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Thursday evening UK news briefing: France is amber-plus due to island 6,000 miles away

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 29/07/2021 Chris Price
Your evening briefing from The Telegraph © Provided by The Telegraph Your evening briefing from The Telegraph

Holidaymakers returning from France are being required to self-isolate because of high cases of a coronavirus variant on an island 6,000 miles from Paris, Dominic Raab has revealed. 

The Foreign Secretary said today that the decision to put France on the amber-plus list was "based on the prevalence of the so-called Beta variant, in particular in the Reunion bit of France". 

Reunion is a French island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. 

The Cabinet minister gave a sharp response when questioned on his revelation, with a spokesman from Brittany Ferries left unimpressed

Mr Raab has also rejected suggestions that rapid testing alone could be used to release travellers to the UK from quarantine. 

Meanwhile, Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, said today that he hopes more destinations will move to green or amber in next week's update

Although Britain is set to be one of the big winners from the staycation boom this year, Annabel Fenwick Elliot hails how, at long last, Boris Johnson is seeing at least some sense over travel restrictions.

Replay Video

In California, a "jabs for jobs" policy among employers is gathering pace, with staff being told they require a Covid certificate if they want to return to the workplace. 

Facebook, Google and Netflix are doing it, with London-based Pimlico Plumbers among the first to announce a "no jab, no job" approach earlier this year. 

The Foreign Secretary described it as a "smart policy" but Ben Marlow outlines why it will not work

Elsewhere, read why AstraZeneca may offload its Covid vaccines business.

Storm Evert to unleash 75mph winds on south coast

Winds of up to 75mph are set to lash parts of the South West as Storm Evert hits the UK this evening and tomorrow. The Met Office said the newly named storm will bring "unseasonably strong winds and heavy rain". Warnings are in place for parts of the south of England and Wales, with warnings of possible damage to infrastructure and travel issues. Click on the tool to track the storm's progress. It comes as the UK's leading meteorologists have warned British summers are likely to regularly see temperatures of above 40C even if humanity manages to limit global warming to 1.5C. Read data on 2020 showing how the UK is already seeing increasingly extreme weather. Meanwhile, the head of the Environment Agency has said plug sockets should be higher up the wall so they are at less risk if a property is affected by flooding.

Jodie Whittaker to quit Doctor Who after ratings slide

Jodie Whittaker is to quit Dr Who after becoming the first female to play the main role in the show, amid claims woke storylines led to its lowest ratings in years. She is to be followed out of the door by the writer who made the decision to cast her - Chris Chibnall. During their reign, the BBC has been accused of turning the iconic programme woke, and ratings in 2020 slid to one of the the worst in Doctor Who's 58-year history. Read on for details of Whittaker's final specials and the who are the bookies' favourites to replace her. Meanwhile, Marianka Swain reflects that Whittaker deserved better than Chibnall's boys' club.

Also in the news: Today's other headlines

Classified Pentagon data | British soldiers would be given access to a US "combat cloud" that the Pentagon hopes will revolutionise how it fights any future war with China, America's second-most senior military commander said. Read how UK forces could log in to US systems.

Around the world: Billionaire pig farmer jailed

Sun Dawu, a tycoon and outspoken critic of the Chinese Communist Party, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison, becoming the latest high-profile executive targeted in a widening crackdown. Mr Sun, who made his fortune in animal husbandry, was found guilty of eight charges including "picking quarrels and provoking troubles"; a charge which is used frequently to go after dissidents and human rights activists in China. He is the latest figure to fall foul of Beijing as it ramps up its campaign against critics of the ruling Communist Party.

Thursday interview

'I didn't grasp the impact of the Hitler business'

Ron Mael, Russell Mael are posing for a picture: The Sparks Brothers - Anna Webber © Provided by The Telegraph The Sparks Brothers - Anna Webber

Two acclaimed new films have catapulted eccentric art-rock siblings Sparks back into the spotlight. Neil McCormick meets them - just don't mention the 'tache

Read the full interview

Comment and analysis

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Business and money briefing

'Offensive investment' | Virgin Media O2 has unveiled plans to upgrade more than 14m homes and businesses to ultrafast full fibre in an attack on BT's dominance of the broadband market. Read on for details.

Olympics briefing

Behind the scenes | The Olympic athletics competition descended into chaos on the eve of its first day when the world pole vault champion was ruled out with Covid, the majority of the Australian team were temporarily forced into isolation, and a major drugs row saw 20 athletes – including almost half the Nigerian team – told they had not conducted enough tests to compete. Ben Bloom in Tokyo reports on the drama. Meanwhile, Duncan Scott continued his imperious progress towards becoming the first British Olympian to win four medals at a single Games, qualifying along with four other team-mates for swimming finals tomorrow morning. Read how he has slipped under the radar. The golf also started, with Rory McIlroy leaving many scratching their heads.

Three things for tonight

And finally... for this evening's downtime

Too clean for their own good? | Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis caused a stir by saying they let their children go days without a full wash... but that may not be a bad idea. Lauren Libbert analyses the science of how often we should wash our children.

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