BRITS planning to jet-set out of the UK will be forced to provide a legitimate reason for travelling – or risk being turned away at the airport.
Priti Patel says: “Anyone who doesn’t have a valid reason for travel will be directed to return home or they will face a fine.”
This comes as 22 countries will be forced to quarantine in hotels for 10 days on their arrival, Boris Johnson announced today.
Anybody heading to the UK from the 22 high-risk nations, which includes Portugal, South Africa and Brazil, will now have to pay up to £1,500 per person for their hotel quarantine.
Holiday hotspots France, Spain and Greece have been handed exemptions – but it’s understood the quarantine measures would be kept under review.
Boris Johnson said today: “In order to reduce the risk posed by UK nationals and residents returning home… all such arrivals who cannot be refused entry to isolate in government provided accommodation, such as hotels for 10 days without exception.
“They will be met at the airport and transported directly into quarantine. The Department of Health and Social care is working to establish these facilities as quickly as possible,” he added.
Follow the live blog below for the very latest news, updates and analysis of the coronavirus crisis…
BLACK MPS ATTEMPT TO UP VACCINE INTAKE IN THE COMMUNITY
Black MPs have shared stories of losing loved ones to Covid-19 in a bid to increase the number of people getting vaccinated.
Conservative and Labour politicians made a video to “unite against the spread of vaccine misinformation” and tell people it is safe, said the Government Equalities Office.
Labour’s David Lammy talks of losing his uncle to the virus while Tory MP James Cleverly speaks of his cousin’s death with Covid-19 during the clip shared by vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi.
It comes after Mr Zahawi said he was concerned that vaccine take-up may be lower in ethnic minority groups.
PRITI EXPLAINS NEW STRICT TRAVEL RULE
In a statement to the House of Commons today, Priti Patel said the government’s rules were “clear [that] people should be staying at home unless they have a valid reason to leave. Going on holiday is not a valid reason.”
She spoke about a new rule, which would require people leaving the UK to go abroad to first “make a declaration for why they need to travel”, which would then be “checked by carriers prior to departure”.
The Home Secretary said: “Anyone who doesn’t have a valid reason for travel will be directed to return home or they will face a fine.”
PREMIER LEAGUE FOOTBALLERS TO QUARANTINE
Premier League players returning to England after competing in the World Cup qualifiers in Portugal and South America will have to quarantine in hotels for 10 days.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said today that those coming back to the UK from “red list” countries will be “met at the airport and transported directly into quarantine”.
There will be no exemptions for sporting athletes – no mater how famous.
The 30 destinations on the Government’s red list covers all of South America, southern Africa and Portugal.
NO BREAKTHROUGH IN EU – ASTRAZENECA TALKS
The European Union and AstraZeneca failed to make a breakthrough on over delayed vaccine deliveries, the bloc’s health chief said.
The EU is pushing the company to supply more doses of its vaccine from plants in Europe and Britain after the AstraZeneca announced delivery delays, adding to frustrations over the EU’s inoculation programme.
“We regret the continued lack of clarity on the delivery schedule,” EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said in a tweet, adding the EU was requesting a clear plan from AstraZeneca for the rapid delivery of the vaccine doses the bloc has reserved for the first quarter.
DISEASE X COULD BE AROUND THE CORNER
It is not a matter of “if”, but “when” another Covid-style pandemic rocks the world.
But it is difficult to tell when such a disease may emerge, and how they come about is “unpredictable”.
Asked if the next Disease X (a term for an unknown deadly virus) could potentially be around the corner, Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, said “absolutely”.
Speaking independently to PA news agency, he said: “You could use the phrase ‘it is when, not if’.
“We can’t put a handle on when, of course. The precise mechanism by which a virus comes out is always extremely unpredictable.”
UK “UNDERPREPARED” AND EUROPE “FAILED” IN TACKLING VIRUS
Professor Linda Bauld said the UK was underprepared for a virus like Covid-19, and Europe failed to learn from how south-east Asian countries responded to the pandemic.
She said some of the decisions made in the UK “directly contributed” to the second wave, as she described the failure to ramp up contact tracing in March as a “fundamental mistake”.
Prof Bauld, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, was speaking after the number of UK coronavirus deaths passed 100,000.
