‘Don’t book foreign summer holidays yet’, says Liz Truss
Most of Europe and the US should move onto the UK’s “green list” next month, according to ministers.
The government is expected to announce a green list of destinations – from where arrivals into England will not have to quarantine as of 17 May – shortly, and then review this list every three weeks.
While the public await the official list, the UK has amended its travel advice to show a list of low-risk nations ahead of the expected return to non-essential travel in mid-May.
Meanwhile, epidemiologist Professor Neil Ferguson has said he feels “fairly optimistic” there will be a return to “something which feels a lot more normal by the summer”.
The expert from Imperial College London, who advises the government, also said the UK data on deaths and cases was “very encouraging” and it was unlikely the NHS would be overwhelmed after an expected rise in Covid cases in late summer.
But Professor Stephen Reicher, another expert, has warned the public to take Boris Johnson’s comments suggesting social distancing could be scrapped in summer with a “pinch of salt”.
No evidence Covid-19 vaccines affected by drinking alcohol, says health regulator
There is no evidence that Covid-19 vaccines are affected by drinking alcohol after having had the jab, a UK regulator has said.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) was responding to reports on social media that people ought to avoid drinking for up to two weeks following a vaccine.
In January, advisers to Drinkaware, an alcohol education charity which is funded by the alcohol industry, said there was some evidence drinking, particularly heavy drinking, may interfere with the body’s ability to build an immune response to some vaccines.
There is no information on this in patient information leaflets from the NHS or the vaccine manufacturers however that would suggest a link of this kind.
A spokeswoman for the MHRA said: “There is currently no evidence that drinking alcohol interferes with the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccines.
“We would advise anyone concerned about this to talk to their healthcare professional,” PA reported.
Eleanor Sly4 May 2021 12:08
Eight Asiatic lions at Indian zoo test positive for Covid
Eight Asiatic lions have tested positive for Covid-19 at a zoo in Hyderabad, India, in the first such case reported in the country.
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, India’s largest organisation for research and development, tweeted that one of its life science institutions in Hyderabad, The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), would carry out “detailed investigation of the samples for genome sequencing to find out if the strain came from human beings or not.”
Veterinarians at the Nehru Zoological Park reportedly noticed the lions showing Covid-like symptoms in the last week of April.
Vishwam Sankaran has more:
Eleanor Sly4 May 2021 11:58
Most of Europe should be on ‘green list’ next month, ministers say
Most of Europe and the US should move onto the UK’s “green list” next month, according to government ministers.
This “big bang” reopening for travel is due in large part to the UK’s successful rollout of the vaccination programme, which has seen one in four Britons receive both doses of the vaccine at the time of writing.
After the initial green list of countries – from where arrivals into England will not have to quarantine as of 17 May – is announced, the list will be reviewed every three weeks.
Zoe Tidman4 May 2021 11:39
Key questions and answers on EU travel plans
Amid lots of talk about travel and the UK’s “green list” of destinations, the EU is proposing that travel restrictions are eased on their end.
But the new proposals can be implemented, modified or ignored by member countries.
Simon Calder takes a look at the key questions and answers:
Zoe Tidman4 May 2021 11:25
85% following self-isolation rules after positive test – ONS
Around 85 per cent who test positive for Covid-19 are continuing to follow the rules for self-isolating, a new survey has suggested.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) findings – based on responses collected from adults in England between 12-16 April – found 15 per cent of people reported at least one activity during self-isolation that broke the rules, such as leaving home or having visitors for a reason not permitted under legislation.
Additional reporting by Press Association
Zoe Tidman4 May 2021 11:10
What restrictions will ease by end of May?
A government adviser has predicted this summer will feel “a lot more normal” – if not “completely normal”.
On that note, here is a reminder of restrictions that will remain in place by the end of this month, and those that will have been lifted if all goes to plan:
Zoe Tidman4 May 2021 10:54
‘Sensible and cautious precautions’
Professor Stephen Reicher said people will need to be careful in future, but not in a way that limits daily life.
The government scientific adviser said: “Even after restrictions go, it makes sense to have sensible and cautious precautions; not in a way that limit our everyday lives, not in a way that stops us seeing people or hugging people, but just realising, for instance, that on the whole, we are safer outside, don’t sit too close to people, open the windows.”
He added: “So we need to be sensible about this, we need to be cautious about this, and in that way I think we’re much more likely to get to a space where our lives are much more back to normal, much more tolerable, where we can meet and hug our loved ones, but don’t just hug anybody.”
Zoe Tidman4 May 2021 10:21
‘The rules will be pretty much the same all over Europe’
Here is Portugal’s tourism minister explaining the EU’s plans to restart tourism.
“The rules will be pretty much the same all over Europe,” she said.
Zoe Tidman4 May 2021 10:13
In more travel news, a British tour operator has persuaded Iceland’s prime minister to permit UK holidaymakers to be admitted on production of an NHS vaccination card.
Simon Calder, our travel correspondent, reports:
Zoe Tidman4 May 2021 10:11
‘The British market is really important to all Europe’
Portugal’s secretary of state for tourism, Rita Marques, said the country is “taking the lead” at the European Council in negotiations aimed at opening up the European Union to UK holidaymakers.
She told BBC Breakfast: “We are really pushing hard to open up to third countries like the UK.
“I’m not going to tell you how important is the British market to Portugal. I just want to tell you that the British market is really important to all Europe, and in that sense we are ready to welcome you when you are ready to come.”
Zoe Tidman4 May 2021 10:00