WATCH: 8 Homes Swept into the Sea After Massive Landslide in Norway

A number of homes in northern Norway collapsed into the sea on Wednesday due to a powerful landslide.

Around 4 p.m. local time, authorities first received reports of the incident in Alta, a town located on the northern coast of the Scandinavian country.

“There were some difficult and demanding minutes and hours at the early stage before we could make sure no people were taken," said Anders Bjorke Olsen, an official with the Vestfinnmark Police District, according to the BBC .

The slide was measured to be 650 meters (about 2,133 feet) wide and almost 140 meters deep (close to 500 feet), according to the official.

“It’s a pretty big mudslide. There are eight houses that have disappeared into the sea,” added Anders Bjordal, a Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate engineer. ”There is a huge amount of mass that has gone into the sea.”




Mudslides that are this large are not common in Norway, Bjordal told CNN, noting that they only occur “maybe every one or two years.”

"Here in Alta there has never been a slide that big,” he added.

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Travel firms are ALREADY planning to exploit loophole in new UK rules

Travel firms are ALREADY planning to exploit loophole in 14-day quarantine period by flying holidaymakers into UK via Dublin (which is exempt from new isolation rules)

  • Priti Patel said those arriving from June 8 will be forced to self-isolate for 14 days
  • However those flying in from Ireland will be exempt from the quarantining rules
  • It means travellers can first fly into Dublin then get a connecting flight to the UK 
  • Firms have already suggested they would exploit the ‘Dublin dodge’ loophole

Travel firms are already looking to exploit a ‘Dublin dodge’ loophole in Britain’s new quarantine rules that allows those arriving from Ireland to avoid having to isolate at home.

Home Secretary Priti Patel announced plans for a tough new quarantine regime requiring almost all arrivals into the UK to immediately self-isolate for 14 days as of June 8.

The move, unveiled on Friday, received widespread backlash both at home and abroad, with France threatening to impose a ‘reciprocal measure’ on Brits arriving at its borders.

The travel industry also lambasted the rules, labelling them as ‘ineffective and unenforceable’ given that those travelling to the UK from Ireland were exempt from the rules.

It means flyers can first travel into Dublin and then either jet into the UK or get a bus across the border with Northern Ireland, avoiding the self-isolating rules.

Mike Woolridge, founder of Flyaway Weekends, predicted that travel firms would be quick to cash in on the loophole.

Travel firms are already looking to exploit a ‘Dublin dodge’ loophole in Britain’s new quarantine rules that allows those arriving from Ireland to avoid having to isolate at home

He said: ‘We can see a real demand for short-notice travel once restrictions are slackened, and are already looking at offers that divert via Dublin so we’re ready to help plan weekend breaks as demand starts to return.’

Travellers coming into the UK from Ireland are exempt from the restrictions due to it being a member of the Common Travel Area, along with the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands.

Meanwhile, Ireland’s own coronavirus rules stipulate that travellers do not need to quarantine if they are getting an immediate connecting flight or bus into the UK.

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: ‘Anyone travelling from Ireland will be exempt.

‘However, given the high levels of compliance we have seen to date, we expect that the majority of people will do the right thing and abide by these measures.’

Miss Patel last night confirmed that the new quarantine regime would apply to almost all arrivals, including people returning from holidays abroad.

But she also revealed a list of 39 categories of people who would be exempt from the rules, including healthcare workers and pilots.

She said that ‘air bridges’ could be agreed with certain countries with a similar or lower Covid-19 infection rate, meaning citizens could travel between each nation without the imposing of self-isolation.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has received widespread backlash both at home and abroad after unveiling the new quarantine measures on Friday

However no such agreements had been finalized as of Friday’s announcement, while preliminary talks between the UK and France about a quarantine-free corridor with no checks abandoned two weeks ago.

Currently, Britons can only fly to France on ‘essential’ business, a position it said earlier this week would be reviewed on June 15. 

Responding to the UK’s announcement last night, a spokesman for France’s Interior Minister said: ‘We take note of the British government’s decision and we regret it.

