Weekly UK Media, Travel, Consumer & Social Update — 21 January, 2021
Accurate as of: 21 January 2021
Current UK status:
Visit https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/ for all official information.
- As of 4pm on 20 January 2021, a total of 62,956,912 coronavirus (COVID-19) tests have been conducted in the UK. 3,505,754 people have tested positive.
- 4,609,740 people have had their first dose of the vaccination, while 460,625 have been fully vaccinated.
- 93,290 patients in the UK who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.
- As of 5 January, the whole UK has re-entered national lockdown.
- Guidance for the current lockdown rules in England can be found
UK travel restrictions:
Visit www.gov.uk/government/organisations/foreign-commonwealth-office for all official information.
- UK residents can only travel internationally – or within the UK – where they first have a legally permitted reason to leave home. In addition, they should consider the public health advice in the country they are visiting.
- UK residents cannot leave their home or the place where they are living for holidays or overnight stays unless they have a reasonable excuse for doing so. This means that holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed.
- In order to enter the UK, a negative Covid-19 test must be completed 72 hours before travel and presented to staff on planes, trains and ferries in order to board.
- On 20 January, Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th US president at the Capitol in Washington. He signed 15 executive orders in his first action as president, including to rejoin the Paris climate accord and revoke the ban on some Muslim majority countries. (BBC)
- Australia is unlikely to fully open its borders in 2021 even if most of its population gets vaccinated this year as planned, says a senior health official. The comments dampen hopes raised by airlines that travel to and from the country could resume as early as July. (BBC)
- From 19 January, Seychelles will admit anyone, from any country, who can prove they have had a vaccine against Covid-19. Specifically, visitors will need to have had their final dose of an approved vaccine at least two weeks before they jet off. That means the very first wave of key workers and older, more vulnerable citizens who’ve had vaccines in countries such as the UK and US could already be eligible. (Time Out)
- EasyJet has posted a £1.27bn pre-tax annual loss, the first in its 25-year history, as the turbulence caused by the coronavirus pandemic continues to shake the aviation industry. In its financial results for the year ending 30 September 2020, the low-cost airline revealed that capacity decreased by 47.5% and passenger numbers fell by 50% to 48.1 million year-on-year. In 2019 it had recorded profits of £430m and flew 96.1 million passengers. (The Week)
- Anyone going on a Saga holiday or cruise in 2021 must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, the tour operator has said. Saga, which specialises in holidays for the over-50s, said it wanted to protect customers’ health and safety. The firm said it would delay restarting its travel packages until May to give customers enough time to get jabs. (BBC)
- Jet2 has added more summer 2022 seats from Manchester, Stansted, Birmingham and Bristol following encouraging bookings. (TTG)
- Many British skiers remain hopeful of a late season getaway despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, a new poll of more than 5,000 enthusiasts has revealed. Priorities for those unsure about skiing this season included being vaccinated and low infection rates in the country they want to visit. (TTG)
- Consumers are prepared to spend an extra £1,335 on holidays to ensure safety when they finally travel again, including better insurance, higher quality accommodation and options such as private excursions and transfers, according to new research by AllClear Travel Insurance. (TTG)
- St Lucia says it is ready to meet the demand for Covid-19 testing and processing. The Caribbean island was responding to the UK government’s requirements of a negative pre-departure Covid-19 test for airline passengers. (Travel Weekly)
- Holiday companies have reported an increase in bookings as the UK’s coronavirus vaccine rollout gives people hope that they will soon be able to travel overseas again. The travel association Abta said it was hearing from members that the over-50s represented a much higher proportion of early bookers than normal. (The Guardian)
- Cornwall has been chosen to host the international G7 leaders’ summit in June in what is likely to be a landmark first meeting between world leaders since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The likes of Joe Biden, Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel will be in attendance later this year. (Cornwall Live)
- This week, TikTok has premiered a new Q&A option that allows users to post questions to creators. Submitted questions can be voted upon — imagine Reddit’s upvotes — and creators can spin those questions into new videos to further connect with their audiences. The major difference between this new feature and the current live stream question function is that users can post questions any time that live in their own section on the profile.
- As part of a push to make the Internet more accessible, Facebook has updated its Automatic Alt-Text feature to better identify what’s in the image. Manually adding alt text to images is best practice across social so that everyone can understand what’s in their Feed, even those with screen readers. If you’re a bit tech-savvy but you’re not across how the alt text feature works, simply Inspect a given page with images and look for an “alt” tag inside the <img> tag. If you’re not tech-savvy but you’re still curious, load a Facebook page and then turn your Internet connection off before the pictures load. That bit of text that’s on the ‘broken’ image is alt text. Find this great alt text primer here.
- In the wake of the U.S. Capitol riots, social platforms have been cracking down on anything controversial in an effort to avoid heavier-handed regulations like GDPR, but more nations are investigating ways to manage their influence. As user bases grow, political tensions continue to flare up, and we grapple with the fundamental power structures innate in a global platform like Facebook with 2 billion users — almost twice the population of the largest country on Earth — it’s a new frontier and one that, no doubt, will find itself regulated in some capacity sooner rather than later. But what happens when you cross borders (post-COVID) with the same phone, same apps, and same profile in your pocket? Stay tuned and we’ll keep you updated.
- After bouncing on the TikTok-trend, like everyone else last year, YouTube has clarified how Shorts views affect overall channel stats. Shorts views count as regular video views for the purposes of reporting, and while this may affect average view duration because they’re, obviously, shorter than most videos, YouTube promises this won’t affect your channel ranking. That said, Shorts views don’t count towards revenue-per-mille stats for monetised creators because Shorts themselves aren’t monetised yet.
- Twitter’s new, publicly accessible verification process is also set to reopen this week. We’ve written about it before but the new guidelines mean that there’ll be a public portal through which you can apply to be verified but the new policies will be published and discoverable as opposed to last time when they were ambiguous, abstract, and apparently at the whim of whoever you could get hold of at Twitter.
- A little late to the party but better late than never, I suppose, Pinterest is testing Story pins along the top of the user interface. You know how this goes we won’t dive deep.