BRITS will get Covid passports after getting both vaccine doses from May 17 so they can travel abroad.
Eager holidaymakers started to book their first trips abroad as soon as the Government revealed its green list yesterday.
This, however, has led to a rise in prices in particular for holidays to Portugal and Malta.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced 12 countries would be added to the green list in the “first tentative steps” to opening up travel for Brits this summer.
Portugal, Israel, Gibraltar and Malta are among the countries Brits can travel to without having to quarantine on their return.
At the moment, popular destinations such as France, Spain and Greece are excluded from the green list, the Transport Secretary said yesterday.
David Child, head of PR and brand at Thomas Cook, said bookings for Portugal were “through the roof” immediately after the announcement as people had been “poised, ready and waiting to go”.
“We took in the first hour from 5pm to 6pm as many Portugal bookings as we took in the whole month of April.”
However, holidaymakers have been warned of long queues at airports due to Covid-safety checks.
People arriving at UK airports could face queues of up to 10 hours this summer, according to the Border Force union.
Read our coronavirus live blog below for the latest updates…
HOLLY WILLOUGHBY GETS COVID JAB
Holly Willoughby has revealed that she’s received her first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
The 40-year-old star shared a photo of herself getting the jab to her Instagram page, admitting that she felt “lucky” to live in the UK due to our hugely successful vaccine roll-out.
BOOZE DEATHS SURGE DURING LOCKDOWN
A record number of Brits drank themselves to death during Covid – as experts warned of the cost of lockdowns.
Deaths linked to boozing jumped by nearly a fifth in England and Wales last year to 7,423, data showed.
It is the highest annual total since records began, the Office for National Statistics said.
And the increase in alcohol-related deaths worsened throughout the year as strict restrictions were imposed.
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NEW HOTSPOT FOR INDIAN VARIANT
A new coronavirus hotspot has emerged in the North West of England as both the Indian and South African variants have been detected.
Hyndburn in Lancashire continues to have the highest rate, with 98 new cases in the seven days to May 2 – the equivalent of 120.9 cases per 100,000 people.
This is up from 71.6 in the seven days to April 25.
Bolton has the second highest rate, up from 48.0 to 85.2, with 245 new cases.
In Bolton health officials have now urged the government to deploy surge testing to certain areas where a significant increase in cases has been witnessed.
UNDER-40S TO BE OFFERED ALTERNATIVE TO ASTRAZENECA VACCINE
People under 40 will be offered an alternative to the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab due to blood clot fears.
Officials said the move was “precautionary” and that the risk of a blood clot is still “extremely small”.
t is already recommended that people younger than 30 are offered the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines instead.
There have been 242 cases of blood clots reported from 28.5 million first doses and second doses of the AstraZeneca jab, according to a Government update on Thursday.
It means the overall chance is just 10 in a million.
COVID R RATE FALLS
The official coronavirus R rate has fallen in England.
Government advisers on Sage say the value now sits between 0.8 and 1.
But it could be as high as 1.1 in parts of England.
SEEING LOVED ONES ‘NOT A LUXURY’
Couples separated by border closures said they feel “completely forgotten” by the UK Government’s green list for travel.
Alyssa Pallotti, from Texas, has been separated from her partner, Jacob Greenwood, who lives in Bracknell, Berkshire.
She said: “I’ve heard the UK Government talking about holidays, holidays, holidays when it comes to this green list, and we feel very forgotten.
“We are actually classed as leisure travel – like seeing your partner is not considered essential. In the US or UK, it is considered a luxury.”
‘NUMBER ONE SELLER’
Thomas Cook said holidays to Portugal have been its “number one seller” since the announcement of the green list yesterday.
A spokesman said: “Yesterday more people bought holidays to Portugal than had bought the whole of the rest of the year but demand remains below ‘normal’ levels and so hotels will have plenty of availability giving people plenty of choice.
“Customers are choosing to stay for longer than a week, and half of yesterday’s Portugal bookings were in five-star hotels, showing that people are splashing out.”
TRAVEL FIRMS HAIL ‘BEST DAY’ OF HOLIDAY SALES
Travel firms have hailed the “best day” for holiday sales in months following the Government’s green list announcement.
On Friday, the Department for Transport revealed that travellers will be able to visit 12 destinations – including Portugal – from May 17 without having to self-isolate on return to England.
