Weekly UK Media, Travel, Consumer & Social Update — 11 March, 2021
Accurate as of: 10 March 2021
Current UK status:
Visit https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/ for all official information.
- As of 4pm on 10 March 2021, a total of 96,352,115 coronavirus (COVID-19) tests have been conducted in the UK. 4,234,924 people have tested positive.
- 22,809,829 people have had their first dose of the vaccination, while 1,254,353 have been fully vaccinated.
- 124,987 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.
- It is still too early to book foreign summer holidays, the Transport Secretary has said, despite countries saying they hope to welcome vaccinated British tourists from May. Grant Shapps said there were “lots of questions” to answer about “how safe it will be in June to travel”. He added: “We have said it will remain illegal to travel internationally until at least 17 May – that’s an at-the-earliest date.” (BBC)
- Mr Shapps’ statement has prompted a mixed reaction from the trade, with some saying he should not be advising against booking holidays, but others agreeing consumers should wait until the Global Travel Taskforce report on 12 April. (Travel Weekly)
- Greece will open to tourists from 14 May, providing they have received a Covid-19 vaccine, have antibodies or supply a negative test result. Tourism Minister Harry Theocharis confirmed the plan at the ITB Berlin trade show and said all tourists would also be subject to random testing. (Travel Weekly)
- Jet2holidays and Jet2.com have reported an “immediate surge” in bookings to Greece and Cyprus on the back of news that holidaymakers will be welcomed to the Mediterranean destinations this summer. Bookings to Cyprus with the package holiday specialist and its sister airline jumped by 200% after the country’s Deputy Minister of Tourism said British nationals who have been vaccinated will be allowed to visit this summer. (Travel Weekly)
- Andalucía is to offer Covid-19 travel insurance to international visitors staying in regulated accommodation this year. The region, one of Spain’s most popular tourist destinations among Brits, has introduced its International Travel Insurance for non-resident travellers, which will be in place until December 31, 2021. Cover includes medical, surgical and hospital expenses related to Covid, up to €4,000, additional transportation and repatriation costs, plus the cost of an extended stay at regulated accommodation. (Travel Weekly)
- Majorca is also hopeful a travel corridor with the UK can be opened in time for the summer peak. Officials believe the island’s 800,000 population can be vaccinated within the next four months, making a travel corridor with the UK a realistic prospect this summer. Any decision about travel to the island from the UK government would likely be swayed in Majorca’s favour if its population was shown to be vaccinated. (TTG)
- People travelling internationally will be legally required to fill in a new travel declaration form from 8 March and will commit a criminal offence if they go to a departure port without a completed form. Although UK residents are currently banned from going on holiday until at least 17 May, they can still travel abroad legally for several reasons, such as work, volunteering, education, medical or compassionate grounds, and to attend weddings, funerals and other “related” events. (TTG)
- Heathrow says airport border queues at ‘unacceptable level’, with queues of three to six hours at border control, according to Emma Gilthorpe, its chief operating officer. Unions representing Border Force officials said the delays were partly caused by Covid restrictions requiring immigration officials to work in a bubble of 10. They said this prevented more staff being deployed if the border was particularly busy. (BBC)
- Mauritius has implemented a two-week lockdown after 15 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed. The Indian Ocean island nation will be under the restrictions until 25 March, with visitors currently in the country asked to stay within their accommodation as its 1.4 million citizens remain at home. (Travel Weekly)
- It’s no secret that Reels are a pretty straightforward attempt at slicing into TikTok’s quagmire but what might come as a surprise is that Facebook is keen to get in on the action themselves. Facebook owns Instagram, that’s true, but we’re talking about a new push in India to crosspost Reels straight to Facebook. India is the testing ground for all things Reels as TikTok was banned in the country last year amidst a slew of other Chinese apps following a scuffle at the border.
- As part of Twitter’s push to more effectively commercialise, they’re exploring new options for advertisers to own the conversations they’re paying to create. In this case, that means expanding conversation settings to the ad creation flow. Twitter is the most famously ‘block on sight’ platform for advertisers and some users do enjoy griefing advertisers in replies just to stretch their marketing budgets even further so this is a welcome step for those with a clear message and no desire to elaborate. We’re pretty big fans of hiding, deleting, and blocking bad comments on Facebook ads where appropriate so consider this an extension of that approach.
- Related, Twitter continues to push to usurp Clubhouse’s dominance within the social graph they’ve already spent ten years building. On a podcast with The Verge, Twitter’s head of consumer product, Kayvon Beykpour, says the company is looking to build a way to save conversations down to replay after the fact if you’d like. Clubhouse is developing a ‘black market’ of this with some users recording conversations through their phones and posting to YouTube for later consumption but this Twitter version would likely include better attribution and ownership of ‘your own’ contribution to the chat.
- Instagram’s added a new Captions sticker to IG Stories for generating closed captions. A great step forward for accessibility in the Stories, which has been notoriously bad, and reinforces Instagram’s apparent commitment to fostering inclusion on the platform — for a change, some might say. They’re ‘for Internal Testing’ right now but keep your eyes peeled for their rollout.
- We mentioned last week that Facebook seems to be the only social ad platform who’s displaying any concern at all about iOS14, but Snapchat’s now launched an iOS14 Resource Hub to help advertisers prepare for what’s changing. They’re also hosting a webinar on March 11, 11am PT to run them through as well. A recording will be available afterwards if you’re asleep.
- Slightly related, Snapchat’s also partnered with media company Gannett to sell small to medium businesses on Snapchat ads’ potential to reach younger audiences. The business is looking to aggressively scale its revenue, posting a 62% increase in Q4 as the CEO recently predicted “multiple years of at least 50% growth” so keep an eye on the yellow AR company if you’re not already.
- Meanwhile, Google presses on in its quest to do away with third-party cookies altogether — like the Facebook pixel — to track users for advertising. They’ve been researching implementation for a while through their Privacy Sandbox and they suggest that “advances in aggregation, anonymization, on-device processing and other privacy-preserving technologies offer a clear path to replacing individual identifiers.” There’s not really a lot here to report on other than the fact that “They’re working on it FYI” but Search ads are so obscenely profitable that they’ll only make the switch from targeted to anonymised ads once there’s a use case. At that time, expect Internet advertising to change all at once — again.
- If you put a feature on your app, @wongmjane will find it. In this case, she’s found Twitter testing a feature that lets you unsend tweets during a brief countdown after posting. It’s not quite an edit button, which has all sorts of ramifications on virality, but it does at least let you fix typos that you spot only as you tweet — which is where you find them all, let’s be honest.
- @jack, Twitter’s co-founder, has listed his first tweet for sale as a non-fungible token, or NFT for short. NFTs like NBA’s Top Shot are an interesting new intersection between art, crypto, and consumerism that has potential courtesy of the immutable nature of the blockchain but how exactly they evolve from here is anyone’s guess. The current asking price for the tweet is USD$2.5 million in case you were concerned that there wasn’t enough money floating around.