Green list announcement LIVE – Countries Brits can visit on holiday without quarantine to be revealed TODAY

AN ANNOUNCEMENT on what countries Brits can visit on holiday without quarantining is expected later today.

The Government has not released an official time for the announcement, there will likely be a Downing Street press conference this afternoon.

While just a "handful" of countries are due to get the coveted green status from May 17 when the list is annoince, a three-weekly review will pave the way for more places to be added.

Popular destinations including Spain, Greece and France are pencilled in by Downing Street to be added by the end of June, reports the Telegraph.

A government source said the list will be updated every few weeks to give Brits the chance to get away.

Read our coronavirus live blog below for the latest updates…

  • Joseph Gamp

    GRANT SHAPPS TO LEAD TRAVEL LIST PRESS CONFERENCE AT 5PM

    The transport secretary will lead a Downing Street press conference in 20 minutes time.

    He is expected to reveal more details on the Government's traffic light system for foreign travel.

    The new rules and system will apply to people living in England ONLY – and there is not date set yet for the other three nations of the UK.

    We'll keep you up to date, in real time, as the details unfold.

  • Claudia Aoraha

    15 MORE DEATHS RECORDED TODAY

    The Government said a further 15 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Friday, bringing the UK total to 127,598.

    Separate figures published by the UK's statistics agencies show there have been 152,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

    The Government also said that, as of 9am on Friday, there had been a further 2,490 lab-confirmed cases in the UK.

    It brings the total to 4,431,043.

  • Claudia Aoraha

    COVID RATE CONTINUES TO FALL

    The R rate in England has remained relatively constant since February 5, having peaked on January 15 at between 1.2 and 1.3. 

    For the last few weeks Sage has been unable to give a rate for the UK as a whole. When cases are so low, the R rate is a less reliable indication of the spread of infections.

    It comes as a study has revealed the number of Covid infections have dropped to the lowest levels in eight months in England and Wales.

    The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates that around one in 1,180 people in England had Covid in the two weeks to May 2.

    During the same period, one in 2,070 people in Wales had Covid.

    Both figures are the lowest since the week to September 5, before the second wave started.

  • Claudia Aoraha

    R RATE FALLS IN ENGLAND

    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.

    Last week Sage gave the nationwide figure of 0.8 and 1.1, suggesting the outbreak was worsening.

    However, it appears to have come back down again, although is still teetering on the critical level 1.

  • Claudia Aoraha

    NORTHERN IRELAND'S JAB ROLLOUT DELAYED

    Northern Ireland's Covid-19 vaccine rollout is set to be delayed by several weeks due to changed advice on using AstraZeneca jabs, the head of the programme has said.

    Patricia Donnelly outlined the consequences of the new advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) that people under 40 should be offered an alternative to AstraZeneca due to a link to rare blood clots.

    The clotting issue had already prompted the under-30 age cohort to be offered the Pfizer jab instead of AstraZeneca.

    Ms Donnelly said the majority of people aged 30-39 will now be offered the Pfizer jab too, with these doses being primarily administered in regional vaccine centres away from the main centre at Belfast's SSE Arena.

  • Claudia Aoraha

    BORIS: 'WE ARE RUTHLESS WITH TRACKING INDIAN VARIANT'

    The Prime Minister said that tracking of the Indian variant was "absolutely ruthless".

    Boris Johnson told reporters: "What we're doing there is making sure that we are absolutely ruthless in the surge testing, in the door-to-door tracking of any contacts.

    "At the moment we're looking carefully at the way the Indian variant seems to function, we don't see any evidence that it is resistant to the vaccines or in any way more dangerous."

  • Claudia Aoraha

    MASKS ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT DECISION TO BE MADE NEXT MONTH

    A decision on whether masks on transport will be needed will be made over the next month or so depending on coronavirus rates, the Government source said.

    On the issue of booster vaccines in the autumn, the source said people are likely to be given a shot from the existing range of vaccines.

    A vaccine dedicated to tackling variants may not be available until the end of the year and may not even be needed, they added.

    The comments come as data shows that Covid-19 infections in England and Wales have hit their lowest level for eight months.

    Around one in 1,180 people in private households in England had Covid-19 in the week to May 2, down from one in 1,010 the previous week, according to the latest estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

    It is the lowest figure since the week to September 5, when the estimate stood at one in 1,400.

  • Claudia Aoraha

    UK STILL ON TRACK TO EASE PANDEMIC RESTRICTIONS, SAYS GOV ADVISERS

    The country is still on track for the safe lifting of coronavirus restrictions, Government scientific advisers believe, though they have urged people to carry on working from home.

    Experts predict a rise in coronavirus cases as restrictions ease, but a future wave is not expected to be as big as last winter and should not put intense pressure on the NHS.

    Modelling produced for the Government suggests people will not go back to pre-pandemic levels of contact with others as restrictions lift in May and into the summer.

    Asked if people should continue working from home once limits on social contact are lifted on June 21 in England, one source said there was no reason to return to an office full-time if work could be done at home.