£300 MILLION FOR STUDENTS TO CATCH UP WHEN SCHOOLS REOPEN
As it is confirmed that schools will not reopen until March, the Prime Minister said a further £300 million of new funding will be given to schools for catch-up tutoring.
He said the Government will work with the education sector to develop initiatives for summer schools and a Covid premium to support catch-up.
He added: “We recognise these extended school closures have had a huge impact on children’s learning, which will take more than a year to make up.
“So we will work with parents, teachers and schools to develop a long-term plan to make sure pupils have the chance to make up their learning over the course of this parliament.
EU AND BRITAIN CLASH OVER VACCINE SHORTAGE
Both the European Union and UK insist the AstraZeneca must uphold contractual delivery promises to them – but the company says there is not enough for both.
EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides said: “The 27 European Union member states are united that AstraZeneca needs to deliver on its commitments in our agreements.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he expected AstraZeneca to honour its commitment to deliver two million doses a week to the UK from its plant in north Wales.
Though he wouldn’t address the issue in tonight’s press conference.
He said: “All I can say is that we’re very confident in our supplies, we’re very confident in our contracts and we’re going ahead on that basis.”
KEY WORKERS DEALING WITH PATIENTS ARE MORE AT RISK THAN EVER
The ONS data shows, up to the week ending January 9, the percentage of those testing positive for coronavirus increased in both those aged under 35 years, and 35 years and above, who work in a patient-facing role.
There’s increasing concern for England’s key workers.
LOCKDOWN TO END IN MARCH?
Lockdown measures will stay in place until at least March 8, the Prime Minister has confirmed..
The Prime Minister confirmed that hopes of all English pupils returning to schools after the February half-term have been abandoned as coronavirus cases continue to rise.
Government figures show a further 1,725 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of today, bringing the UK total to 101,887.
There was also a further 25,308 lab-confirmed cases.
The March reopening target is based around the goal to vaccinate the most vulnerable groups in society by mid-February – plus some time for the jab to come into effect.
NEW VARIANT WON’T RUIN YOUR FOOD
People infected with the new UK coronavirus variant are less likely to report a loss of taste and smell.
The ONS said the symptoms were “significantly less common” in patients who tested positive for the new variant compared to those with other variants of Covid-19.
They are more likely to report “classic” symptoms of the virus, such as a cough and a fever.
The ONS also said other symptoms were more common in people testing positive for the new variant, with the largest differences for cough, sore throat, fatigue, myalgia and fever.
It added: “There is no evidence of difference in the gastrointestinal symptoms, shortness of breath or headaches.”
SYMPTOMS OF NEW COVID VARIANT VS. ORIGINAL
CASES HAVE REACHED A PLATEAU – “BEGINNING TO DECLINE”
Sir Patrick Vallance said England had “reached a plateau” proving that lockdowns work, in tonight’s press conference.
He said: “We are at a position where the lockdowns have worked, they’ve slowed this down, they’ve reached a position where it has reached a plateau and is beginning to decline – and we see that in cases, we’re beginning to see that in hospital admissions and we’re beginning to see that in deaths – but it is early days.
“This isn’t coming down quickly, we remain at very high levels and it is going to take weeks for this to come down to really low levels.
“It is important with that, and the rollout of the vaccine programme, we start to see this changing, as the Prime Minister has said, and the vaccine programme should start to kick-in so we can see the effects in the middle of February.
“But I want to remind us all that we remain in a difficult position at the moment and there are still very high levels.”
THERE WILL STILL BE “SEVERE” CASES OF COVID WITH THE VACCINE
Jonathan Van-Tam, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, says “we have the data from Israel coming through” about the efficacy of the vaccine, but the current information is “preliminary”.
He adds that “it’s too early to say” how effective it has been in the UK.
Van-Tam also reminds the public that there will still be “severe disease” even with the vaccination, but those cases will be reduced.
Sir Patrick Vallance says it will be a few weeks before we have data to analyse.
ASTRAZENECA VACCINE IS “EVER GROWING”
The Prime Minister asserts that the Oxford vaccine administration is “ever growing” and will only “accelerate”.
He says production will “continue to improve” and that the government was “confident of our supply”.
BORIS SAYS NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO REFLECT
After being asked about lessons learnt during the pandemic, Boris Johnson says “there will come a time to reflect”.
