Great Britain

Covid news LIVE – Families reunite as travel rule changes as 17 more countries could be added to green list

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BRITS have welcomed a holiday boost as travel experts said 17 more countries could be added to the green lists this week.

Restrictions on visits to destinations including Germany and Canada may be eased thanks to their low Covid case rates.

The news will comes as a huge boost to hopeful holidaymakers and the millions of Brits who have family living abroad.

Travel consultancy firm the PC Agency analysed the data from nations around the world to see where is on course to be opened up.

The news comes as families have reunited today as rules changed meaning people fully vaccinated in the US and EU no longer have to quarantine.

Read our coronavirus live blog below for that latest news and updates...

  • BORIS JOHNSON SCRAPS PLANS FOR AN ‘AMBER WATCHLIST’ TO MAKE GOING ON HOLIDAY ‘AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE’

    His plea came just hours after bumbling junior minister suggested the travel traffic lights scheme could become a rainbow "spectrum" of warning levels instead.

    Officials had been pushing for a new layer to be added to the red, amber and green system to give holiday makers warning that their destination could soon go red - but critics said it would be too complicated.

    However today Mr Johnson publicly called for the system to be a simple and “user friendly” as possible, with insiders saying the original three tier traffic light system is preferable. 

    It also means that the ‘Amber plus” sub category will also likely go, with France returning to the usual amber category.

    Boris said: “I obviously understand that people care very much about the holidays.

    “People want to go abroad, I understand how much people plan, prepare for the summer holidays, but we've also got to remember that it's still a dangerous virus.

    “We must stop importing variants from abroad and we have to have a balanced approach and what I want to see is something that is as simple and as user friendly for people as possible.”

  • EXPLAINED: WHAT ARE THE CURRENT FURLOUGH RULES?

    Furlough rules have already changed in August – meaning government are covering less of the bill, and companies are stepping up their contributions.

    The scheme first launched last year at the start of the pandemic to save millions of people from losing their jobs as businesses were forced to close and the economy almost ground to a halt.

    Anyone furloughed was given 80% of their wages up to a maximum of £2,500 per month and all of this was covered by the government.

    From July 1 the rules changed and the government reduced how much it covered to 70% of wages up to a maximum of £2,187.50.

    Employers then had to make up the difference – 10% – so everyone on furlough still got 80% pay, up to £2,500.

  • COVID APP UPDATE

    THE NHS Covid app is at last being watered down so fewer people are “pinged” and sent into self isolation.

    Only those in contact with a Covid case two days prior will be told to stay at home compared to the current five days, the Government announced.

    It will hopefully save thousands of people from needlessly quarantining at home despite negative test results.

    The move aims to encourage people to keep using the app, after it caused chaos across the UK.

  • FOOD DELIVERY AND TAXI-HAILING FIRMS TO OFFER COVID JAB-LINKED INCENTIVES

    Food delivery and taxi-hailing companies are to offer discounted rides and meals for customers who get a Covid-19 jab to help boost vaccine uptake, the Government has announced.

    Uber, Bolt and Deliveroo are among the brands who will be offering incentives to encourage younger people to get vaccinated.

    The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said taxi app firm Uber will be sending reminders to all users in August encouraging them to get jabbed.

    The company will offer discounted Uber rides and meals on its Uber Eats platform for young adults who receive a vaccine.

    Uber has previously offered free trips to vaccination centres for NHS staff.

  • NHS COVID APP FINALLY TWEAKED

    Dr Jenny Harries, CEO of the UK Health Security Agency, said: “The NHS COVID-19 App is a really practical example of how technology can be used to fight the biggest challenges we face in protecting and improving our health. 

    “The app is the simplest, easiest, and fastest way to find out whether you have been exposed to the virus, and it has saved thousands of lives over the course of this pandemic. 

    “I strongly encourage everyone, even those fully vaccinated, to continue using the app. It is a lifesaving tool that helps us to stay safe and to protect those closest to us as we return to a more familiar way of life.”

  • MATT HANCOCK ‘GROVELLING’ TO MPS ON WHATSAPP AS HE FIGHTS FOR CAREER & PLANS NEW LIFE WITH LOVER AFTER AFFAIR SCANDAL

    The former Health Secretary, 42, has been lying low since he left his wife to pursue a relationship with his former aide, Gina Coladangelo.

    He quit his job in Government after The Sun published photographs of the pair together in his ministerial office.

    But has stayed on as an MP, and is now trying to test the water with old colleagues, The Telegraph reports.

    One MP said: "It was the first time he had popped up on the WhatsApp group since he resigned.

    "He was thanking people for their support after he quit, and everyone was very nice to him, saying well done on the vaccine programme."

    MPs also suggested he had debated attending the annual Spectator magazine summer party, but was advised it was still "too soon" after the affair.