Tui, the UK’s largest holiday company, spoke of seeing a rise in customer demand in the wake of the announcement, particularly for trips to Portugal.
A spokeswoman said: “We’ve had the best day of sales for summer 2021 holidays since the initial road map announcement in February.
“Sixty per cent of all holidays sold yesterday were to Portugal.”
TWO THIRDS OF UK ADULTS ARE JABBED
Two thirds of adults have had at least one Covid jab, the government said yesterday – as cases fell to their lowest level since last summer.
Last night, the NHS had administered 51.8million jabs, including 16.7million second doses.
The government met its target of vaccinating the most vulnerable by April 15, and remains on track to offer a first dose to all adults by the end of July.
BORDER FORCE WARNS OF HUGE AIRPORT QUEUES
Brits desperate for a summer holiday can finally begin planning – but there’ll be huge queues at airports, the chief of Border Force has warned.
During a press conference from Downing Street tonight, Border Force director general Paul Lincoln said: “Unfortunately we are not back to normality yet.
“Travel will be different and, as the Transport Secretary says, we still need to be cautious.
“There will continue to be additional health checks for every person crossing our border, and inevitably that means it will take longer for most people to enter the UK.
“These measures have been put in place to protect the hard-fought gains and sacrifices that have been made by individuals and society in the UK, minimising the risk of importing variants while protecting the success of our vaccine rollout.”
FLIGHT PRICES SOAR
London to Faro, on Portugal’s Algarve, is a budget trip favourite and costs just £15-20 direct single every day in the first non-holiday week after half-term, from June 12.
But the route has rocketed to £530 single with BA on May 17, with easyJet offering the cheapest £238 flight that day, kayak.co.uk data showed.
Flights from May 18 for the rest of the week cost £63-144 – still treble the usual.
EXHAUSTED’ DOCTORS FELT PRESSURED TO WORK EXTRA SHIFTS
Thousands of NHS workers are experiencing “unacceptable levels of exhaustion”, a health chief has warned, after a survey found some doctors worked extra unpaid shifts during the pandemic.
The British Medical Association said more than half of doctors (58%) surveyed in the UK had worked extra shifts as part of the Covid-19 response, of which 28% were unpaid.
The BMA’s Covid-19 tracker survey in April also revealed 44% of doctors felt pressured by their employer to work additional hours.
Of the 5,500 doctors who responded to the survey, more than a third (36%) said they had either skipped taking full breaks or taken them on rare occasions, with nearly 60% reporting a higher than normal level of fatigue or exhaustion.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chairman, said: “To learn that an already depleted and now exhausted workforce feels forced into doing more and more hours, with many reporting higher levels of fatigue than ever, is extremely worrying.”
TOP EUROPEAN HOLIDAY DESTINATIONS SHOULD BE ADDED TO GREEN LIST – TRAVEL BOSSES
Top holiday spots such as the Greek islands and the Canaries should be added to the quarantine-free green list, it has been suggested, amid criticism the Government has been too cautious in its approach to international travel.
EasyJet Holidays CEO Garry Wilson told BBC Breakfast: “The good news is travel is reopening and our customers can look forward to those well-earned breaks in the summer that they’ve been waiting many months for.
“I think the very disappointing news is just the number of countries that are on the list, and if you look at European countries there’s very few, and of those European countries the major holiday destination is Portugal.
“So we did think it was very cautious and it is really not aligning with the approach the Government has taken to open up domestic travel and we don’t think it is backed up by the science or the data.”
BOOTS OFFERS £65 COVID TEST FOR HOLIDAYMAKERS
Boots have launched £65 PCR Covid tests as Brit holidaymakers prepare for summer breaks abroad.
Boots Advantage Card holders can purchase it using their points or earn points to spend on other items at Boots.
They also offers an In-Store COVID-19 PCR Testing Service (£99), which is now available at over 200 stores in the UK and offers results within 48 hours.
Its In-store COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Testing Service (£79.99) provides results on the same day and is offered at over 15 stores.
GREEN LIGHT FOR HOLIDAYS
BRITS WILL GET COVID PASSPORTS AFTER TWO JABS
Brit holidaymakers will get Covid passports after getting both vaccine doses from May 17 so they can travel abroad.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced people who have received both jabs will be able to use the NHS app to show their status.
