Weekly UK Media, Travel, Consumer & Social Update — 28 January, 2021
Accurate as of: 28 January 2021
Current UK status:
Visit https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/ for all official information.
- As of 4pm on 27 January 2021, a total of 67,040,373 coronavirus (COVID-19) tests have been conducted in the UK. 3,715,054 people have tested positive.
- 7,164,387 people have had their first dose of the vaccination, while 474,156 have been fully vaccinated.
- 101,887 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.
- People entering the UK from high-risk countries, or “red” countries, will have to quarantine in a hotel at their own expense for 10 days.
- The government has announced hotel quarantine plans for Britons returning from 30 high-risk or “red list” countries to stop new coronavirus variants entering the UK. Prime Minister Boris Johnson previously stated the measures would apply to 22 nations, but Home Secretary Priti Patel has since revealed the “red list”, which is comprised of the same 30 countries that currently have a UK travel ban. (Independent)
- The Prime Minister has said that lockdown restrictions will not begin to lift and schools in England will not be able to reopen to all pupils after the February half-term but could do so from 8 March. (BBC)
- The government will publish a plan to lead the country out of its current Covid lockdown on 22 February, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed. Johnson said progress towards normality would depend on the government and NHS meeting its 15 February target to vaccinate everyone in the four groups most vulnerable to Covid. (TTG)
- The leaking of information about hotel quarantines without a timescale or a road map out of the new restrictions will be destabilising consumer confidence, according to TravelSupermarket. The situation is leading to “sensationalism and speculation” around whether people can take summer holidays, which are five months away. (Travel Weekly)
- Home Secretary, Priti Patel has outlined new measures to restrict international travel. A declaration of why you are travelling, a stricter list of essential travel exemptions. and greater police checks and fines are among “enhanced” measures announced by government to curb international travel from the UK. (TTG)
- Travel and aviation leaders are demanding an urgent response from the government to requests for financial aid and a pathway to relax border restrictions, accusing ministers of “laying blow after blow” on the industry. The heads of the Airport Operators Association (AOA), Airlines UK, Business Travel Association (BTA) and other industry bodies hit out after the government confirmed the imposition of compulsory hotel quarantine on arrivals from 30 destinations. (Travel Weekly)
- The government’s Global Travel Taskforce is now no longer active. It attracted criticism from the sector when it emerged it would not include any representatives from the travel industry. TTG learnt today that the taskforce is no longer active, having made recommendations to government that are currently being implemented. This included recommendations on test to release and pre-departure testing. (TTG)
- A range of UK short breaks has been introduced by youth brand Contiki following the launch of its Detour brand of ‘mini adventures’. The expanded range of domestic breaks follows a survey of its UK clients which showed 71% of respondents are planning to travel around the UK this year. Of these, 38% named Scotland as their destination choice and almost 15% wanted to experience English national parks. (Travel Weekly)
- Hays Travel is to close 89 shops as it consolidates its retail estate amid the continued pressures of Covid-19. The UK’s largest travel agency said it is offering options for alternative work to 388 staff affected. The company said it had deferred reviewing the performance of the former Thomas Cook shops it acquired in October 2019 to see if business returned in 2021. (Travel Weekly)
- The Biden administration has renewed the country’s Covid-19 travel bans on non-US visitors, including the UK and Ireland. Donald Trump had ordered the bans to end on 26 January, but White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the decision to continue the restrictions on foreign travellers 25 January. (TTG)
- After the news that British residents arriving in England from Covid hotspots will have to quarantine in hotels, many would-be holidaymakers are thinking of opting for UK destinations this summer. Sarah and Steve Jarvis, who run the Independent Cottages website listing more than 1,800 properties, say inquiries during the current lockdown in England are 300% up on the first lockdown in March to July 2020. (BBC)
- Boeing’s 737 Max has been cleared to return to service in the UK and Europe, 22 months after the aircraft was grounded following two fatal crashes. (TTG)
- A few weeks ago we touched on how many people (in the US but similar in other Western countries) get their news from Facebook — 72%. To embrace that trend in the United Kingdom, Facebook has just launched a dedicated News tab in the UK. It sources original reporting from leading outlets and provides these publishers new advertising and revenue streams. Find out more, including details on their Community News Project, on the announcement page.
- Curious how Facebook knows what you ‘want’ to see as you scroll through the News Feed? Find out in this math-light rundown from Facebook’s Engineering team. It’s an interesting perspective on how to sort through 1,000 posts per user per day for 2 billion users.
- Twitter’s already pretty prominent for writers and ‘clear thinkers’ use it a lot to link to platforms like Substack or Medium. Now, Twitter’s embracing that independent publishing angle with its acquisition of newsletter platform Revue. Subscribe for free here. If you’re considering a paid newsletter, Revue’s lowered their cut to only 5%.
- Further on the bird app, Twitter and NBCUniversal are deepening their partnership. NBC, the home of comedy icons like The Office, 30 Rock, and Community, are committing to new digital content around their live programming slate while Twitter promises better ad support to NBC’s sales team. The two companies have been in partnership since 2013 — which makes sense given the younger-skewing demos of their shows, at least back then — so this is further commitment for both.
- As Instagram continues to embrace Business and Creator accounts’ capacity to make money from the app, they’re rolling out a Professional Dashboard to help you track your performance, grow your business, and stay up to date with new tips, tricks, and inspiration.
- Fancy dark mode? It remains a tech staple for the most part but Snapchat is testing the new option for low light environments — like when you’re doomscrolling in bed with your partner asleep next to you. Shh.
- After premiering their AR Try-On tool for lipstick last year, Pinterest is rolling out the next stage of this ecommerce integration with eyeshadow. There are more than 4,000 shoppable shades, according to the platform, with purchase intent for Try-On pins 5x higher than standard Pins.
- After Twitter debuted reply controls to help control the kinds of conversations users were subjected to on their own posts, LinkedIn has followed suit. The changes also include options to mute particular users whose content is outside your interest, like people who are connections of connections.
- Facebook’s external, independent Oversight Board will make the final ruling on whether to permanently ban former president Donald Trump from the platform. Twitter’s already done it but Facebook’s temporary suspension is nearly over but they’re upholding that ban indefinitely until the Board decides on a course of action. Facebook’s official stance is best quoted from their release: “Many argue private companies like Facebook shouldn’t be making these big decisions on their own. We agree.” Keep an eye on the Oversight Board’s website here for updates.
- On Facebook, ironically, TikTok have released a new video featuring media buying superstar Savannah Sanchez on how to set up a TikTok ad campaign using their own Ads Manager platform.
- While Australia and Google remain at loggerheads over the Australian government’s demands for Google to pay Australian publishers for news — with Google threatening to pull Search from the country if it does so, in a move that really doesn’t help convince regulators that it’s not a monopoly — Google has outlined a new deal to pay French publishers for their news. Find out more with this article from Social Media Today that outlines why now, how German and Brazilian publishers are also involved, and what it might mean from publishers across the globe.
- Finally, a single subreddit devoted to what’s essentially gambling on the stock market is threatening to sink a $13 billion hedge fund. /r/wallstreetbets has been playing a long game with the stock of Gamestop, a brick-and-mortar video game retailer, after they posted losses two years in a row after decades of strength. Following the elevation of an ecommerce success story to the board, Redditors are both confident in the stock’s ability to turn itself around while also looking to stick to the 1% by calling their bluff — in this case, a bluff on 140% of Gamestop’s shares. It’s a wild ride that’s not even over yet and /r/wallstreetbets looks set to try and revive the struggling AMC theatre chain next.