five key things to consider before booking a holiday.

“There is a whole sequence of things which basically means you, and I, and the viewers simply can not get anywhere abroad, except if it’s for a very good reason,” he told BBC News on Thursday.

He explained that, under the new government lockdown guidelines which were revealed as part of a 50-page plan, there are five key things that affect Britons jetting off abroad.

“There are five tests going on. The first one is ‘can you get to the airport?’. You can not in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland if it’s not for an essential purpose,” he said.

At the time of writing the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) currently has an advisory which is urging Britons to avoid all unessential travel for an “indefinite” period of time.

Simon continued: “Secondly, ‘can you go abroad?’

“The Foreign Office says no, again it’s urging against all but essential travel and that invalidates your travel insurance.

“Third thing, ‘is there going to be an airline that is prepared to take you?’

“Well, yes there is. Ryanair are stepping up their flights from July, TUI the big travel company says the same, British Airways and easyJet aren’t so certain.”

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Budget airline Ryanair has announced plans to return to 40 percent of normal flight scheduled from Wednesday July 1 2020.

The new plans are subject to Government restrictions on intra-EU flights being lifted, and effective public health measures being put in place at airports.

Ryanair will operate a daily flight schedule of almost 1,000 flights, restoring 90 percent of its pre-COVID-19 route network

Meanwhile, travel operator TUI has laid out a 10-point plan for how it will resume operations across its flights, hotel stays and travel agencies.

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All TUI holidays are currently cancelled if they are due to depart on or before June 11 2020.

Simon added: “Fourth, and very critical, ‘is the destination going to let you in?’ Well, that’s a good question.

“Spain starts a two week mandatory quarantine for everybody. Two weeks of lockdown if you’re flying into Spain, that’s starting from tomorrow, but it is only going to be a limited duration.

“And then crucially, ‘what happens with the quarantine rules that we’ve been told about here?’

“So the fifth thing is, will you be able to tolerate the rules that are brought in by the government which will require almost everyone into the UK to go and isolate at home for two weeks.

“Much tougher than the current lockdown, you’ll be expected not to go out and police, apparently, can come round any time during that two weeks and if you are not there you are in trouble.”

The UK government’s quarantine plans have been slammed as “non-sensical” by Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary.

Appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain on May 12 he said: “I don’t think this 14-day isolation will be effective.”

Travel experts have also said that implementing this quarantine long-term will have a detrimental effect on the British travel and tourism industry.

Simon added: “The whole travel industry is desperate to know why those measures are being introduced, and furthermore when they are going to be introduced, and how long for, because of course, nobody rationally is going to be buying any travel at the moment when there is so much uncertainty about the future.”

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Travel

Spain holidays: FCO issue new warning for Britons with Spanish travel plans ahead

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated its travel advice following some changes to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown measures being enforced in Spain.

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Spain enforced one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe after a State of Emergency (“Estado de Alarma”) was announced on 14 March.

Since then, in line with dropping cases and deaths due to the pandemic, the government has begun to slowly reintroduce more freedoms back into daily life.

On May 11 regions where the impact of the virus was lessening began to enter into “stage one” of loosened restrictions.

Restaurants and bars are being allowed to serve clients outdoors, shops selling non-essential items may reopen and private gatherings of 10 people or fewer can be held.

Members of the public have also been allowed to exercise outside.

More severely impacted regions and cities such as Madrid and Barcelona, must wait another week before similar steps may be considered.

Speaking to the nation on Saturday, Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez urged Spaniards to act with “total caution and prudence”.

However, while the citizens of Spain may be rejoicing, for holidaymakers the dream of a vacation may be slipping further away.

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In a bid to protect the country, the Spanish government has implemented stricter measures for those crossing the border.

According to the latest FCO advice, which was updated on May 12: “Following further border restrictions, only Spanish citizens, those who are legally resident in Spain, frontier workers or those who can prove they need to enter Spain for essential reasons will be allowed to enter the country.

“Only green residency certificates will be accepted as proof of residency in Spain and British travellers who are not resident and/or not in possession of this certificate should not attempt to enter the country.

“Padron certificates, utility bills and property deeds will not be accepted by Spanish authorities as proof of residency.“

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The FCO adds: “You must meet the requirements in order to enter.

“From 15 May, additionally, international arrivals will need to self-isolate for 14 days.”