  • Alice Peacock

    FLIGHT PRICES TO MALTA AND GIBRALTAR JUMP

    Airlines' prices to Gibraltar and Malta have almost doubled in prices ahead of the green list destinations being revealed today.

    The two tiny Mediterranean sunspots are set to be included on the government's safe list for quarantine-free travel after May 17.

    Direct flights from London to Malta cost £85 on May 15, but £98-153 through the week beginning May 17, The Sun has found.

    London to Gibraltar costs £79 from May 14-16.

    There is a cheap £37 flight for via WizzAir flight on May 17 but the next cheapest is £95 with easyJet and £165 with BA on that day. And they are £121-195 from May 18-20.

  • Alice Peacock

    INDIAN COVID STRAIN UPGRADED TO 'VARIANT OF CONCERN'

    A strain of the Indian coronavirus variant has now been classed as one of concern, Public Health England (PHE) has revealed.

    The B.1.617.2 strain is now the fifth variant of concern in the country and experts have said it is as transmissible as the Kent variant.

    It comes as leaked data revealed that cases of the variant have soared by 150 per cent in a week as 48 clusters have been detected in the UK.

    Around 500 cases of the B.1.617.2 variant have been detected across England with the highest levels in London and the North West.

    Last week data from Public Health England (PHE) showed that there were just 202 officially recorded cases and experts fear that the strain could spread faster than the two other sub types of the Indian variant that have also been identified in the UK.

    More on this here.

  • Alice Peacock

    GERMANY: ASTRAZENECA COVID-19 VACCINE TO ALL ADULTS

    Germany will allow AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine to be given to adults of all ages, reversing a previous decision that restricted it to people who are over 60 years old, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Thursday.

    Spahn also said Germany aimed to offer 12-18 year olds a vaccine by the end of August, provided regulators give approval for the BioNTech/Pfizer shot for that age group

  • Claudia Aoraha

    LOW INFECTION RATES IN WALES, SCOTLAND AND NORTHERN IRELAND

    In Wales, around one in 2,070 people in private households is estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week to May 2 – down from one in 1,570 in the previous week, and the lowest since the week to September 5.

    In Northern Ireland, the estimate is around one in 750 people, up from one in 940 in the previous week.

    The ONS said the trend in Northern Ireland over the two most recent weeks has "remained level".

    The estimate for Scotland is around one in 760, down from one in 640 and the lowest since estimates began for Scotland in October.

  • Claudia Aoraha

    NUMBER OF COVID CASES LOWEST IN 8 MONTHS

    The number of Covid-19 infections in England and Wales has dropped to its lowest level for eight months, new figures suggest.

    Around one in 1,180 people in private households in England had Covid-19 in the week to May 2, down from one in 1,010 the previous week, according to the latest estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

    It is the lowest figure since the week to September 5 2020, when the estimate stood at one in 1,400.

    The percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus is estimated to have decreased in all regions of England except in Yorkshire and the Humber, eastern England and London where the trend is uncertain, the ONS said.

    Yorkshire and the Humber had the highest proportion of people of any region in England likely to test positive for coronavirus in the week to May 2: around one in 470.

    South-west England had the lowest estimate: around one in 6,410.

  • Claudia Aoraha

    SYMPTOMS TO LOOK OUT FOR AFTER HAVING THE JAB

    People who have had the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine should seek help if they experience a severe headache or shortness of breath, experts have warned.

    There are six symptoms people need to look out for from around four days to four weeks after vaccination.

    Experts today said that you should look out for the six signs.

    • a severe headache that is not relieved with painkillers or is getting worse;
    • a headache that feels worse when you lie down or bend over;
    • a headache that is unusual for you and occurs with blurred vision, feeling or being sick, problems speaking, weakness, drowsiness or seizures;
    • a rash that looks like small bruises or bleeding under the skin;
    • shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling or persistent abdominal pain.

    PREGNANT WOMEN FACING JAB DELAYS

    Pregnant women trying to get the preferred coronavirus vaccine have faced confusion, delays and wasted trips, a charity has said.

    The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises that it is "preferable" for pregnant women in the UK to be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines where available.

    But the online booking system has not given pregnant women the option to specify what vaccine they want.

    It is understood that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are considered preferable because they are the jabs for which safety information relating to pregnant women is available, whereas there is not as much relevant data on other jabs such as the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

    It was confirmed on Friday that under-40s are to be offered an alternative to the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

    • Claudia Aoraha

      VACCINE SAFETY IS 'RIGOROUSLY MONITORED' SAYS JAB CHIEF

      Dr June Raine, MHRA Chief Executive said today: “Public safety is always at the forefront of our minds and we take every report seriously.

      “Our position remains that the benefits of the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca against Covid-19, with its associated risk of hospitalisation and death, continues to outweigh the risks for the vast majority of people.

      "The balance of benefits and risks is very favourable for older people but is more finely balanced for younger people…"

      Dr Raine said vaccine safety is "rigorously monitored" and blood clot cases have been "scientifically scrutinised".

      “The public should be reassured of our continuing high standards when monitoring these vaccines for safety, quality and effectiveness", Dr Raine added.