People who do not have the app will be able to request an NHS letter.
KIDS EARNING MORE ONLINE DURING LOCKDOWN
Pocket money app RoosterMoney found that kids are now earning more than they did before the coronavirus lockdown.
According to a study, kids are now earning £7.20 a week, up from £5.15 last year.
The increase has come from kids embracing their entrepreneurial spirit by doing extra jobs around the house, and selling things online, like old toys and clothes.
Will Carmichael, RoosterMoney CEO, said: “The Pocket Money Index has been running for over four years now reflecting the behaviours of children’s relationship with money.
“Building good habits and managing money with confidence has never been more important. It’s great to see that, despite the challenges for families stuck at home, it has encouraged opportunities for kids to develop money skills that will stick with them for life.”
EGYPT TO TEST VISITORS ON ARRIVAL
Egypt will require all visitors arriving from “countries where variants of the virus have appeared” to take a rapid Covid-19 test upon arrival, its health ministry said in a statement today.
The statement did not specify the countries from which passengers would take the 15-minute DNA test, called ID NOW.
Egypt’s new coronavirus cases have been steadily rising in recent weeks.
On Saturday it reported 1,125 new cases and 65 deaths, although experts say that reflects only a fraction of total cases.
HALF OF BRITS WORKING FROM HOME
Last summer, ONS figures said that nearly half of working adults in the UK were working remotely – compared to five per cent before the pandemic.
As it stands, the Government’s message is still “work from home if you can,” in a bid to keep Covid levels at bay.
WORK IT OUT
SAGE scientists have warned Boris Johnson not to tell workers to go back to the office this summer over fears of a third wave of Covid.
The Prime Minister urged office staff to return to their desks last summer as coronavirus cases fell – but Sage members have cautioned against any similar calls this year.
A senior Government adviser told The Times that any mass return to offices this summer would be a bad idea – until the impact of the lockdown easing is better understood.
And Ian Boyd, a member of Sage and a professor at the University of St Andrews, added: “Based on the information I have seen we should not become blasé about the capacity of the virus to jump back at us.
“Retaining sensible measures to reduce the rate of non-essential contact between people is proportionate in the circumstances.”
SPAIN AND GREECE COULD BE ADDED TO GREEN LIST ‘IN THREE WEEKS’
Spain and Greece could be added to the travel ‘green list’ within three weeks of May 17 – as ministers vowed to keep it under review.
The Transport Secretary said the green list would be updated regularly so they could green light more destinations as early as next month – as he finally revealed where people can go on holiday within days.
The next review is set to take place in three weeks after travel starts again on May 17 – so June 7.
Another review will be expected by June 28 too.
More on the story here
BENIDORM MAYOR SLAMS UK’S GREEN LIST
The mayor of Benidorm has slammed UK’s new green list of quarantine-free travel destinations as “incomprehensible” after Spain was left off.
Toni Perez’s outburst comes after the holiday hotspot remains on the amber list of countries which require returning visitors to self-isolate for 10 days.
The mayor is now demanding a personal meeting with Britain’s Ambassador to Spain to explain the “reality” of the popular British holiday destination.
More on the story here
MORE THAN A MILLION CHILDREN OFFERED MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT AT SCHOOL
More than a million children will be given access to mental health support in school as the NHS expands its services to help young people cope with the significant disruption caused by the pandemic.
Teams of experts are offering support to children experiencing anxiety and depression in a bid to prevent problems escalating into serious mental health issues that continue into adulthood.
NHS England says approximately 400 mental health support teams will be up and running across 3,000 schools in England and they will offer support to almost three million pupils by 2023.
The £79 million Government funding for children’s mental health services confirmed in March is being used to accelerate the rollout of mental health support teams in schools.
JET2 TO RESTART HOLIDAYS FROM JUNE 24
Travel firm Jet2 said it was committed to restarting holidays from June 24.
Welcoming the planned partial reopening of international travel, CEO Steve Heapy said: “Despite ‘wanting to start looking outward again’ there is still a long way to go to meet the huge customer demand for our flights and ATOL protected package holidays, so we look forward to further positive news about where we can fly to in the coming weeks.
“We also look forward to important updates from the UK Government about a simple and affordable testing regime for customers.”