Self-isolation can be done in a person’s main residence or hotel.

British travellers who are not residents are also being urged not to travel to Gibraltar and attempt to enter Spain via the land frontier.

Any Britons who are currently in Spain are being advised to return home as soon as possible.

“British travellers who are currently in Spain and who wish to return to the UK will continue to be allowed to depart and are advised to make travel plans to do so as soon as possible,” the FCO advises.

Additionally, the UK government is advising Britons against all nonessential travel for an indefinite period of time.

Under current lockdown restrictions in the UK, both international and domestic holidays are banned.

The future of travel remains uncertain, however, some experts in Spain have suggested the country may welcome back tourism as early as August.

According to the FCO: “While no specific dates have been attributed to each phase, it is estimated that each one will last for an initial period of 2 weeks from May 4.

“Moving from one phase to another will be contingent on the control of the COVID-19 outbreak in Spain and different provinces and regions of Spain may progress at different speeds.”

Spanish tourism minister Reyes Maroto spoke to local newspaper El Pais, saying: “We have to guarantee, when international tourism opens, that the person who comes to Spain is a safe person…

“The issue of borders will be accompanied by the evolution of the health crisis.

“Therefore, I do not have the solution of when [they will be able to open].

“On how you will be able to enjoy our beaches, we are defining different scenarios.

“It is very important that the sanitary recommendations are maintained, we are going to have to internalise what we are already doing now, hand washing, social distancing … even on the beaches.

“Those patterns will be in our day to day for a time, you cannot take a step back.”

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Travel

Google Maps: Woman caught in painful position hiking Himalayas

Google Maps Street View often sends images viral, especially when they are funny and out of the ordinary. Google Maps is a great tool for navigating the planet and mapping your way to new destinations. However, the technology is also known for regular glitching leaving viewers amused and questioning if what they are seeing is real.

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One such glitch happened whilst a woman was hiking in the Himalayas.

One shocked user posted the image to Reddit to see if any other users had any idea if the image was a glitch or whether the woman had been caught in a painful position while hiking the Himalayas.

The Reddit user wrote: “Quite a contortionist.”

Glitches are very common on Google Maps Street View.

Google Maps creates the images by stitching together the 360 degree image sets submitted by users, meaning small errors can easily occur.

Glitches are therefore very common on the site.

This particular image showed a woman hiking the Himalayas and the Google camera has caught her in a position where her waist is twisted around the middle.

The top of her body is facing one way and her legs and feet are facing the other way.

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Parts of her body are also missing, making her look larger than she is.

This glitch can appear quite amusing before people work out the truth.

The man behind her also looks to be in an uncomfortable position.

It appears that he has an arm missing.

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It also looks like he is carrying something but because his arms appear to be caught in the glitch, the white object is very close to his body.

However this is just from one point of view and is a glitch that Google has created.

Another glitch that left viewers uncertain was one found in Toronto, Canada.

An image of a Range Rover with six wheels appeared on Reddit and left users questioning whether this modified car was real or not.

One eager user said: “That’s one of the cleanest glitches I’ve seen, almost looks real.”

When looked closely, the Range Rover appears to look real, with no part of the car missing.

If an object is captured whilst moving, it creates duplicates of the scene.

Should this happen, Google can end up glitching, sitting various parts of the object or person together in a weird way, appearing to be real.

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Ryanair boss slams 14-day quarantine as ‘nonsensical’ as airline to return in July

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has criticised the UK government’s plan for those arriving back in the UK to isolate for two weeks. He appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain today to share his thoughts on the new rules that were rolled out yesterday. Speaking to Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid, O’Leary slammed the quarantine measure as “nonsensical”.

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“I don’t think this 14-day isolation will be effective,” said O’Leary.

The Ryanair CEO pointed out that “lots of British families will be still be going abroad to Spain and Portugal for their two weeks holiday” and will be back more than two weeks before schools open.

He continued: “We know from our own customer feedback that there’s a huge pent up desire to want to get away to the beaches of Spain and Portugal.”

Today, Ryanair announced plans to return to 40 percent of normal flight schedules from Wed 1 July 2020, subject to Government restrictions on intra-EU flights being lifted, and effective public health measures being put in place at airports.

Ryanair will operate a daily flight schedule of almost 1,000 flights, restoring 90 percent of its pre-Covid-19 route network.

