Weekly UK Media, Travel, Consumer & Social Update — 30 Sept, 2021

Weekly UK Media, Travel, Consumer & Social Update — 30 Sept, 2021
30th September 2021 James Brooke

Weekly UK Media, Travel, Consumer & Social Update — 30 Sept, 2021

Accurate as of: 30 September 2021 

Current UK status

Visit https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/ for all official information.

  • As of 4pm on 29 September 2021, a total of 297,395,190 coronavirus (COVID-19) tests have been conducted in the UK. 7,312,683 people have tested positive.
  • 48,797,579 people have had their first dose of the vaccination, while 44,833,280 have been fully vaccinated.
  • 159,716 patients in the UK who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.

UK travel restrictions:

Visit the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office website for all official information.

  • The UK government has amended its travelling abroad policy, so that travellers no longer need a ‘valid reason’ to travel abroad, opening international trips up to holidaymakers once again.
  • In order to enter the UK from a green list country (or an amber list country for fully vaccinated Brits), 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 test must be completed at the travellers’ expense before day two of their return.
  • In order to enter the UK from an amber list country, 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. For unvaccinated travellers, a further two tests must be completed at the travellers’ expense on days two and eight, and they must self-isolate for 10 days. Fully vaccinated travellers do not have to self-isolate, and simply need to take a day two test upon return.
  • 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:

  • The Foreign Office has lifted its advisory warnings against all but essential travel to Egypt, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. The government body said on 28 September that it no longer advises against all but essential travel to the destinations “based on the current assessment of Covid-19 risks”. (Travel Weekly)
  • South Africa could finally be on the verge of moving to the “low risk” travel category after seven months in the red. UK and South African government scientific experts met on 27 September to discuss the latest data and trends around Covid. “The insights provided will feed into the next review of UK border measures which is due to take place within the next fortnight,” the South African Department of Health said in a statement about the meeting on Monday evening. (The Telegraph)
  • Following a week of unprecedented demand at petrol stations across the UK caused by supply chain issues, the UK government has started deploying its reserve tanker fleet, driven by civilians, to boost fuel deliveries. It comes as the fuel industry said the situation at the pumps “has begun to improve” and that it is working with the government to maintain regular deliveries. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said soldiers would be delivering fuel later this week, after days of queues. (BBC)
  • Agents keen to capitalise on surging late demand are reporting significant price hikes and tight availability for October half-term. Demand for autumn holidays has risen sharply since changes to the UK’s traffic light system and testing requirements were announced earlier this month, with some reporting sales almost back to 2019 levels. (Travel Weekly)
  • Emirates will restart flights to Gatwick in December to capitalise on an “upsurge in passenger demand for winter sun”. The Gulf carrier will operate a daily Dubai-Gatwick service starting 10 December using a Boeing B777 aircraft featuring first, business and economy cabins. (TTG)
  • In May, Airbnb added options to create flexibility for guests, giving them the ability to search without fixed dates, destinations, or property parameters. Now, the company’s testing a new API-powered display that gives channel managers and distribution platforms the ability to load multiple rates plans for Airbnb properties – creating flexibility for both travellers and hosts, as well as potentially making the platform more attractive to traditional hotels – and more directly in competition with online travel agencies such as Booking.com. (PhocusWire)
  • Eurostar is adding a second London-Amsterdam service on 25 October. This second service will operate daily except Sunday. (Business Traveller)
  • Amsterdam Schiphol airport has launched a new project using foraging pigs to deter birds from flying into its grounds. A total of 20 pigs are being allowed to forage on a two-hectare plot of land between runways 18R-36L and 18C-36C, where sugar beets were recently harvested. (Business Traveller)

Social media:

  • Just days after TikTok announced that it had reached a billion active users, Facebook has today launched Reels on Facebook for all users in the US, bringing its short-form video competitor to many more people. (Social Media Today)
  • Instagram has launched a new test that will enable people to select specific profiles that will enable people to select specific profiles that will be able to view their Stories, as part of an additional element in the Stories creation flow of every post. (Social Media Today)
  • TikTok is expanding its investment in e-commerce. Earlier this year, the video platform began piloting TikTok Shopping in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, in partnership with Shopify. Now, TikTok is announcing a slate on new brand partners for TikTok Shopping, including Square, Ecwid and PrestaShop, with Wix, SHOPLINE, OpenCart and BASE coming soon. (Tech Crunch)
  • Instagram launches new click to Whatsapp message ads to facilitate cross-app connection. It previewed the coming option earlier this month, and today, Instagram has announced that all businesses can now connect their Whatsapp business account to Instagram, to facilitate new connection opportunities in the app. (Social Media Today)

Need help navigating the UK’s changing reopening? Get in touch.