Covid-19 Recovery Brief: Thursday, April 30
Each week, our Public Policy team will be reporting on the latest weekly news in the evolving situation.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has confirmed that the NHS app is to be used as Covid passport for international travel
- Shapps also confirmed an NHS app will be used to allow Britons to demonstrate whether they have had a COVID jab, or tested negative for the virus, before travelling abroad.
- The Government later clarified that the app would not be the NHS COVID app – currently used to “check in” to venues such as pubs and restaurants for contact-tracing purposes – but would instead be the NHS app used to book general appointments.
- Available since 2019 the NHS app can already be used to request repeat prescriptions, message your doctor and organise online consultations. It is already able to display vaccine statuses, including Covid-19 jabs – but this must be enabled by GPs, and while some seem to do this by default, other surgeries ask patients to request it.
- Shapps stated that he was working with partners across the world to ensure that the system can be internationally recognised.
- He added that he would also give details on which countries have made it onto the travel “green list” in the coming weeks.
- Wales is set to speed up the lifting of Covid restrictions. On 3 May indoor supervised activities for children can resume as can indoor organised activities for up to 15 adults, such as exercise classes. These easements were initially due on 17 May.
- A huge tent has been put up in Liverpool ahead of a near-normal gig as part of a government pilot event. A crowd of 5,000 will see headline act Blossoms without having to social-distance or wear face coverings but they must have a negative Covid test. Attendees will also be asked to take a test after the concert – and will have to provide contact details to NHS Test and Trace to ensure they can be reached if someone who attended tests positive.
- Heathrow Airport have reported a loss of £329m in the first three months of the year, bringing total losses since the start of the pandemic to £2.4bn. Just 1.7 million passengers travelled through the airport during the first quarter, down 91% on the period in 2019.
- The UK had ordered another 60 million Pfizer doses aimed at providing booster shots to the vulnerable in the autumn.
- Uber is planning to sign up another 20,000 drivers in the UK by the end of the year after a surge in usage since lockdown rules were eased last month. The ride-hailing app has seen a 50% increase in trips since rule changes on 12 April allowing bars and restaurants to serve customers outdoors as well as non-essential shops to open