Weekly UK Media, Travel, Consumer & Social Update — 16 April, 2021
Accurate as of: 14 April 2021
Current UK status:
Visit https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/ for all official information.
- As of 4pm on 14 April 2021, a total of 135,152,009 coronavirus (COVID-19) tests have been conducted in the UK. 4,378,305 people have tested positive.
- 32,326,604 people have had their first dose of the vaccination, while 8,170,081 have been fully vaccinated.
- 150,419 patients in the UK who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.
- 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 further open up the country on 17 May and 21 June.
- Currently, UK residents can only travel internationally 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.
- 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.
- A travel “green list” is expected to be announced by the government in early May.
- Pubs and restaurants around the UK have reopened for outdoor visitors as of 12 April, after months of lockdown. In addition, all shops can reopen, and members of the same household can take a holiday in England in self-contained accommodation. (BBC)
- Staycations are currently very popular, with some areas such as Cornwall and Devon with very little availability over the coming weeks. Find out the current rules and regulations on travel within England here. (Birmingham Mail)
- The UK’s largest Covid-19 PCR testing provider is almost halving the cost to support travel to £60 per test. (Travel Weekly)
- Meanwhile, the UK’s aviation and maritime minister, Robert Courts, has pledged to address concerns over the cost of testing to travellers ahead of a resumption of international travel in the spring. (TTG)
- Travellers and the travel industry will not get any information on the countries on the “green list” until early May – just days before the planned resumption of international travel on 17 May. The timescale was confirmed by Robert Courts when he addressed MPs on the Transport Select Committee. (Independent)
- The Telegraph has published their predictions for the countries and regions that will first appear on the UK’s green list from 17 May, including Israel, Gibraltar, Madeira, the Caribbean Islands, Iceland, Malta, and the USA. (The Telegraph)
- Interestingly, EasyJet’s chief said he expects “almost all major European countries” to be placed into the government’s “green” traffic light category when international travel resumes from May. (TTG)
- Tour operators Tui and easyJet holidays have confirmed they have no plans to push back their restart dates. Rival operator Jet2holidays pushed back its restart date to 24 June on Friday after the government’s Global Travel Taskforce published its report on the restart of travel. (Travel Weekly)
- Travel agencies reported a positive first day back as non-essential shops reopened in England and Wales on Monday – with queues outside some branches. (Travel Weekly)
- Scotland’s islands will reopen to travellers later this month, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said. Sturgeon also confirmed the Scottish government was committed to consulting with island communities about how and when they emerge from long-standing restrictions. (TTG)
- Israel has set out its intention to allow organised groups of tourists that have been vaccinated to enter the country from 23 May. In the first stage, groups will be allowed in under guidelines which are yet to be published, but an outline says a limited number of groups will be allowed to arrive from 23 May. The number is expected to be increased based on the health situation. (Travel Weekly)
- After trialling hiding public like counts in a variety of ways — on all posts, on just your posts, or seeing everything still — Instagram’s chief Adam Mosseri announced the app has decided it will let you make the final choice on how you see like counts.
- As algorithms continue, with no end in sight, to be responsible for what we see in our social feeds, Twitter’s announced their new Responsible Machine Learning Initiative. The initiative is built on pillars that mean Twitter assumes ownership of what the algorithm makes you see, in contrast to Facebook’s recent stance that you’re curating your own relationship with the algorithm. Some analyses of the algorithm(s, as there are more than one) that you’ll see from Twitter in the near future are those such as gender and racial bias analysis of the image cropping tool — which flared up recently when people realised the algo opted for ‘higher contrast’ previews of white people in a mixed-race image.
- Facebook and Instagram users will now be able to appeal content that has remained on the platforms through the Oversight Board. The Oversight Board’s remit previously limited it to just mediating on removed content but users can now escalate their concerns to the Board for content that has instead not been taken down.
- TikTok has previewed a new eCommerce-focused ad offering as they continue to compete with the most established social networks. Most of the ad formats are ones you’ve seen before — collection ads and dynamic product ads — while new ‘Tiles’ placements like Promo Tiles and Showcase Tiles mean creators can showcase products directly in their videos with a link to the relevant info at the bottom. Remember that TikTok is the English-language version of a Chinese app called Douyin and Douyin generates more money from in-app sales than from ads so expect this push to continue. Facebook and Instagram continue to push for the same thing with their Shops feature but the uptake in the West hasn’t been quite as high.
- Related to the above, TikTok recently commissioned Kantar to see what it is about ads on TikTok that people love. Results show that people find most TikTok ads inspiring, enjoyable, and optimistic and that ads on TikTok had a better reception than ads on other apps. TikTokers’ preferred ad placement — weird question, in our opinion — is the TopView format.
- LinkedIn is also working on new ways to help users — particularly mums — cover employment gaps in ways that don’t look suspicious, especially as COVID forced 2.5 million women out of work. The most straightforward of these new options is ‘Stay-at-home mum’ while ‘parental leave’, ‘family care’, and ‘sabbatical’ also count.
- As Twitter continues to expand its footprint, it’s just opened a new office in Ghana in Africa. CEO Jack Dorsey has been investing in the continent for a while and there’s an underserved, increasingly connected audience of 1.2 billion there upon which Twitter’s poised to capitalise. Twitter’s considered one of the core enablers of the Arab Spring, which led to governments shutting down Internet access, but as we’re all aware — free speech is good and more of it is better.
- Reddit looks set to be the next audio social competitor to Clubhouse. It’s an interesting move, and one that brings the platform closer to its brother in Discord, but if you’ve ever used Reddit you’ll know that they’re among the last people online that you’d want to actually speak to.
- Speaking of Clubhouse, their Android app is nearing fruition just in time for all of their competitors to catch up. Clubhouse Android developer Mopewa recently tweeted these screengrabs that confirm the coming the release.