‘France is ready to put in place a reciprocal measure as soon as the system comes into force on the British side.’  

Who is exempt from the government’s mandatory 

Here is the list of people exempt from the 14-day self-isolation requirement.

– A road haulage worker and road passenger transport worker

– A transit passenger, an individual transiting to a country outside of the Common Travel Area, who remains airside and does not pass border control

– An individual arriving to attend pre-arranged treatment, when receiving that treatment in the UK

– A registered health or care professional travelling to the UK to provide essential healthcare, including where this is not related to coronavirus

– A person who has travelled to the UK for the purpose of transporting, to a healthcare provider in the UK, material which consists of, or includes, human cells or blood which are to be used for the purpose of providing healthcare

– Quality assurance inspectors for human medicines

– Sponsors and essential persons needed for clinical trials or studies

– Civil aviation inspectors engaged on inspection duties

– Eurotunnel train drivers and crew, Eurotunnel Shuttle drivers, freight train drivers, crew and essential cross-border rail freight workers operating through the Channel Tunnel

– A Euratom inspector

– Workers engaged in essential or emergency works, related to water supplies and sewerage services

– Workers engaged in essential or emergency works related to a generating system, an electricity interconnector, a district heat network, communal heating, automated ballast cleaning and track re-laying systems or network

– A worker undertaking activities in offshore installations, upstream petroleum infrastructure, critical safety work on offshore installations and wells

– Workers engaged in essential or emergency works

– Drivers and crew of trains operated by Eurostar International Limited, essential cross-border workers working for Eurostar International Limited

– Operational, rail maintenance, security and safety workers working on the Channel Tunnel system

– A worker with specialist technical skills, where those specialist technical skills are required for essential or emergency works or services  

– Seamen and masters

– A pilot, as defined in paragraph 22(1) of Schedule 3A to the Merchant Shipping Act

– An inspector, and surveyor of ships

– Crew, as defined in paragraph 1 of Schedule 1 to the Air Navigation Order 2016(h), where such crew have travelled to the UK in the course of their work

– Nuclear personnel who are essential to the safe and secure operations of a licensed nuclear site

– Nuclear emergency responder

– Agency inspector

– An inspector from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, a specialist aerospace engineer, or a specialist aerospace worker

– A person engaged in operational, maintenance or safety activities of a downstream oil facility that has a capacity in excess of 20,000 tonnes

– A postal worker involved in the transport of mail into and out of the UK

– A person involved in essential maintenance and repair of data infrastructure

– An information technology or telecommunications professional whose expertise is required to provide an essential or emergency response to threats and incidents relating to security

– A person who is engaged in urgent or essential work on electronic communications networks

– A person who is engaged in urgent or essential work for the BBC’s broadcasting transmission network and services

– A seasonal agricultural worker 

– Members of diplomatic missions and consular posts in the United Kingdom

– Crown servants or government contractors returning to the United Kingdom who are either: required to undertake policing or essential government work in the United Kingdom within 14 days of their arrival, have been undertaking policing or essential government work outside of the United Kingdom but are required to return temporarily, after which they will depart to conduct policing or essential government work outside the United Kingdom

– International prison escorts – a person designated by the relevant Minister under section 5(3) of the Repatriation of Prisoners Act 1984(a)

– A person responsible for escorting a person sought for extradition pursuant to a warrant issued under Part 3 of the Extradition Act 2003 or sought for extradition pursuant to any other extradition arrangements

– Defence personnel and contractors doing work necessary for the delivery of essential Defence activities, including Visiting Forces and NATO

– An official required to work on essential border security duties

– A person who resides in the UK and who pursues an activity as an employed or self-employed person in another country to which they usually go at least once a week 

Raffaele Trombetta, the Italian ambassador to the UK, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that no discussions had yet taken place between the two countries.

He said: ‘There is always a large number of British tourists coming to Italy, it’s one of Britain’s preferred destinations.  