  • 10,000 JABBED IN A DAY AS WALK-IN VACCINE CENTRES PROVE POPULAR

    More than 10,000 people got vaccinated at temporary walk-in centres across Ireland on Saturday.

    Dozens of centres have been operating across the country over the bank holiday weekend as the vaccination programme continues at a significant pace.

    Long queues have been observed at many across the weekend, with many young people among those waiting in line for a first jab.

    Two thirds of the 10,000 jabbed at the walk-in centres on Saturday were 19 or younger.

    Twenty of the centres will be open through Sunday and Monday.

  • UK COVID CASES DROP TO LOWEST IN FIVE WEEKS WITH 21,952 INFECTIONS AND 24 NEW DEATHS

    It's hoped the UK may now be past the peak of the third wave after new infections dropped by 12 per cent in a week.

    Deaths are also comparatively low, with 24 more fatalities recorded - 63 per cent fewer than yesterday, when 65 more families lost loved ones.

    Britain's successful jabs roll-out has been heralded for breaking the link between infections and severe illness - and this weekend, it was reported that 32million of us will be offered a booster jab this autumn.

    Those who were given the Pfizer vaccination will be offered a third dose if they're over 50 or their immune system is suppressed.

    And health chiefs are continuing with their push to get youngsters jabbed - as one expert said he fears they believe "infections don't matter".

  • RISHI SUNAK VOWS FURLOUGH WILL END IN SEPTEMBER & NO PLANS TO EXTEND IT

    Rishi Sunak vows furlough WILL end in September and no plans to extend it
  • NHS COVID APP FINALLY TWEAKED

    Only those in contact with a Covid case two days prior will be told to stay at home compared to the current five days, the Government announced.

    It will hopefully save thousands of people from needlessly quarantining at home despite negative test results.

    The move aims to encourage people to keep using the app, after it caused chaos across the UK.

    Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to self isolate due to the "pingdemic", potentially off work, with half a million notifications in one week.

    It led to people deleting the app in fear it would scupper their plans for weddings, holidays and other events.

  • CHINA FORCES MILLIONS BACK INTO COVID LOCKDOWN AS DELTA VARIANT HITS 20 CITIES

    The rapidly-spreading Delta variant has hit 20 cities in more than a dozen provinces - including Wuhan where the virus first emerged in late 2019.

    A total of 55 new locally transmitted infections were reported today, with seven positive tests in the former coronavirus epicentre.

    The Wuhan cluster came after the official daily tally was released, but it was confirmed by state media which said the infections had been traced to a train station.

    "The seven were identified as migrant workers," Xinhua reported, citing Covid-19 prevention and control officials.

    Major cities including Beijing have now tested millions of residents while cordoning off residential compounds and placing close contacts under quarantine.

  • BRITAIN TO OFFER VACCINE BOOSTER SHOTS FOR 32 MILLION PEOPLE NEXT MONTH – REPORT

    Britain will offer Covid-19 booster vaccines to 32 million Britons starting early next month with up to 2,000 pharmacies set to deliver the programme, The Telegraph reported on Sunday.

    The campaign could start as soon as Sept. 6, which would see the rollout completed by early December if it goes to plan, the report added.

  • WHAT ARE THE CORONAVIRUS MASK RESTRICTIONS OUTSIDE OF LONDON?

    There are differing rules for different types of transport in many areas of the UK.

    For example, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has ruled that masks are required on the city’s Metrolink tram service to protect passengers and staff.

    Meanwhile, Uber has also said its ‘No Mask, No Ride’ policy remains in place.

    And passengers travelling with British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair will need to wear face coverings, as well as those travelling to France by Eurostar train.

  • PM SAYS UK ECONOMY 'ABOUT THE MOST OPEN IN EUROPE' AS A RESULT OF VACCINE ROLLOUT

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK economy and society "is just about the most open in Europe" as a result of the vaccine rollout but caution was still needed around travel.

    He told reporters at Airbus in Stevenage: "On travel, we have had to balance it because of the anxiety that I think a lot of people have - I have - about importing new variants, bringing back the disease.

    "We also have to recognise that people want, badly, to go on their summer holidays, we need to get the travel industry moving again, we need to get our city centres open again and so we want an approach that is as simple as we can possibly make it."

  • EXPLAINED: WHAT ARE THE CURRENT FURLOUGH RULES?

    Furlough rules have already changed in August – meaning government are covering less of the bill, and companies are stepping up their contributions.

    The scheme first launched last year at the start of the pandemic to save millions of people from losing their jobs as businesses were forced to close and the economy almost ground to a halt.

    Anyone furloughed was given 80% of their wages up to a maximum of £2,500 per month and all of this was covered by the government.

