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Travel

TUI travel advice for holidaymakers with flights booked in July, August and September

TUI is a popular holiday company to travel with among many British jet-setters. However, the UK tour operator’s services have been forced to temporarily pause amid the coronavirus pandemic. Many Britons who have trips booked with TUI are concerned about how the fallout from the virus will affect their summer holidays.

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What is the latest travel advice regarding TUI bookings for July, August and September?

TUI explains on its website that it’s had to follow the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s advice against all but essential travel.

As a result of this, TUI has suspended all package holidays and cruises and will not be resuming operations until mid-June.

A TUI spokeswoman told Express.co.uk that holiday departing after June 12 will go ahead as planned.

However, if your holiday falls into the below categories, your holiday will no longer go ahead as planned.

• TUI holidays travelling on or before June 11 2020

• Marella Cruises sailings on or before June 30 2020

• TUI River Cruises sailings travelling up until and including November 25 2020

The TUI spokeswoman said: “Our holidays departing after 12 June 2020 are currently due to operate as planned, so we ask all customers to make their balance payments as normal.

“We appreciate that customers may be feeling apprehensive about paying their final balance, so we’d like to reassure them that all of our package holidays are ATOL protected, so they can pay the balance with confidence.

“If the holiday has to be cancelled, a refund credit incentive or cash refund option will be given.

“For customers travelling after 12 June 2020, we have extended our flexible amends programme until 11 July, so customers with bookings between 12 June and 11 July can amend to another date for free”.

Like many other operators, TUI is offering a refund credit for those whose holidays have been affected.

TUI explains: “If your holiday can no longer go ahead as planned, you’ll receive a refund credit for the full value of your holiday, and we’ll give you a separate booking incentive up to 20 percent.

“We understand that you may not be ready to book again just yet, so the refund credit gives you the flexibility to book your travel in future.

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“Plus, if your original booking was for a package holiday, you’ll get a separate booking incentive up to 20 percent.

“You will receive a separate email four weeks from your original departure date with all the relevant information.

“Also, if your original booking was part of a package, your refund credit will carry the same ATOL protection.

“And, if your Marella Cruises or TUI River Cruises booking was cabin-only, or sailed from a UK port, your refund credit is protected under the ABTA bonding scheme.

“You can therefore be confident that you have financial security.”

As for refunds, TUI states: “If you’re unable to accept a refund credit you can apply for a refund; due to the volume of holidays impacted, we’re asking you not to contact us until you receive your refund credit so we can continue helping customers in date order.

“However, if you do need to request your refund before this you can do so using the details below. Please be aware that our call centre teams are incredibly busy, so call waiting times are considerably longer than usual. You can call 0203 451 2868 between 9am and 7pm from Monday to Friday.”

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Travel

UK decision to use contact tracing app could bar Britons from travel to Europe

The UK launched its app to trace coronavirus on Monday, which has been developed by NHSX , the digital arm of the NHS. Ministers plan to start testing the device on the Isle of Wight on Tuesday, as they step up their preparations to ease the curfew. The NHSX smart app works on a different system to the Apple and Google one being used by many European countries such as Germany and Austria.

The two devices are not compatible, which has led to fears that if contact tracing becomes mandatory for international travel, then UK citizens will be required to go into a 14 days quarantine on arrival.

The NHSX app operates through a centralised database system, whereas the Apple and Google app uses a decentralised platform.

When a person in the UK is suspected of having the coronavirus, their phone sends the information to a centralised database, which then passes on alerts to those they have been in contact with.

The Apple and Google app directly notifies the contacts of any COVID-19 infected person, avoiding the need to share that information with a third party.

The technology giants’ smart app is already in use in several European countries, that include Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Estonia and the Republic of Ireland.

Matthew Gould, the chief executive of NHSX, claimed that the centralised model has major benefits over its rival, as it will allow health authorities to identify “hotspots” in certain parts of the country and track symptoms more closely.

He insisted that the UK was “not going off in one direction and the rest of the world going off in another,” and said that health chiefs “won’t hesitate to change” tack if the app didn’t work.

Sir Jonathan Montgomery, a professor of healthcare law at UCL, said there were ways round the “technical problem”, and floated the idea of using health certificates to avoid the need for quarantine.