‘We had 40 million trips from the UK to Italy last year. We know how much they love Italy. We are still open, welcoming them. 

‘We believe that this is pandemic is a global problem so the best thing to do is to tackle it with a coordinated approach.’

Mr Trombetta pointed to Italy’s own plans to lift quarantine rules for those travelling from the UK and the EU as of June 3.

He said: ‘We have made it clear what we are going to do and it’s important for British people to know that they can come to Italy. 

‘We understand that the UK’s new rules will be reassessed after three weeks so hopefully there will be an easing of the measures as we are doing in Italy.’

Several exemptions to the new rules were announced last night, including those living in Ireland, healthcare workers pilots.

However Ms Patel’s plans were also panned by the travel industry, which pointed out that those arriving in the UK will be allowed to use public transport to reach their address, possibly infecting others.

They also said that people could get around the rules by first flying into Ireland, which is exempt from the quarantine rules, before then travelling into Britain. 

Ryanair, Europe’s largest airline, was among the first to hit out at the new guidelines, which Ms Patel has already admitted would be under constant review. 

In a statement, it described the regime as ‘unenforceable’ and said it was ‘strongly opposed to ineffective non-scientific measures’. 

A spokesman added: ‘This isolation measure simply does not work unless passengers arriving in international UK airports are detained in airport terminals or hotels for the 14-day period.

‘Once these arriving passengers have travelled on the crowded London Underground, or the Heathrow and Gatwick Express, or buses or taxis to their destination, the subsequent quarantine is pointless.

‘If this measure had any basis in science, then the Irish visitors would not and could not be exempt.’

British ministers are said to be examining the idea of ‘Covid passports’ that could allow those who have had the disease to travel more widely without the need to undergo quarantine on their return to the UK.

The plans to get tourism moving are being promoted by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who is said to have the backing of both Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Miss Patel last night confirmed that the new quarantine regime would apply to almost all arrivals, including people returning from holidays abroad at ports and airports.

Under the plans, travellers arriving at all ports and airports will be ordered to go into self-isolation for a fortnight and to provide an address and contact details. 

They will not be allowed to accept visitors, unless they are providing essential support, and should not go out to buy food or other essentials ‘where they can rely on others’, the Home Office said. 

There is a small number of exemptions for truck drivers and some other critical roles while transit passengers who do not formally enter the UK will also be exempt.     

Public health officials are expected to conduct approximately 100 spot checks every day to ensure people are sticking to self-isolation. Those checks will start from the middle of June. 

People who arrive in the UK without accommodation arranged will have to pay for Government-arranged accommodation themselves. 

Despite Ms Patel insisting the policy will be reviewed every three weeks, Whitehall sources have played down hopes that the measures could be lifted before the summer holiday season.   

Virgin Atlantic warned the plan would keep planes grounded. 

‘The safety and security of our people and our customers is always our top priority and public health must come first,’ a spokeswoman said. 

‘However, by introducing a mandatory 14-day self-isolation for every single traveller entering the UK, the Government’s approach will prevent flights from resuming. 

‘We are continually reviewing our flying programme and with these restrictions, there simply won’t be sufficient demand to resume passenger services before August at the earliest.’

The airline instead called on the Government to introduce a ‘multi-layered approach’ with targeted public health and screening measures to allow the safe restart of international travel. 

The chief executive of the Airport Operators Association, Karen Dee, had earlier told the Home Affairs Select Committee that drastic reductions in passenger numbers ‘may simply lead to a prolonged shutdown of all aviation’.

France immediately hit back at the UK last night, saying it ‘regretted’ the decision and would look to impose a ‘reciprocal measure’ on Brits arriving at its borders

Passengers wearing personal protective equipment queued up to board a flight at Heathrow Airport on Friday

The strict new rules

What is going to happen?

All passengers arriving in the UK will have to fill in a form before heading to Britain. This will include British nationals coming home, as well as foreign visitors. You must provide the address at which you will be staying in the UK – and self-isolate there. You will not be allowed to leave that address at all, or receive visitors, for 14 days.

