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…
IRELAND REMOVES ITALY & AUSTRIA FROM HOTEL QUARANTINE LIST
Ireland removed Italy and Austria from its list of countries where arrivals are subject to mandatory hotel quarantine but kept the measures in place for three other European Union member states despite misgivings from the EU executive.
Ireland has some of the toughest travel restrictions in the Europe and is the only one the EU’s 27 countries that forces arrivals from certain countries to pay almost 2,000 euros each to quarantine for up to 14 days in a secure hotel.
The European Commission last month urged Dublin to pursue less restrictive measures and sought clarifications as to why some fellow member states were subject to the rules and others were not. Belgium, France and Luxembourg remain on the list.
Arrivals from Armenia, Aruba, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jordan, Kosovo, Lebanon, North Macedonia and Ukraine will also no longer have to quarantine in a hotel, Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said in a statement.
The Irish government has said it hopes to ease the restrictions once the EU rolls out digital health passes that will permit vaccinated citizens to travel.
ITALY PLANS TO LIFT RESTRICTIONS FOR SOME TRAVELLERS FROM MID-MAY
Italy plans to lift quarantine restrictions for travellers arriving from European countries, Britain and Israel as early as mid-May in a bid to revive the tourism industry, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Saturday.
Quarantine requirement may be scrapped for those arriving from the United States from June, Di Maio said, after meeting Health Minister Roberto Speranza to discuss the easing of restrictions for countries where vaccination levels are high.
“We are working to lift the ‘mini-quarantine’ for people coming from European countries, the UK and Israel, if they have a negative swab, proof of vaccination or have recovered from COVID within the last 6 months. Same thing for the U.S.”, he wrote in a post on Facebook.
WHAT THE FLU
Covid could be wiped out in the UK by winter as flu is a worse threat, a top scientist has claimed.
Professor Hugh Pennington said the success of the coronavirus vaccine rollout has hugely dampened the rampaging virus.
He said seasonal flu is going to be more of a problem in future if the UK is protected against Covid.
But he added there will always remain the “threat” of a variant being imported into the country.
The emeritus professor of bacteriology at Aberdeen University said the UK’s high vaccination rate was “a success story” and had “undoubtedly reduced hospital admissions and deaths”.
A gran was left with shocking bruising days after she received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Maureen DeBoick’s family, from Western Australia, now fear the Covid jab may be the cause of her medical issues.
The 80 year old was flown to Fiona Stanley Hospital in Perth a fortnight ago after the troubling symptoms developed.
At first, a large spot appeared on her tongue which suddenly grew overnight say her family, reports news.com.
“It progressed very quickly to the inside of her gums bleeding and everywhere she touched on her body came out in a huge dark bruise straight away. If she rubbed it, it bled,” daughter Trudy Love said.
More on the story here
ROADMAP OUT OF LOCKDOWN COULD BE DELAYED
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown should be delayed due to concerns surrounding a surge in cases of the Indian variant, one expert has warned.
Dr Duncan Robinson policy and strategy analytics academic at Loughborough University said many people are still not vaccinated and plans are still in place for society to open up.
Posting to Twitter he said: “A *political* decision will be made. Risk of Roadmap Step 3 is clear.
“It would be prudent to delay the reopening to see how outbreaks spread or do not spread in the weeks ahead.
“Otherwise deprived, ethnic, urban communities may suffer disproportionately.”
HOW TO SEARCH FOR CHEAP FLIGHTS
When looking for cheap flights, you should always check prices at comparison sites as well as directly with airlines.
They’ll include costs from travel agents too, such as Expedia and Ebookers.
You should also search across multiple price comparison sites as they may have agreed different deals with the airlines and some may offer you better value than others.
Kayak, Skyscanner, Google Flights and Momondo are comparison sites that specialise in travel.