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The professor, who is chairing the ethics advisory board overseeing the Government’s implementation of contact tracing, told the Daily Telegraph: “If you are moving between [different countries’] apps you might find that it requires quarantine or something of that sort, but I don’t see why the information from the app cannot be translated into some form of certificate.

“This requires some work around, but it is quite hard to see how it would be a deal-breaker.”

However, campaigners warned that the situation could create a two-tiered system, imposing restrictions on where people could travel, depending on which contact tracing app they were connected up to.

Jim Killock, the executive director of the Open Rights Group, said: “The world will fall into two categories where data cannot be easily shared between countries.

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“It will mean, essentially, that if you want to benefit from contact tracing you can go to France but not to Southern Ireland or you can’t go to Germany but you can go to Australia.”

The NHSX app uses Bluetooth to detect nearby phones, showing who the owner of the phone has been near.

Anyone downloading the app will be asked to turn on Bluetooth, allow notifications and to enter the first half of their postcode.

People will then be asked the simple question: “How are you feeling, today?”

Those who think they may be infected with the virus will be guided through a series of further questions, designed to gather more detailed information.

If the symptoms confirm possible infection, people will be issued with a reference number and told to call in for a test.

They will also be invited to upload a list of their phone book to the NHS system, which will use a risk-scoring algorithm to decide which contacts are potentially dangerous.

This takes into account the duration of the contact and the strength of the signal during the contact in order to assess the risk posed.

Addressing concerns about privacy, Mr Gould emphasised that the app was voluntary to download, and promised that NHSX would publish both the source code and the data protection arrangements underlying the app.

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Travel

Ryanair travel advice for holidaymakers with flights booked for July, August and September

Ryanair is a popular airline of choice for British travellers heading off on their summer holidays. However, with coronavirus bringing travel to a standstill, holiday plans have been thrown into chaos. What is the latest travel advice for holidaymakers with Ryanair flights booked through to September?

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Ryanair is currently operating less than one percent of its aircraft.

The budget airline has had a limited schedule in place for many weeks.

London flights are currently only flying to Dublin, Eindhoven, Lisbon, Cork, Berlin and Budapest.

Birmingham, Edinburgh, Bristol and Manchester are flying to Dublin.

Minimum flight links have remained open for emergency reasons but the overwhelming majority of aircraft have been grounded.

At the end of April, this was extended until Thursday May 14.

However, in Ryanair’s most recent update – issued Friday May 1 although not published to its website – the airline revealed flights would not be returning to normal until after June.

They also anticipate a dramatic reduction in the number of plane passengers.

“Due to Continent-wide EU Government flight restrictions, Ryanair expects to operate less than one percent of its scheduled flying program in Apr, May & June 2020,” said the airline in a statement.

“Q1 traffic of fewer than 150,000 passengers will be 99.5 percent behind the Q1 budget of 42.4m passengers.

“While some return to flight services is expected in the second (July-September) quarter, Ryanair expects to carry no more than 50 percent of its original traffic target of 44.6m in Q2.

“For the full year ended March 2021, Ryanair now expects to carry less than 100m passengers, more than 35 percent below its original 154m target.”

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What’s more, under new plans, up to 3,000 Ryanair pilots and cabin crew are set to lose their jobs. Pay cuts of up to 20 percent and unpaid leave will also be introduced.

Frustratingly, it is not known what Ryanair’s schedule will look like beyond June.

However, the airline explains that anyone whose flight has been cancelled will have been notified.

Ryanair states on its website: “If your flight has been cancelled you have been notified by email and SMS and given the option to request a refund, rebook or re-route your journey and avail of reasonable care, as applicable.

“Otherwise, your flight is operating as normal.”

For Ryanair passengers hoping to get refunds, CEO Michael O’Leary confirmed on Friday it could take as long as six months for customers to get their money back because of the surge in refund requests the coronavirus pandemic caused.

In their latest refund update, Ryanair has said vouchers and free changes to other flights are being issued for cancelled flights. However, those who wish for a cash refund will only receive it “once this crisis has passed.”

Ryanair passengers will be able to exchange vouchers for cash after a 12 month period if they have not redeemed them in this time.

Express.co.uk has contacted Ryanair for further comment.

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Travel

WATCH: Shocking moment two planes smash into each other amid violent storm in viral video

Two Qatar Airways planes have been filmed in a dramatic plane crash. The incident took place at Hamad International Airport in Qatar. The airline has been one of the few long-haul airlines to continue flying many of its regular routes during the pandemic.