      “It is still vitally important that people come forward for their vaccination when invited to do so.

      “We ask anyone who suspects they have experienced a side effect linked with their COVID-19 vaccine to report it to the Coronavirus Yellow Card website.”

    • Claudia Aoraha

      'SAFETY REMAINS OUR PRIORITY'

      The long-awaited announcement came from The Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), a panel of experts which advises the government, today.

      Professor Wei Shen Lim, COVID-19 Chair for JCVI, said: “Safety remains our number one priority. 

      “We have continued to assess the benefit-risk balance of COVID-19 vaccines in light of UK infection rates and the latest information from the MHRA on the extremely rare event of blood clots and low platelet counts following vaccination.

      “As Covid-19 rates continue to come under control, we are advising that adults aged 18 – 39 years with no underlying health conditions are offered an alternative to the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, if available and if it does not cause delays in having the vaccine. 

      “The advice is specific to circumstances in the UK at this time and maximises use of the wide portfolio of vaccines available.

      “The Covid-19 vaccines have already saved thousands of lives and the benefit for the majority of the population is clear – if you are offered the vaccine, you should take it.”

    • Claudia Aoraha

      BREAKING: UNDER 40S WON'T BE OFFERED OXFORD JAB

      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”. 

      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.

    • Claudia Aoraha

      TUI HOLIDAY PRICES ARE 'STABLE' AHEAD OF GREEN LIST REVEAL

      Tui's managing director for the UK and Ireland, Andrew Flintham, said it will be "a long time" before travel companies can consider boosting profit margins.

      He told BBC Breakfast: "Our prices are very, very stable. They're pretty much like for like, flat, year over year. There isn't a big increase in there.

      "We've got plenty of holidays to sell. I think everybody in the industry has.

      "It'll be a long time before the idea of trying to increase prices to make more money. We want to get people away on holiday, having a great time, because we think they genuinely all deserve it."

    • Claudia Aoraha

      PRICES FOR PORTUGAL HOLIDAYS 'SOAR'

      Holidaymakers are set to be given the ‘green’ light to go abroad without having to quarantine — but only to Israel, Malta and Gibraltar.

      However, hopes of a summer break in Portugal have soared, with ministers poised to also put the popular destination on England’s approved list in the traffic light system.

      Most popular destinations such as France, Spain and Greece are likely to be ‘amber,’ so holidaymakers will need to take two PCR tests during their ten-day quarantine at home.

      But ministers are confident they will also go green in time for the summer rush.

      Airlines have already started ramping up prices to Portugal for flights the week legal trips can resume.

    • Claudia Aoraha

      DEATHS IN HOMES INCREASED IN 2020

      Deaths in private homes in England and Wales, from all causes, were one-third higher in 2020 than in the previous five years, the ONS said.

      There were 166,576 deaths from all causes in private homes in England and Wales in 2020, compared with an average of 125,255 between 2015 and 2019.

      The majority of deaths due to Covid-19 – where coronavirus was the main cause – occurred in hospitals and care homes, while many deaths from other causes, such as breast cancer and prostate cancer, happened in private homes.

      Many of these deaths at home were people who, in a non-pandemic year, may have typically died elsewhere such as in hospital, the ONS added.

    • Claudia Aoraha

      INDIAN VARIANT SOARS 150% IN A WEEK

      Cases of the Indian Covid variant have soared by 150 per cent in a week as 48 clusters have been detected in the UK.

      Health experts in England warned that one version of the Indian variant should be made a "variant of concern" as leaked emails show the risk from it is "high".

      It is thought that around 500 cases of the B.1.617.2 variant have been detected across England with the highest levels in London and the North West.

      The further detection of cases could mean that surge testing is rolled out for the Indian variant but the Department of Health has not yet announced any plans.

    • Claudia Aoraha

      TRAVEL TRAFFIC LIGHT SYSTEM

    • Claudia Aoraha

      PRESS CONFERENCE TONIGHT

      Grant Shapps is to hold a press conference tonight, May 7 to reveal the green list of destinations for holidays this summer.

      The Transport Secretary will lead the Downing Street briefing from 5pm.

      He will set out which countries Brits can travel to without having to quarantine on their return from May 17.

      The plans will be signed off at a government 'Covid-O' committee meeting this morning.

    • Claudia Aoraha

      HUGE LOSSES FOR THE AIRLINE INDUSTRY

      His comments come as the business revealed it continued to rack up huge losses in the first three months of the year.

      Bosses at the airline, which also owns Aer Lingus and Iberia, said the firm sunk to a pre-tax loss of 1.22 billion euros (£1.1 billion) in the first three months of the year.

      Passenger numbers remain at record low levels due to the pandemic, at just 19.6% of the pre-Covid levels in 2019 and the second quarter of the year is at just 25% due to continued uncertainty.

      IAG remains financially stable, bosses added, with a new 1.2 billion euro (£1 billion) bond heavily oversubscribed and a new three year 1.76 billion dollar (£1.27 billion) credit facility agreed with lenders but future cash raises could be needed.

      Source: Read Full Article