However, the airline is also encouraging passengers to observe effective health measures to limit the virus.

Just some of these include Ryanair cabin crew wearing face masks/coverings and a limited inflight service will be offered of pre-packaged snacks and drinks, but no cash sales. All onboard transactions will be cashless.

Queuing for toilets will also be prohibited on board although toilet access will be made available to individual passengers upon request.

“We have released a two and a half minute video this morning on effective health measures which largely include temperature checks, hand sanitation and face masks at all stages during the airports and on board the aircraft,” O’Leary told Morgan and Reid.

“What we’re against are overly ineffective measures such as this nonsensical two-week isolation, which somehow only applies if you’re not French or you’re not Irish.”

O’Leary explained he simply didn’t think the quarantine was something that could be regulated.

“It appears that the government can’t enforce the quarantine,” he told GMB.

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“There’s no quarantine for anybody travelling on the London Underground, which is a much more lethal centre for spreading viruses and coughs.”

O’Leary added: “There are a million passengers a day flying back into the UK [in normal circumstances] so the idea that any of it would be policed by this government is a nonsense.”

The Ryanair boss also explained that they are looking to sell as many seats as possible.

“We don’t need social distancing,” O’Leary said. “In fact, the government’s already recommended that where social distancing isn’t possible – wear facemasks.

“That is the effective measure against spreading COVID-19 not ineffective measures like 14-day isolation which nobody will observe anyway.”

Replying to Morgan’s comment that he felt for the airline industry, O’Leary said: “Don’t worry, we are a resilient lot, we will bounce back quickly with the support of our customers.”

Since the coronavirus flight restrictions in mid-March, Ryanair has been operating a skeleton daily schedule of 30 flights between Ireland, the UK and Europe.

From July, Ryanair will restart flying from most of its 80 bases across Europe.

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Travel insurance: With staycations ahead are insurance policies a thing of the past?

The importance of travel insurance has become even more apparent in recent months, as airlines and holiday operators are forced to halt operations amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Though it is not yet known how travel will look after the lockdown is finally lifted, it is anticipated that domestic holidays will be the first to return.

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In fact, recent data from CabinBookers reveals that 90 percent of British holidaymakers are planning a domestic holiday as soon as lockdown lifts.

While the majority of people know how important travel insurance for international travel, will the same policies be needed for those who are going away on a UK jaunt?

The answer is yes, although the type of policy you need may be a little bit different.

Domestic travel can also fall victim to unexpected cancellations or disruptions which can leave travellers out of pocket if they are not covered.

Disruptions can range from a hotel or booking cancellation, bad weather, or even lost and stolen property.

While some travel providers, such as hotels or accommodation providers, may offer a refund if plans are cancelled, others will not.

Similarly, unlike when travelling by plane, there are no regulations in place to protect you if you have to put plans on hold for reasons beyond your control.

What’s more, according to Policy Expert, the average domestic holidaymaker takes an average of £676 worth of valuables with them on holiday. 

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Yet around 70 percent of Britons don’t have any travel insurance in place.

The good news is, travellers won’t need to shell out for medical coverage which can add on extra cost – especially for those who have a pre-existing medical condition.

Experts from Admiral point out: “Luckily, travelling in the UK will mean that your medical care is still covered by the NHS.

“However, taking out travel insurance will mean you’re further covered for things such as inpatient travel expenses to and from the hospital, or if you have to return to your home area on the advice of a doctor.” 

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Since April 2009 there has also been no NHS medical cover for UK travellers in the Chanel Islands, so it’s important to take out travel insurance holiday plans to Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney, Sark or Herm.

There is also a small catch to travel insurance with some companies – how far you go.

According to Admiral, they only provide travel insurance for domestic holidays if a traveller is heading 25 miles or further from their home. 

Regardless of where the next holiday destination may be, travel insurance experts from CompareByReview believe Britons are now a lot more aware of just how important policies are.

According to their latest research, 85 percent of those surveyed said that they will now take far more care when selecting their travel insurance provider in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The experts said: “Many participants told us that they will be holidaying at home from now on and ‘explore their own country’ with a few even mentioning that they will investigate purchasing holiday insurance to cover these trips.”

The team also speculate that new “UK based insurance policies” could be on the horizon following the pandemic.

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