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Footage from the hub caught the shocking incident on camera from April 30.

One plane at the Qatari airport was seen slamming into another.

So what happened and what caused the crash?

A big storm in the Middle Eastern country sparked the incident.

As the violent weather battered the airport one of the aircraft broke loose.

Footage filmed during the storm shows the two planes parked next to each other.

As strong winds hit, the plane on the left – a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner – can be seen breaking free.

The Dreamliner can carry up to 254 passengers and weighs a whopping 120 tonnes when empty.

Despite this huge weight, the video shows the aircraft starting to move from the force of the storm.

It then begins to turn on the tarmac.

The plane then turns 90 degrees so its nose is facing the adjacent aircraft.

Although the footage is hard to decipher due to the severity of the storm and the video quality, the loose plane can be seen directly heading for the other.

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The plane rolls forward and collides into the body of the parked aircraft.

Images taken in daylight after the accident depict the extent of the damage.

The front of the Dreamliner is clearly battered from the impact.

However, damage to the aircraft is considered minor, said Qatar Airways.

“During extreme weather conditions, with storms and high winds of 70 knots, a parked Qatar Airways 787-800 (sic) briefly shifted from its chocks and made contact with a QR A350-900,” the airline said in a statement, reported Stuff.co.nz.

“The aircraft had been parked securely and chocked in accordance with AMM (aircraft maintenance manual) guidelines while operations at the airport had been temporarily suspended due to the high winds.

“No passengers or crew were on board at the time and the aircraft suffered only minor damage.”

Express.co.uk has contacted Qatar Airways for further comment.

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Travel

Flights: Passengers face new ‘mandatory’ rules for air travel as airlines tighten measures

Despite differing opinions on the benefits of face masks, the controversial face covering could become “mandatory” for airline passengers in the post-lockdown future. Some major airlines are requiring that passengers wear the masks on flights now to help halt the spread of the virus on planes. While other airlines are going to make mask-wearing mandatory once operations restart in the future.

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US airline Delta has said that passengers have to wear face masks not only during the flight but before boarding.

The airline said that passengers must wear the masks while checking in, in premium lounges and while boarding.

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The new safety measure reflects growing concerns that future travellers will be deterred from using planes if they think they are more likely to catch COVID-19 onboard a flight.

American Airlines is just one of many requiring passengers to wear facemarks in a bid to give travellers “peace of mind”.

Kurt Stache, a spokesman for American Airlines, told the BBC:

“We are looking out for our customers’ well-being to give them peace of mind while they travel with us.

“We’re moving quickly on these enhancements and we’ll continue to improve the travel experience for our customers and team members as we navigate these times together.”

United Airline have also said that face masks will be “mandatory” for everyone boarding a United Airlines flight.

Maddie King, a spokeswoman for the airline also told the BBC: “Face coverings will be mandatory for all passengers, and (we) will provide masks to passengers for free.”

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Other airlines requiring passengers to wear face masks to prevent the spread of the virus include American carriers Spirit Airlines, JetBlue, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines and Frontier Airlines.

However, some airlines are not asking passengers to wear face masks.

Australian airline Qantas said that there “are no requirements in Australia to wear masks.”

They said: “No decisions have been made by the Government or airlines about what measures will be put in place for travel once restrictions are lifted.”

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The airline’s website said that social distancing had been put in place.

It read: “While the risk of contracting coronavirus on board an aircraft is regarded as low, social distancing has been put in place across all flights.”

However, Public Health England (PHE) is currently not advising members of the public to wear face masks.

Head of Emerging Infections and Zoonoses at PHE Dr Jake Dunning said: “Face masks play a very important role in clinical settings, such as hospitals, and for people with symptoms.

“However, there is very little evidence of widespread benefit”.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that face masks are just one of the measures that have been proposed.

A spokesman said: “The use of face covering inflight is among the measures proposed in an industry roadmap for the restart of flights that we are discussing with industry stakeholders and governments.”

But face masks are not the only measures that have been suggested to help halt the spread of the virus on flights.

Other safety measures include leaving middle seats empty on planes to ensure social distancing measures remain in place.

