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

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

Accurate as of: 3 March 2021

Current UK status:

Visit for all official information.

  • As of 4pm on 2 March 2021, a total of 88,264,597 coronavirus (COVID-19) tests have been conducted in the UK. 4,188,400 people have tested positive.
  • 20,478,619 people have had their first dose of the vaccination, while 844,098 have been fully vaccinated.
  • 123,296 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 schools reopening on 8 March
  • Guidance for the current lockdown rules in England can be found

UK travel restrictions:

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  • Boris Johnson has laid out a roadmap out of lockdown, with key touchstones to open up the country on 8 March, 29 March, 12 April, 17 May and 21 June.
  • Currently, 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. A further two tests must be completed at the travellers’ expense during their quarantine before they can return to day-to-day life.
  • 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:

  • Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled the contents of his Budget in the House of Commons. Setting out the government’s tax and spending plans for the year ahead, he announced new measures to help business and jobs through the pandemic and to support the UK’s long-term economic recovery and a series of tax-raising plans to help rebalance the public finances. As part of the budget, the furlough scheme is to be extended until the end of September. (BBC)
  • Abta has responded to the Chancellor’s Budget statement today, welcoming the extension of general business support measures, but calling for travel companies without retail premises to also be eligible for financial support. Mark Tanzer, chief executive of Abta, said: “We’re pleased to see the government has responded to many of our calls to extend furlough, business rates relief and VAT reductions. This will help to support jobs and businesses over the coming months.” (TTG)
  • EU chief Ursula von der Leyen has announced she will present plans for a bloc-wide vaccine passport this March. The European Commission President made clear that a draft law will be unveiled after member states agreed to implement a digital certification scheme that coincides with the rollout of Covid jabs. EU diplomats say that capitals agreed to work on plans to stop some countries, such as Greece, going alone with their own vaccine passports. (Express)
  • Spain will consider bilateral deals with countries including the UK in a bid to restart travel this summer if a standard for vaccine certificates is not agreed by the European Union, its Tourism Minister has said. (TTG)
  • Tourism chiefs in Madeira have vowed to open up the Portuguese archipelago to tourists who have been vaccinated against, or fully recovered from, Covid-19. A new green corridor will allow tourists to travel to the island providing they have a certification of a full, two-dose vaccination, or evidence of having recovered from Covid-19 in the past 90 days. (TTG)
  • Jet2holidays’ claim of a 1,000% increase in bookings in the 24 hours after the Prime Minister’s roadmap announcement represented “tens of thousands of bookings”, its chief executive has revealed. (Travel Weekly)
  • Jet2holidays also anticipates 2022 capacity will outstrip 2019, as it remains confident about a strong rebound for the industry. The operator confirmed an increase in the size of its Atol licence last year, despite the onset of Covid. It is now licensed to carry 4.8 million passengers a year, making it second in size in the UK to Tui.(Travel Weekly)
  • Sandals has begun work on a new section of its Sandals Royal Barbados resort, which is due to be completed later this year. The all-inclusive specialist reported a spike in sales through its UK tour operator, Unique Caribbean Holidays Ltd, over the weekend. Bookings from 26 February – 28 February were up 95% against the previous weekend, and since Boris Johnson’s roadmap announcement on 22 February. (Travel Weekly)
  • Transport Secretary Grant Shapps chaired the first meeting of the government’s reconvened Global Travel Taskforce on 2 March. The Department for Transport (DfT) said the meeting was attended by several government departments, along with “industry bodies, transport operators and travel agencies”. (TTG)
  • The Telegraph has published a handy holiday roadmap of where you’ll (probably) be able to go this year, and when. The list provides a month-by-month breakdown of what we can do now to secure a holiday and how to think ahead. (Telegraph)
  • Another helpful Q&A style article published by The Telegraph details everything you need to know about holidays after you’ve been inoculated. (Telegraph)

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