How will it work?

Passengers will be able to complete ‘contact locator form’ on the Government’s website up to 48 hours before departure. There will be no paper versions of the form. Failing to complete the form before travelling is a crime, but there will be a short grace period and allow travellers to fill in the form electronically in the arrivals hall.

How will this be enforced?

There will be spot checks to ensure all passengers have completed a form. Border Force staff will interview people as they leave planes and at border checkpoints.

What happens if I refuse to fill in a contact locator form?

You will be given an on-the-spot £100 fine by Border Force officers.

When will this come into force?

June 8.

What checks will take place during the 14-day period?

Public health officials will carry out random checks by telephone. If these raise doubts, police will visit the address, issuing a fine where necessary.

What happens if I leave the address I provide in the form?

In England, you will be issued with a £1,000 spot fine. You could even be prosecuted, and face an unlimited fine if convicted. The fine could increase beyond £1,000 if the ‘risk of infection from abroad increases’, the Home Office says. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will have their own enforcement systems. 

A spokesperson for the Association of Independent Tour Operators told The Daily Telegraph: ‘As with so many Government ‘initiatives’, the 14-day quarantine rule comes across as a bit of a stab in the dark, quite possibly to be changed as quickly as it was introduced, as with the mooted air bridges.

‘In reality, quarantine should have been put in place right at the start of the pandemic, as our European neighbours did – we are now out of synch with them, as they emerge from quarantine and we go into it.’  

Piers Morgan lead calls for transparency about why coronavirus carriers were able to fly into the UK in the first place.

He wrote: ‘Of all the inexplicable decisions this Govt has made during the coronavirus crisis, quarantining people who fly into the UK after 20 million people have already flown in and 62,000 people have already died is the most… inexplicable.’

Nigel Farage tweeted: ‘The government quarantine should have been three months ago, not now. Far too late.’ 

Ms Patel insisted the Government does ‘recognise how hard these changes will be for our travel sector’ and that ministers will work with the industry to find ‘new ways to reopen international travel and tourism in a safe and responsible way’. 

A former head of Border Force said today he was ‘surprised’ quarantine measures had not been brought in at UK borders sooner.

Tony Smith, now chairman of the International Border Management and Technologies Association, told the Commons Home Affairs Committee today: ‘Yes I was surprised that we hadn’t seen earlier measures introduced at the UK border.’ 

Mr Shapps on Monday raised the idea of ‘air bridges’ with popular tourist destinations such as Spain. 

Madrid yesterday signalled it might be prepared to welcome UK tourists from July without asking them to self-isolate for 14 days.  

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: ‘We need to find a way that the vast, vast, vast majority of people who don’t have a disease can still fly.’

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Safe ways to resume travel during coronavirus

Car vending machine is coronavirus-safe way to buy a car: Carvana CEO

Carvana CEO Ernest Garcia on how the coronavirus has impacted the used car industry.

Americans are taking more caution with summer travel plans during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Only 14 percent of travelers feel safe taking a domestic flight, and 17 percent feel safe at a hotel or resort, according to a survey by MMGY Global for the U.S. Travel Association from late April. 

Travel lovers are hopeful to venture out once the COVID-19 pandemic passes. 

But travel lovers are hopeful. Once the COVID-19 pandemic passes, more than half of the respondents from the survey said they’d venture out of town again with four in 10 saying they’ll likely travel by plane, and 1 in 3 saying they’d vacation closer to home.

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Here’s how to navigate safe travel and transportation:

Hotel stays

Hotels will likely be stripped of communal amenities like pools, spas and buffets. If they’re not, consider social distancing, health experts say. Upon arriving to a hotel, the travel industry suggests opting for non-contact payment solutions for things like check-in and considering food ordering apps and electronic ticketing for events or excursions to maintain social distancing with others.

TRAVEL INDUSTRY RELEASES NEW CORONAVIRUS RELATED HEALTH AND SAFETY GUIDELINES 

Car rentals

Zipcar, the car-sharing company, has added antiviral and antimicrobial solutions to its car cleaning service, the company said in a recent blog post.