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Travel

Flights: Experts reveals surprising way you can bag Avios points without even travelling

Flights are often considered the main way to rack up points and miles. However, with all travel paused due to the coronavirus pandemic, this is no longer an option. Nicky Kelvin from The Points Guy UK has revealed an unlikely way Britons can earn Avios points from home during lockdown.

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Kelvin revealed that those keen to build on their points and miles should consider airlines shopping portals.

“If you’re looking to earn points or miles and you ever shop online, signing up for a shopping portal is a no-brainer,” he exclusively told Express.co.uk.

“Airlines offer these online programs, which earn you rewards when you sign up and click through to a retailer from the portal (rather than simply going to a shop’s website directly).”

Shoppers need to be savvy about where they shop, however.

“The number of bonus points or miles you’ll earn depends on the retailer you’re shopping with as well as the shopping portal you use,” Kelvin explained.

“Bonuses tend to be awarded as a multiplier of how many pounds you spend, though some offer a set amount of when you click through a portal to sign up for a specific service.

“Shopping portals are a great way to double-dip, and it’s always worth taking the extra few seconds to sign up and then click through for all your subsequent online shopping sprees.”

So what’s the best way of choosing what to sign up for?

Kelvin advised: “Choose the portal that will earn you points or miles in your loyalty programs of choice, and don’t be afraid to sign up for more than one and compare earning rates at a specific store before you click through.”

Below are the current earning rates for the BA eStore:

White Company – 5 Avios per £

Appleyard Flowers – 20 Avios per £

Soak and Sleep – 8 Avios per £

ASOS – 3 Avios per £

John Lewis – 2 Avios per £

Argos – 2 Avios per £

Apple – 3 Avios per £

Nike – 7 Avios per £

The Body Shop – 6 Avios per £

Just Eat – 2 Avios per £

Union Coffee – 5 Avios per £

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Kelvin also explained that making the most of Amex Offers is another good way to rack up points while in lockdown.

“American Express regularly runs what it calls Amex Offers with a wide range of retailers,” he said.

“With them, you can earn bonus points on your purchases or save money in the form of a statement credit.”

There are many active deals that could prove to be useful at the moment.

“For example, you can get 10 percent back in the form of a statement credit on your next Morrisons food delivery,” pointed out Kelvin.

“Plus, double-dipping could become triple-dipping when you utilise an Amex Offer, purchase through a shopping portal and pay with a credit card.

“In other words, you’ll save money or earn additional points on each of these three.”

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Travel

Wizz Air announce strict new face mask rule for all passengers

Following Wizz Air’s recent announcement that some operations will resume in May, the airline has introduced strict new safety protocols for staff and crew. Both passengers and crew will now be obliged to wear face masks when travelling with the Hungaryl-based airline.

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Along with mandatory masks, the crew will also wear gloves, and distribute sanitising wipes to passengers for personal use onboard the aircraft.

The airline will also remove all onboard magazines from the cabin.

Flights, which will resume on Friday 1 May from Luton, will now feature a brand new safety video which will outline the new hygiene measures onboard.

The new protocols, which have been developed in line with government protocols, will support physical distancing during boarding as well as throughout the flight.

Customers are being asked to check-in for all flights online, and make any additional inflight purchases such as seat upgrades or additional bags, online prior to their journey.

Purchases onboard are “encouraged” to be made using contactless payment, to minimise the need for physical contact.

Airline bosses add that a stringent daily cleaning schedule will remain in place, with the entire aircraft being disinfected overnight.

Owain Jones, Managing Director of Wizz Air UK said: “As we restart selected Luton flights to provide an essential service to passengers who need to travel, our primary concern is the health, safety and well-being of our customers and crew.

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“The protective measures that we are implementing will ensure the most sanitary conditions possible.

“We encourage our customers to watch our new video on how to stay safe when travelling, as well as for more details on our new health and safety measures.”

From 1 May 2020, flights will be departing to many top holiday hotspots.

Destinations on offer include Budapest in Hungary, Belgrade in Serbia; Bratislava and Kosice in Slovakia, Lisbon in Portugal, Tenerife in Spain; and Tel Aviv, Israel.

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There are also eight locations in Romania which include Cluj-Napoca, Constanta, Craiova, Iasi, Suceava, Targu Mures, Satu Mare and Timisoara.

Wizz Air chief executive Josef Varadi told Travel Weekly earlier this week that planes will not be filled to capacity for social distancing.