However, he says that time “is not now”.
NO CERTAINTY THAT VACCINES STOP COVID TRANSMISSION
During tonight’s press conference, the public heard that the government still do not know if “vaccines might play a role in keeping transmission low in the the UK”.
The Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Advisor said it will probably have “some effect of transmissibility” but they were still waiting on the data.
‘PM HAS LET DOWN MILLIONS OF CHILDREN’
The chairman of Reform UK has accused Boris Johnson of letting down “millions of children” after it was revealed that schools will not reopen immediately after the February half-term.
Richard Tice, chairman of Reform UK, said: “The Prime Minister has once again let down millions of children. He has refused to confirm when schools will reopen for all. This is weak leadership.”
Reform UK believe teachers must be vaccinated immediately after the first four priority groups.
ONE IN EIGHT BRITS LOST CLOSE FAMILY OR FRIEND TO COVID, SAYS POLL
One in eight Brits have lost a close friend or family member to Covid-19, new polling has revealed.
In a sombre address to the nation, Boris Johnson insisted he took “full responsibility” for the response to the pandemic as the Government’s figure for coronavirus deaths passed 100,000.
Separate data, published by statistics agencies, place the toll at 115,000.
New polling from YouGov found 8% of people had lost a close friend, while 5% reported they had lost a family member.
More than a quarter (27%) knew someone who had become seriously ill from Covid-19, with 2% saying they themselves had been very unwell.
More than half (57%) said they knew someone who had tested positive for the virus.
The survey was taken of 2,029 people in the UK between December 31 2020 and January 11 2021.
The Government said a further 1,725 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, bringing the UK total to 101,887.
Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies for deaths where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate, together with additional data on deaths that have occurred in recent days, show there have now been 119,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK.
The Government also said that, as of 9am on Wednesday, there had been a further 25,308 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.
It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 3,715,054.
BORIS TO MAKE NATIONAL ADDRESS
The PM will address Brits for the second day running today.
He’ll speak from Downing Street at 5pm after announcing the lockdown will be extended.
Yesterday, Mr Johnson appeared at No10 to speak to the nation after the country’s death toll passed 100,000.
BORIS JOHNSON SAYS SCHOOLS WILL RECEIVE FURTHER £300M FOR CATCH-UP TUTORING
Boris Johnson has said schools will receive £300 million of new money for catch-up tutoring as he confirmed that hopes of all pupils returning to class after the February half-term have been abandoned.
The Prime Minister said he hopes it will be safe to begin the reopening of England’s schools from March 8 – if the Government achieves its target of vaccinating the most vulnerable groups by mid-February.
Children eligible for food parcels or vouchers will receive these until they return to school and a “programme of catch-up” will be put in place over the next financial year, Mr Johnson has announced.
In light of the delay of reopening schools, the Prime Minister said a further £300 million of new funding will be given to schools for catch-up tutoring.
He said the Government will work with the education sector to develop initiatives for summer schools and a Covid premium to support catch-up.
He added: “We recognise these extended school closures have had a huge impact on children’s learning, which will take more than a year to make up.”
STERLING GETS JAB BOOST TO HIT 8 MONTH HIGH
Sterling rose to an eight-month high against a weakening euro as the UK’s coronavirus vaccine rollout helped the pound while the single currency took a hit.
Although Britain’s death toll from the coronavirus pandemic passed 100,000 on Tuesday, its relatively speedy rollout compared to the EU has offered support to the pound.
The euro was under pressure after an ECB official said the central bank has room to cut its deposit rate further.
Sterling was up 0.3 per cent at 88.26 pence after hitting its lowest point against the single currency since May 13.
COVID VARIANT IDENTIFIED IN SOUTH EAST IS ‘DOMINANT’ STRAIN IN WALES
Dr Rob Orford, the chief scientific adviser for health, told the Welsh Government briefing that the strain of Covid-19 identified in the South East of England had become the “dominant strain” across Wales.
“We believe this strain has been driving higher rates of cases seen over the Christmas period and into the new year,” he said.
Scientists were also “closely” monitoring other variants, including those emerging from South Africa and Brazil, Dr Orford said.
He said there had been 10 identified cases of the South African variant which were found in people travelling to Wales from abroad.
— to www.thesun.co.uk