“We’ve also promoted additional healthy hygiene and safety practices within the team that works behind the scenes to care for our vehicles,” the company’s website says.

Hertz rental cars put out a 15-step cleaning and disinfecting process for inside and outside of its vehicles, which will now be certified with a "Gold Standard Clean," to show customers their cars have been sanitized, the company's president and CEO Kathryn Marinello said in a statement. 

And Enterprise car rental company has also ramped up its health and safety measures, ensuring customers their vehicles have undergone "vigorous cleaning and sanitation procedures," according to its website.

Road Trips with recreational vehicles 

Roadtrips are a safe alternative to avoiding public transportation and a number of RV rental companies have seen an uptick in bookings.

According to a recent survey from RVshare, an online RV rental company, an overwhelming majority (93%) of users said they are looking to avoid crowds while traveling in the next three months.

"While the rush back to airports or hotels in busy cities may take a little more time, many will turn to RV travel. Renting an RV is the ideal way to travel to not only avoid large groups, but a way to escape into nature and spend time outdoors," a spokesperson for RVshare told FOX Business in an email. "With their means of travel, cooking, and sleep all on board, their trips can be completely self-contained allowing people to get back to traveling while doing so responsibly."

CORONAVIRUS DRIVES UP RV RENTALS, SALES

Bookings increased more than 1000 percent this month, the company said. And rentals can be an affordable option for travelers looking to get away throughout the summer. RV rentals typically range from $175 a night up to $300 a night depending on the make and model.

WHY IS GLAMPING TAKING OVER THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY? 

Biking 

If you’re having a permanent staycation in your home city or one that provides rental bikes be sure to wipe down handlebars with disinfectant as the virus can live on surfaces for 24 hours or up to a few days depending on the substance.

Citi Bike, for example, has expanded bike cleaning efforts by wiping them down once they return to shops and valet stations.

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Eurostar backtracks over coronavirus refunds after complaints

Eurostar is to offer more generous cancellation terms and has promised cash refunds after facing a backlash from customers furious at its previous refunds stance.

With French borders still closed to all tourist traffic, Eurostar has been forced to cancel all but two trains a day out of London, leaving thousands of passengers with unusable tickets.

Confusion over French quarantine rules for overseas visitors

Easter trips to Disneyland in Paris and a host of other cities were all cancelled.

Like the airlines, Eurostar has pushed customers into accepting replacement vouchers, which it said had to be used to make a booking by the end of September – a date regarded as far too soon for many of its customers, particularly older travellers.

But after facing a growing backlash from customers – some of whom said they would never use the service again – Eurostar is now allowing up to a year to rebook trips, which can start six or nine months after that. It has also confirmed it will refund tickets for those whose trains were cancelled.

Guardian Money has been inundated by unhappy Eurostar passengers who claimed they were denied the refunds, and that the policy terms made the vouchers all but unusable.

People aged over 70 complained they would be unlikely to be able make ticket bookings by September for travel before April.

Passengers also complained that trains were only being cancelled 48 hours before they were set to depart, in an apparent bid to get customers to accept vouchers rather than refunds.

UK watchdog flooded with complaints over holiday refunds

A Eurostar spokesman said the reason trains were being cancelled late was to help ease traffic to its customer service operation.

“We apologise if some of your readers have not found this process as simple as we would like, but we are working to process a high-volume of enquiries to support our customers and offer flexibility with travel arrangements at this time.

“Vouchers are valid for bookings 12 months from the date they are issued, so in theory customers could receive a voucher and use it for travel up to late 2021. Travellers on cancelled trains are also entitled to a refund to the full value of the cancelled journey, in line with their conditions of carriage,” he said.

In a statement issued on Monday, Eurostar’s chief executive, Mike Cooper, said: “On behalf of everyone at Eurostar, thank you for your understanding at a difficult time. The situation is changing by the hour, and both you – our customers – and our teams are facing unprecedented challenges.”

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