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As NZ sees first cases in 102 days...

Brits’ holiday plans hit by closures on the Med

Crete is among the islands affected

British holidaymakers heading to the Mediterranean will find their options limited after the authorities in Greece ordered a night curfew for restaurants and bars in some of its top tourist destinations.

In Mallorca the four-star Fergus Style Soller Beach is among a number of hotels that have decided to bring an early end to the summer season in the absence of British tourists.

A spokeswoman for the Greek government said coronavirus infections had risen, just as many Brits were switching their plans from Spain to countries free of quarantine requirements. Concern has also grown of a second spike of cases in France.

The areas hit by the latest restrictions include popular islands of Mykonos, Santorini, Corfu, Rhodes and Crete, spokeswoman Aristotelia Peloni said in a televised address.

The restriction will be in place from today to 23 August.

Proof of negative tests will also be required for anyone entering the country by land, including Greek citizens and permanent residents. 

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The government also moved to suspend public gatherings, including shows and concerts, where audiences are not seated.

Edinburgh-based Skyscanner, a flight booking website, said that holidaymakers had initially chosen Ibiza, Barcelona and Malaga, but they have fallen out of the top 10, following the UK government changing travel advice required people who return from Spain to Britain to quarantine for two weeks.

Mallorca’s hoteliers said they had pinned their hopes on negotiations between island leaders and the British government. 

However, they fear that the continuing increase in coronavirus cases over the last fortnight has sealed their fate. 

In addition, airlines Jet2, TUI Fly and EasyJet announced that they were cancelling many of their flights into August. 

Summer holidays have been blamed for rising cases in Germany and Italy, while France has tightened its face mask rules in tourist hotspots such as Paris and the Mediterranean resort of Saint Tropez. 

Fears of second wave in New Zealand

New Zealand has recorded four new cases of coronavirus within the same family, prompting immediate action from Prime Minister Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Ms Ardern is concerned about the origin of the virus, given the family have no links to overseas travel, reports MailOnline.

“We have not yet been able to determine the source of these cases, there is no known link to hotel quarantine.

“One of the most important lessons we have learned from overseas is to go hard at this.”

Ms Ardern will put Auckland back into a stage three lockdown from Wednesday.

New Zealand has drawn admiration from around the world for its handling of the COVID-19 crisis, particularly after passing the 100 day milestone without any community transmission. Most restrictions were entirely eased on 9 June. 

Russia becomes first to use Covid vaccine

Russia has become the first country to deem a coronavirus vaccine as safe for widespread use after less than two months of human testing.

President Vladimir Putin said the vaccine has “passed all the needed checks” and that he had even given it to one of his daughters.

Announcing regulatory approval for a test vaccine produced by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute after shortened trials,  Mr Putin claimed tests had showed the product was safe, worked effectively and formed long-term immunity.

“One of my daughters did the inoculation herself,” he said before a cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning. 

Deputy prime minister Tatyana Golikova said Russia plans to begin vaccinating medical staff in August, with mass vaccination starting early next year.

However, the speed and lack of transparency has fuelled concerns that geopolitics may have been prioritised at the expense of science and that the product may not have been fully tested.

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