CHEAP FLIGHTS TO PORTUGAL RETURN
Here are a selection of the best return deals we found on Skyscanner:
- London Stansted to Lisbon, departing May 17 and returning May 21, Ryanair – from £74
- London Stansted to Faro, departing May 17 and returning May 23, Ryanair – from £91
- Birmingham to Faro, departing May 20 and returning May 23, Ryanair – from £110
- Manchester to Lisbon, departing May 17 returning May 21, Ryanair – from £114
- Manchester to Faro, departing May 20 and returning May 25, Ryanair – from £130
- London to Porto, departing May 17 and returning May 20, Ryanair – from £168
- Bristol to Lisbon, departing May 30 and returning June 4, Easyjet – from £241
‘NO ONE IS SAFE’ FROM COVID VARIANTS
Covid mutant variants spawning from out of control outbreaks like in India and Brazil mean “no one is safe” unless vaccine rollouts are widened, experts have warned.
The People’s Vaccine Alliance (PVA) – a global coalition of 50 organisations – told The Sun Online about the critical danger the new strains pose if more support isn’t given to help vaccinate people worldwide.
With a connected world, any new outbreaks or variants could spread to countries which have already vaccinated – and the new mutations may be able to dodge the antibodies given by the jabs.
“This failure puts us all at risk,” Anna Marriott, health policy manager at Oxfam, told The Sun Online.
Click here to read more
COVID NAILS ARE LATEST SYMPTOM TO WATCH OUT FOR
“Covid nails” could be a sign that you have suffered the disease, a top expert has warned.
People who have a “clear line” growing out of their nail have been told it may be because they have previously been infected.
Prof Tim Spector, who leads the Zoe Symptom Study app, wrote on Twitter: “Do your nails look odd?
“COVID nails are increasingly being recognised as the nails recover after infection and the growth recovers leaving a clear line. Can occur without skin rashes and appears harmless.”
BALD MEN MORE AT RISK OF COVID
Bald men are up to twice as likely to suffer severe Covid, experts have warned.
New research suggests they spend up to twice as long in hospital with Covid than those who still have a full head of hair.
They are also admitted to intensive care in higher numbers.
You can read more here
A mother-of-four died from a brain blood clot just 11 days after receiving the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine, her family says.
Anne VanGeest, 35, of Eastern Township, Michigan, was given the one-shot vaccine on April 8 – five days before the CDC and FDA temporarily paused use of the jab over blood clot concerns.
She died on April 19 at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s in Grand Rapids, with her official cause of death listed as “acute subarachnoid hemorrhage non-traumatic”, WOOD-TV reported.
The condition occurs when a blood clot in a vessel bursts, causing bleeding in the space between the brain and in the surrounding membrane.
Click here to read more
THIRD JAB MAY BE NEEDED
A third jab is set to be offered to over 50s this autumn in an attempt to tackle new variants and keep Britain firmly out of lockdown.
The third shot will be given with the annual flu jab, as either a new vaccine designed to fight variants or another dose of an existing shot.
Professor Neil Ferguson said the booster jab could spell the end for lockdowns forever.
COVID COULD BE WIPED OUT BY CHRISTMAS
Covid-19 could be wiped out by Christmas and there is almost no chance of a severe third wave, experts have claimed.
Professor Hugh Pennington, meritus professor of bacteriology at Aberdeen University said the UK’s high vaccination rate was “a success story” and had “undoubtedly reduced hospital admissions and deaths”.
He added: “I don’t see any reason of why we should need to go into lockdown again.
“By this next winter Covid could be about the same problem as an average flu season and we can cope with it like we cope with flu.
“I think we will see Covid off in the UK. In fact Covid vaccines are more effective than flu vaccines, so flu may even turn out to be more of a problem in future.”
VUE TO REOPEN 88 CINEMAS ON MAY 17
Vue has announced it will be reopening all 88 of its UK venues on Monday May 17.
Tickets are available to pre-book now on myvue.com, so you can make sure you’ve got a seat for all the latest releases.
SCOTLAND RECORDS 224 CORONAVIRUS CASES BUT NO DEATHS
Scotland has recorded 224 new cases of coronavirus but no deaths in the past 24 hours.
The death toll under this daily measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – remains at 7,661.
However, the Scottish Government noted that registry offices are generally closed at weekends.
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.
Click here to read more
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.”