He said: “The industry will have to address physical distancing.

“In the first few months planes will not be filled.”

It is not yet known if the Foreign and Commonwealth’s (FCO) current travel advisory will be lifted by this time.

At the moment the FCO is advising Britons against all non-essential travel for an indefinite period of time.

The FCO says this is “due to unprecedented international border closures and other restrictions.

“All countries may restrict travel without notice.” 

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Holiday

Marrakech: Morocco’s cultural capital is brimming with stunning architecture

I took a trip to Marrakech, the former capital and one of Morocco’s imperial cities. With its historical sites and packed medina, it was the perfect introduction to Morocco.

So what is a medina exactly? Found in many of Morocco’s major cities, this is the name given to the historic walled area of the city, which features many narrow, winding alleyways and lots of market stalls, mosques and traditional Moroccan houses.

The medina in Marrakech is car-free, as the roads are too narrow for them to enter, instead they’re filled with motorbikes and donkeys making their way through the busy streets. The medina can get very busy, and is full of many stalls, with plenty of merchants eagerly trying to persuade you to take a look at their goods.

To be honest, I found that some of the stall owners were a bit aggressive, with some of them even following me down the street in an attempt to persuade me to stop and take a look. I understand that they’re just trying to earn a living, but I feel like this kind of approach would put off a lot of travellers, and it was one of the things I didn’t like about Marrakech. Fortunately, there was also a lot of good stuff to discover.

Marrakech is the perfect introduction to Morocco

The medina of Marrakech is also home to a number of historical sites, which are adorned with beautiful architecture unlike anywhere else I’ve ever visited. Le Jardin Secret, or the Secret Garden, is one such example.

As its name suggests, this garden is hidden away in the medina, but inside are two large courtyards filled with fountains and many kinds of plants. It really does feel like a tranquil retreat away from the busy medina streets outside. There’s also a tower that offers views over the whole of the medina – the entire old city of Marrakech is made up of low rise buildings, most only a couple of storeys high, with mosque towers being the tallest structures in the medina. It’s quite special to hear the prayer calls echo across the city, instructing Muslims to pray 5 times per day.

The largest mosque in the city is the Kotoubia Mosque, located to the south of the medina, near the Jemaa el-Fna Square. Both areas are worth visiting and great for photography. The Jemaa el-Fna Square is the main square of Marrakech, and is absolutely packed with market stalls selling souvenirs, leather bags, orange juice, and countless other merchandise. The square is full of street performers and entertainers, including snake charmers – be careful not to get too close!

Outside of the medina and well worth visiting, the Majorelle Garden is located to the northwest of the medina. Similar to the Secret Garden, this is another beautiful Islamic garden, which is famous for the ‘blue house’ in the middle. A popular site for photos, the building also contains the Berber Museum, a small museum dedicated to Berber culture.

Berbers are considered to be the original inhabitants of North Africa, before the Islamic Conquests in the 7th century, and a large proportion of the Moroccan population today still identifies as Berber and speaks Berber languages, which are distinct from Arabic. This makes Moroccan art and architecture somewhat different from styles present on the Arabian Peninsula.

Nearby to the Garden is the Yves Saint Laurent Museum – dedicated to the fashion designer, the museum houses a collection of art from various artists who have made Marrakech their home over the last century.

Marrakech is also home to a couple of palaces. El Badi Palace is a huge ruined palace in the south of the medina, and its scale is really impressive. Once a lavish palace, it was stripped of most of its contents in the 17th century for the Sultan’s palace in Meknes.

For a more intact palace, head to Bahia Palace. This palace is mostly untouched, with beautiful marble floors, large open courtyards, and intricate archways and doorways. The carvings on the door are so detailed that it really does make you wonder how people were able to craft something so beautiful.

The Museum of Marrakech is also good for this – in fact I’d go as far as to say that the building is the star of the show, not its exhibits! If I ever got the chance to build my dream house, I think I’d take a lot of inspiration from Moroccan architecture.

Without a doubt, the most memorable experience of my visit to Marrakech was when I took a day trip to a small Berber village in the Atlas Mountains, south of the city. The drive there took around two hours, with our minibus winding around narrow mountain roads, with huge mountains and expansive valleys beside us.