    From July 1 the rules changed and the government reduced how much it covered to 70% of wages up to a maximum of £2,187.50.

    Employers then had to make up the difference – 10% – so everyone on furlough still got 80% pay, up to £2,500.

  • NURSE REUNITED WITH FAMILY ARRIVING FROM US AS QUARANTINE-FREE TRAVEL BEGINS

    A nurse who embraced her family at an airport after 20 months apart has hailed the "best present ever" after rule changes mean they will not have to quarantine for 10 days.

    Elaine Burt, 55, a senior nurse with the NHS, shared an emotional embrace with her sister Michelle Bolger, 50, and her nephews Kaie, 17, and Taran, 12, who were all double vaccinated in the US, as they arrived at Glasgow Airport on Monday morning from Boston via Amsterdam.

    Mrs Bolger told reporters: "It's been so long ... it's been really hard, but we're here, we made it", as she arrived in the country to visit her mother Jean, who has been unwell.

    She said: "We booked the flight just a week past Monday. It's been a rollercoaster trying to get here.

    "We still have to test on day two but it's great, absolutely amazing, I didn't think I would see this day. We've done everything by the book just to get here and we're just excited."

  • TRAVEL EXPERTS WARN IT WOULD BE A 'DISASTER' TO ADD FURTHER TRAVEL TRAFFIC LIGHT CATGEORY

    Travel expert Paul Charles has said it would be a "disaster" if the Government introduced a new travel traffic light category.

    The chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency told ITV's Good Morning Britain programme: "It would be a disaster to bring in an amber watchlist on top of the amber list, the green list, the red list."

    As well as the green, amber and red categories, there is also "amber plus" - currently only containing France, which means passengers returning from the country's popular holiday destinations are still required to self-isolate.

    Tim Alderslade, chief executive of trade body Airlines UK, told Times Radio the decision on France meant "people now think with amber, there's a good chance that whether there's a watchlist or not, that they will be stranded, and that is a real dampener in terms of bookings".

    "We've now only got six to eight weeks until the end of the summer, and tens of thousands of jobs are under threat in the travel and aviation sector."

  • JOHNSON PRESSED TO FURTHER EASE TRAVEL RULES TO SAVE BELEAGUERED INDUSTRY

    Tens of thousands of jobs in the aviation sector are at risk unless the Government further relaxes rules on international travel, ministers have been warned.

    New rules allowing fully vaccinated passengers from the US and amber-list European countries to avoid self-isolation on arrival in the UK came into force at 4am on Monday morning.

    But despite the relaxation of quarantine requirements, uncertainty continues around international travel, with Boris Johnson being warned not to create a new category in the traffic light system.

    The rumoured amber watchlist would apply to countries at risk of being moved into the red category - which requires hotel quarantine for 10 days at a cost of £1,750 for an adult.

    Reports have suggested there is a fallout among Cabinet ministers over proposals to introduce an amber watchlist, designed to warn travellers of the possibility that countries with concerning coronavirus data - which could potentially include Italy and Spain - could be put onto the red list at short notice.

  • WATCH: DANNIELLA WESTBROOK SAYS SHE'S BATTLED SEVERE DEPRESSION SINCE CONTRACTING COVID

    Danniella Westbrook says she's battled severe depression since contracting Covid
  • FOOD DELIVERY AND TAXI-HAILING FIRMS TO OFFER COVID JAB-LINKED INCENTIVES (CONTINUED...)

    Bolt, another ride-hailing app, will offer "free ride credit" to vaccination centres following a similar scheme earlier this year when it offered £250,000 worth of free rides to London vaccination facilities.

    Deliveroo will give vouchers to young people who get jabbed and a spokesperson said: "At Deliveroo we want to do our small part to support the NHS during the pandemic, including delivering a million free meals to frontline NHS staff and vaccine centres. This is the next step in helping people get vaccinated and safely back to normal."

    The DHSC said further details on partnerships will be released "in due course" and other incentives "could include vouchers or discount codes for people attending pop-up vaccine sites and booking through the NHS, social media competitions and promotional offers for restaurants".

    The department added: "Companies will not ask for or hold any health data for the incentive scheme."


  • FOOD DELIVERY AND TAXI-HAILING FIRMS TO OFFER COVID JAB-LINKED INCENTIVES

    Food delivery and taxi-hailing companies are to offer discounted rides and meals for customers who get a Covid-19 jab to help boost vaccine uptake, the Government has announced.

    Uber, Bolt and Deliveroo are among the brands who will be offering incentives to encourage younger people to get vaccinated.

    The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said taxi app firm Uber will be sending reminders to all users in August encouraging them to get jabbed.

    The company will offer discounted Uber rides and meals on its Uber Eats platform for young adults who receive a vaccine.

    Uber has previously offered free trips to vaccination centres for NHS staff.

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