Weekly UK Media, Travel, Consumer & Social Update — 11 March, 2021

Weekly UK Media, Travel, Consumer & Social Update — 11 March, 2021
11th March 2021 Zac van Manen

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.

Latest updates:

  • 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)

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