When I finally got to the village, I took a short trek up the mountain path to a small house for lunch. The tallest mountain in North Africa, Toubkal, towered over the tiny village, and provided some absolutely breathtaking views. It felt like I’d stepped back in time – some of the houses were made of mud, and there were no paved roads in the village at all. The locals used donkeys as transportation.

Our guide was from a neighbouring village, and he told me he’d woken up at 4am that morning, in order to drive to Marrakech to meet myself, and the rest of the group, at 9:30am. As I walked through the village, plenty of locals would stop and chat to him in the local Berber language. He told me that although Arabic is the main spoken language in Morocco, there are various local dialects, called darija, and that the Marrakech dialect can’t necessarily be understood in other parts of the country.

In small villages like this though, Berber is the everyday language, although most people learn Arabic in school. Visiting the village gave us some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen in my life, and although it was cold, the village was tranquil and a really eye-opening experience to how some Moroccans live their lives.

In the city though, I noticed quite a big difference outside of the medina. In the more modern ‘new city’, I noticed that some more upmarket shops and foreign food chains like McDonald’s and Pizza Hut only offered menus in French, not Arabic.

Morocco was colonised by France during the 19th and 20th centuries, and even today French is the unofficial second language of the country, with most Moroccans being at least conversational in it. This made it a bit easier to get around, as a lot of signs are bilingual in Arabic and French, and French is a hell of a lot easier to read as a native English speaker than Arabic!

I noticed that a lot of locals would address me in French first, and if they realised I didn’t understand, they’d try English or Spanish after that. So overall, the language barrier wasn’t a huge issue, although knowing a few French phrases would certainly help any traveller visiting Morocco.

Onto the food: the most famous dish is couscous, but a common Moroccan dish is called tagine. This can come in many varieties, as the word ‘tagine’ actually refers to the pot in which the food is cooked. Common ingredients are chicken, lamb, beef, vegetables, dates, chickpeas and nuts. There are plenty of spices, and it’s now my favourite Moroccan dish. The mint tea is also amazing – it was served regularly throughout my trip – it’s sweeter than I expected, but very refreshing.

Bread is also a large part of the Moroccan diet, being served as a side in most restaurants and sold on stalls throughout the city. As someone without much exposure to Moroccan cuisine before, I’d definitely be eager to get my hands on a tagine again soon!

Overall, I really enjoyed visiting Morocco – it opened up my eyes to a completely different culture that I didn’t know much about beforehand. While it may be challenging for some people, with pushy local merchants and crazy drivers, there is genuinely a lot of unique sights to see here that you won’t find in other parts of the world. North Africa is definitely somewhere that I’d be intrigued to visit again someday.

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Travel

Pound to euro exchange rate: Sterling slumps as Europe eases lockdown restrictions

The pound to euro exchange rate suffered a blow this morning after a week of growth in the previous week. Sterling has experienced a series of highs and lows in the past month as the coronavirus pandemic has gained speed, however with the UK’s death toll now climbing ever higher, the GBP has hit another slump.

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The pound is currently trading at a rate of 1.1476 against the euro according to Bloomberg at the time of writing.

Meanwhile, the euro has clawed back some strength, despite EU leaders still butting heads about the best way to cope with the virus.

Michael Brown, Currency Expert at Caxton FX spoke to Express.co.uk to offer exclusive insight on the exchange rate.

He said: “Sterling lost ground against the common currency on Friday, dipping below the €1.14 handle, as the euro found solid support despite yet another failure for EU leaders to agree on a common response to the coronavirus.

“This week, all eyes will remain on the pandemic, particularly the progress of the infection as lockdown measures begin to be lifted.”

After weeks of stringent lockdown, some countries across the EU have already announced a tentative easing of restrictions.

France, Italy, and Spain, three of the countries with the highest number of confirmed cases, are amongst those hoping to relax the current rules in place to try to restart the economy and allow an initial resumption of normal life.

Italy, which has so far seen 197,675 confirmed cases and 26,644 deaths, is set to ease restrictions.

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The Italian Prime Minister told local newspaper La Repubblica that manufacturing could be restarted as early as May 4, but that schools will remain closed until September.

In Spain, residents are now being allowed out of their homes for walks and exercise. Children are also being granted one hour of exercise a day, so long as they are being supervised, between 9 am and 9 pm.

The country’s officials have also suggested ways to reopen beaches, with social distancing measures in place, and is identifying ways to kick-start tourism in the country – though it will be prioritising domestic tourism initially.

