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Weekly UK Media, Travel, Consumer & Social Update — 4 February, 2021

Weekly UK Media, Travel, Consumer & Social Update — 4 February, 2021
4 February 2021 Zac van Manen

 Accurate as of: 03 February 2021

Current UK status:

Visit for all official information.

  • As of 4pm on 3 February 2021, a total of 71,642,534 coronavirus (COVID-19) tests have been conducted in the UK. 3,871,825 people have tested positive.
  • 10,021,471 people have had their first dose of the vaccination, while 498,962 have been fully vaccinated.
  • 109,335 patients in the UK who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.
  • As of 5 January, the whole UK has re-entered national lockdown, with guidance to be given on 22 February as to when restrictions will be eased.
  • Guidance for the current lockdown rules in England can be found

UK travel restrictions:

Visit 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.

Latest updates:

  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he is “optimistic” people will be able to have summer holidays this year – but it depends on certain things going well. Asked about tourism in the UK, he said he did not want to give “concrete” dates for such trips but would set out more details on 22 February. (BBC)
  • Health secretary Matt Hancock will set out further details of the government’s hotel quarantine policy on 4 February prime minister Boris Johnson has confirmed. (TTG)
  • Scotland will introduce a mandatory hotel quarantine requirement for all international arrivals, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed on 2 February. No date has yet been set for the country’s “managed quarantine” regime to come into effect, although Sturgeon said it would be introduced “as soon as practically possible”. (TTG)
  • The UK is “past the peak” of the current wave of the pandemic but infection rates are still high, England’s Chief Medical Officer says. Professor Chris Whitty said the number of cases, hospitalisations and deaths were on a “downward slope” but that did not mean there would not be another peak. (BBC)
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson has defended the government’s decision to impose a partial ban on international flights against calls for a blanket shutdown. In a series of exchanges with opposition leader Keir Starmer, Johnson insisted: “We have one of the toughest regimes in the world.” However, Starmer told him: “The government’s own scientists in the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies [SAGE] said two weeks ago that ‘Only a complete pre-emptive closure of borders or the mandatory quarantine of all visitors upon arrival can get close to fully preventing new cases or new variants’.” (Travel Weekly)
  • Ryanair adverts encouraging people to Jab & Go have been banned as “misleading and irresponsible”. The two TV adverts, featuring an image of a medical syringe and screened from Boxing Day and over the new year, triggered 2,370 complaints to the UK advertising watchdog, and have now been removed. (Travel Weekly)
  • St Lucia has tightened Covid testing requirements, cutting the time span for travellers to the island to produce a negative certificate. All passengers of five years and older must now have a negative result from a PCR test taken no more than five days before arrival. The previous requirement was a test taken within seven days before travel. (TTG)
  • Denmark has announced plans to launch a digital “vaccination passport” to show whether travellers have received the coronavirus jab. The hope is that it will help open-up travel again and ease restrictions. Current projections are that “in three, four months, a digital corona passport will be ready for use in, for example, business travel,” according to Danish Finance Minister, Morten Bodskov. (Independent)
  • Wizz Air has started the new year with an 81% fall in carryings. The Hungarian budget carrier flew 573,692 passengers in January against more than 3.1 million in the same month last year. (Travel Weekly)
  • The founder of Trailfinders has urged customers to commit to booking future holidays before the “unprecedented bargains bookable now evaporate”. Writing on the Trailfinders blog, Executive Chairman Mike Gooley warned that “costs would soar and holiday choices would become very limited” due to a lack of immediate capacity within the “stricken and shrunken aviation and cruise industries”. (Travel Weekly)
  • The Senate confirmation of former Presidential candidate, Pete Buttigieg, to lead the US Department of Transportation has been welcomed by the country’s travel sector. He will have a “pivotal role” in leading the post-pandemic resumption of air travel. (Travel Weekly)
  • The Independent asked a group of travel experts when they thought we’d be able to travel again, with a mixed bag of results. (Independent)

Social media:

  • In an effort to make sure that posts aren’t permanently removed by accident, Instagram is adding a new ‘Recently Deleted’ folder so you can restore any posts you’ve deleted in the last 30 days. Stories will only stick around for 24 hours after their deletion but everything else still stay for the month. Seems like a stronger use case for those whose accounts have been hacked as malicious actors tend to delete a lot of content.
  • They’re also looking to stop some users sharing Feed posts to Stories. Some users seem to be frustrating by being ‘double-served’ posts from accounts they follow in both Stories and the Feed and Instagram’s hoping to promote as much original content as possible. They’re equally frustrated by TikTok reposts on Reels although they’re happy for you to share tweets in your Stories.
  • In the United States, Facebook’s Daily Active Usage has stalled. In Q4 of 2020, they actually lost a million daily active users (DAUs) in North America. They grew their Monthly Active Users in the territory, however, suggesting that an increasing number of people use Facebook regular but not necessarily daily. It hardly suggests Facebook’s decline and, with a $53 per-user revenue in North American, they’ll continue to generate billions in the territory for the foreseeable future.
  • TikTok and advertising conglomerate WPP have agreed to a new partnership. This agreement gives WPP clients access to internal tools and tricks to optimise their presence on the growing platform. The agreement also means WPP becomes the Lead Agency Development Partner for TikTok’s future APIs for creators, meaning it will have an enormous influence on the way that new creators get to track their plans, results, and partnerships.
  • YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki last week outlined the company’s focus areas for 2021. Among other highlights, she notes that over £1.4 billion in YouTube Partner Program earnings was distributed to the UK last year — equivalent to 30,000 full-time jobs. The video platform is also focusing on mobile creation through its Shorts tool, which is receiving 3.5 billion daily views.
  • In a twist on the Story format, Pinterest has introduced Story Pins following streams amongst the Story banner at the top of the UI. A mouthful of a phrase — truly officially Story Pins following streams — they’re designed as a longer term version of the traditional Story that are made for showcasing a followed accounts’ broader archive of pins.
  • Is Twitter’s recent spree of acquisitions just part of a stay of execution for “part-time” CEO Jack Dorsey? Social Media Today’s Andrew Hutchinson argues that it is after Elliott Management Corp’s aggressive 2019 push for the microblogging site to actually return profit to shareholders as a public company.
  • Finally, Twitter’s experimenting with a rebrand of sorts. Find out more in this teaser thread from Twitter’s CMO, Leslie Berland, in which she details the brand ethos, a new typography called Chirp, and hints at a roadmap for seeing this new branding in the wild.

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