Covid-19 Recovery Brief: Thursday, April 15
Each week, our Public Policy team will be reporting on the latest weekly news in the evolving situation.
The Global Travel Taskforce has set out a framework to safely reopen international travel
- There will be a traffic light system which will categorise countries based on risk alongside the restrictions for travel.
- Green: arrivals will need to take a pre-departure test as well as a PCR test on or before day 2 of their arrival back into the UK, but will not need to quarantine on return or take any additional tests.
- Amber: arrivals will need to quarantine for a period of 10 days and take a pre-departure test, and a PCR test on day 2 and 8, with the option for Test to Release on day 5 to end self-isolation early.
- Red: arrivals will be subject to a 10-day stay in a managed quarantine hotel, pre-departure testing and PCR testing on day 2 and 8.
- The Government will set out in early May which countries will fall into which category.
- The assessment by which countries will be attributed a green, amber or red status will be based on a range of factors including proportion of population vaccinated, infection rates and the emergence of new variants.
- Foreign travel restrictions are expected to be lifted from 17 May and as a result, many popular destinations have announced plans to reopen their borders this summer.
- Israel, Malta, Cyprus and Greece have confirmed that they will allow British nationals to travel to their countries in the coming months with specific testing and quarantine requirements.
The Northern Ireland Executive are expected to announce the proposed dates for easing lockdown
- Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK which hasn’t had expected dates yet for the lifting of restrictions.
- Some restrictions in Northern Ireland was eased this week. 10 people from 2 households are now allowed to meet outdoors in a private garden. Contactless ‘click and collect’ is now permitted for all retail whilst outdoor retail is permitted to open.
- The proposed reopening dates include:
- 23 April: Hairdressers, beauty salons, outdoor attractions
- 30 April: All retail, self-contained tourist accommodation
- 10 May: Outdoor dining, drinking, swimming pools and gyms
- 14 May: Wedding guest receptions for 30 people allowed
- 1 June: Indoor drinking and dining and full tourist accommodation
- The Scottish Government has accelerated easing of restrictions. From 16 April travel within Scotland for outdoor socialising, recreation and exercise will be allowed and six people from six households will also be able to meet with under-12s not counting towards this limit although socialising in private homes will still not be permitted.
- The Welsh Government has announced that they will accelerate the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions. People will be able to form an extended household, visit the gym or take part in organised outdoor activities a week earlier than expected (from 3 May instead of 10 May). Additionally the planned opening date for organised outdoor activities and outdoor wedding receptions will be moved from 3 May to 26 April.
- The European Medicines Agency (EMA) says it is expediting a safety review of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine and hopes to issue its recommendations next week. A number of countries have temporarily stopped using the jab, including the US and South Africa, after some extremely rare side effects of blood clotting. J&J has paused future deliveries to the EU.
- Anyone who cannot work from home in Wales will be able to get free rapid Covid home testing kits from 16 April.
- The Home Office has announced that thousands of crucial frontline health workers and their dependents will be granted free visa extensions.
- The Government has announced easing of Covid-19 restrictions for charity fundraising. Public fundraising can now resume. Door-to-door, street and private site fundraising can also resume in line with government guidance.
- A total of 4.7 million people were waiting for routine operations and procedures in England at the end of February 2021, the highest number since modern records began in August 2007.