Spanish authorities have outlined a three-step recovery plan to help boost the economy in certain regions that rely heavily on tourism.

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A graduated process is being introduced to the Canary Islands, which would first open beaches to locals, and later to people from mainland Spain.

There is a suggestion that foreign visitors, including Britons, will not be allowed to visit until the autumn months.

At the time of writing Spain has more than 226,000 confirmed cases and has recorded 23,190 fatalities as a result.

In France, the government is working to prioritise its exit strategy.

The reopening of schools, restarting public transport and ensuring there is a large enough supply of masks and hand sanitised have been highlighted.

France has seen more than 162,000 confirmed cases and 22,856 fatalities due to coronavirus.

In the UK the government has remained tight-lipped on an exit strategy, with ministers warning Britons that lockdown will not be ending any time soon.

Contrastingly, Nordic countries have eased restrictions already, allowing for small gatherings and outdoor activities.

In Sweden, officials enforced less stringent lockdown restrictions, leaving large parts of society operating as normal, in a bid to maintain social distancing for a longer period of time.

For travellers, the future of holidays remains uncertain, with airlines, tour operators, and cruise providers all extending cancellations and suspensions.

Those hoping to change back their travel money are now faced with fewer options, as many Bureau de Changes remain shut.

The Post Office halted its travel money operations some weeks ago, though customers who purchased a travel money card are able to switch their currency back to GBP and use the card in the UK as they would a normal debit or credit card.

Ian Strafford-Taylor, CEO of Equals (formerly known as FairFX), advised customers to hold off on exchanging travel money for now.

“If they can, holidaymakers might want to keep hold of their currency until their next trip and use it then,” he said.

“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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Australia holiday hotspots reopen as lockdown restrictions eased today

Western Australia has today announced that they will be relaxing coronavirus lockdown rules by changing certain rules that were put in place.

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Western Australians can now enjoy picnics in the park, fishing, boating, hiking and camping after the state relaxed coronavirus restrictions today.

Variations on these rules range from state to state. The two biggest states New South Wales and Victoria have the strictest lockdown and don’t plan on lifting these measures until mid-May according to the BBC.

However in some states like Queensland from Saturday, people can go shopping again for fashion, have a picnic in the park or go for a swim at the beach.

Residents can do all of these activities as long as it is within a 40 minute drive from home.

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Beaches were never closed but people can now lie on the sand in groups of 10 as long as they observe social distancing.

Western Australia is also joining South Australia in expanding the national two person limit on gatherings to 10 people, but meet-ups still have to be for essential reasons.

This includes weddings which were previously limited to five people.

Premier Mark McGowan said: “The changes are sensible and reasonable, and are designed to provide a high value social impact.

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“Western Australians have done such a great job so far, although these changes are small, I hope it will be of benefit to many Western Australians – they deserve it.”

The state has confirmed a total of 549 coronavirus cases, but only 55 remain alive.

There are currently 16 people in Perth hospitals, including four in intensive care.

Also on Monday, several elective surgeries resumed across the nation.

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For the most part, Australians are still required to stay at home unless they have crucial work, shopping or exercise reasons.

States and territory leaders say there is no fast and easy way to return to a “pre-coronavirus” norm.

Peter Collignon, Australian National University microbiologist told the Daily Mail that the implementation of a staggered return to work would reduce the risk of the transmission on buses and that pubs and hotels may not return to normal until September.

New Zealand will also list some of its nationwide lockdown measures, moving down one level on its alert scale.

Prime Minister Jacinda Arden says there are no undetected transmissions anymore and that the country has “won the battle”.

The deaths of 19 people have been linked to the virus.

Also restrictions on movement in Spain have been eased to allow children outside for the first time in six weeks.

Spain has had one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns but the governments hopes to ease measures further to let everyone exercise outside.

Italy holds one of the highest numbers of deaths linked to Covid-19 in Europe, it reaches nearly 27,000 deaths.

However with the death rate slowly decreasing, the country has now laid out plans on how it will come out of lockdown.

From May 3, people will be allowed to visit their relatives, only in small numbers, and only wearing masks.

People will also be allowed to move around their local area with parks reopening.

Funerals will also be allowed to be held again with a maximum of 15 people.

Services like hairdressers and beauty salons are not due to be open until 1 June.

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