Weekly UK Media, Travel, Consumer & Social Update — 4 March, 2021
Accurate as of: 3 March 2021
Current UK status:
Visit https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/ 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:
Visit www.gov.uk/government/organisations/foreign-commonwealth-office for all official information.
- 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.
- 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)
- At an investor day last week, Twitter unveiled an aggressive roadmap to more revenue for its shareholders after a long year of battling off takeover attempts by disgruntled investors. Would you pay to read some users’ tweets? That’s what a Super Follow will allow you to do. Other new features include stickers and ‘twemojis’ for Fleets in Japan, Spaces updates like private Spaces and scheduling features, and an eCommerce push with new Shop buttons.
- Following the above, Twitter’s also working on new features to alert users to potential COVID-19 vaccine misinformation as the rollout continues in earnest globally — and begins in Australia. Similarly, Facebook has opted to pursue their intended course with one of their Oversight Board’s rulings against COVID-19 misinformation. If you’re not across the Oversight Board, it’s basically an independent watchdog that makes final rulings on content moderation decisions that users want to appeal beyond Facebook.
- As content moderation, and the transparencies behind decisions, remains the endless thorn in the social networks’ sides, TikTok has announced a European equivalent to Facebook’s Oversight Board, their Safety Advisory Council. The Council will work to set moderation guidelines and policies that mean people can continue to enjoy TikTok without the threat of danger, in all its forms, on the app.
- As Facebook begins the restoration process for Australian news pages, they’ve also announced the launch of Facebook News in Germany for May. Facebook News has been around in the US since last year and in the UK since January, providing a centralised place for users to find news content that’s financially supported by Facebook.
- Find out, in the words of Facebook’s VP of Global Affairs, what the ‘real story’ of Facebook vs. Australia was all about.
- As Apple’s iOS14 ad tracking changes continue to encroach as people slowly update their phones, digital advertisers are bracing for big changes to the ways they can report on what’s previously been digital advertising’s biggest drawcard — simple attribution. iOS14 will by default disable ad tracking off-platform but no one’s really sure what that means yet.
- In the meantime, Facebook has released a new series of ads, both online, in print, and on TV, advocating for the benefits of targeted ads for small and medium businesses. This new campaign aims to convince that personalised targeting is a net good (we agree) and that small to medium businesses, with smaller marketing budgets, are the most likely to suffer if Facebook’s trademark efficiency is reduced.
- It is worth noting that every digital platform that lets you advertise to iOS 14 users, like Google, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, et. al. will also suffer from these new Apple changes but Facebook are the only ones taking the fight back to the Cupertino company.
- Slightly related: find out from the horse’s mouth how to maximise paid online events on Facebook.
- With International Women’s Day around the corner on March 8th, various social platforms have outlined new tools to take advantage of the day. Pinterest has launched a new Shop Collection of women-owned businesses to offset the mostly-female job losses in the US in the last 12 months, and Instagram has launched multi-participant Live Rooms to encourage more real-time connection during the ongoing pandemic. Instagram’s also running a series of Live Room discussions throughout Women’s History Month with influential women to help inspire others to overcome obstacles and succeed.