BORIS Johnson is set to make four big Covid announcements on Monday as he lays out England’s next steps out of lockdown.
The PM is tipped to reveal more on holidays, vaccine passports, lockdown and social distancing. Here is what to expect.
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Boris Johnson is set to announce more on holidays, vaccine passports, lockdown and social distancing on MondayCredit: Robert Melen
Restrictions began to ease on March 29 with outdoor gatherings allowed in groups of up to six.
But on Easter Monday Boris Johnson is due to announcement whether Britain can move forward to the next stage of unlocking.
The PM had previously said this would be no earlier than April 12 – but he would give businesses at least a week’s notice before reopening.
So Monday’s announcement should reveal more – and hopefully given the green light to the next phase of lockdown lifting.
Outdoor venues such as zoos, drive-in cinemas and other outdoor hospitality venues will also hopefully be opening up to the public.
And campsites and holidays may also open once more, while weddings and civil partnerships can have up to 15 people attending.
Pubs will hopefully be able to serve outdoors from April 12Credit: Getty
At the moment going on holiday is illegal – and travelling abroad without a valid reason in England could land you a fine of £5,000.
But on Monday, the PM will give an update on the reviews into travel abroad and the possibility of Covid passports.
He will set out how the certificates will work, but is also expected to shed light on the new traffic light system.
Summer holiday hotspots will be ranked under the lights system — letting Brits fly to “green” countries with low Covid rates and strong vaccine rollouts.
The move will see Bahrain, Dubai and the US top destination wish lists, but nations with high virus cases and slow jab rollouts will require more quarantining.
Mr Johnson is expected to warn that June could be the earliest that borders can open – instead of the previously announced May 17.
A new traffic light system will be revealed for foreign holidaysCredit: Alamy
Under the traffic lights plan:
GREEN: Anyone returning from these countries must take a pre-flight lateral flow test at their own cost, then take a “sequencing test” within days of landing to check for new strains.
AMBER: Like green, but those entering the UK must isolate at home for ten days after arrival. They can get out after five days with a negative test paid for privately.
RED: Arrivals must isolate on their return in an authorised hotel at their own cost — as they do currently.
So far, the US, Gulf states and Israel would be classed as “green” thanks to their jab rollouts. Most of Europe is poised for Amber status.
Travel was meant to be restored “not before” May 17. But there is growing concern in Whitehall that this is too soon amid a third virus wave globally.
Mr Johnson is also under pressure from devolved leaders to delay reopening Britain’s borders.
Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford said May 17 was over-optimistic and did not reflect the risk of re-importing the virus and new variants from other parts of the world.
He added: “When the Prime Minister speaks next week I hope he will say that date is having to be pushed back.”
Mr Johnson is under pressure to delay reopening Britain’s bordersCredit: Getty – Contributor
Ministers have concluded their work on how the vaccine certificates may work and will meet on Monday morning to decide whether to proceed.
They will be required to visit certain countries abroad, but it is not currently known how they might be rolled out domestically.
Essential buildings such as hospitals, GP surgeries and supermarkets are likely to be excluded from any such scheme. They could be optional for other businesses.
The PM yesterday stressed again that any moves towards vaccine passports for domestic use would involve a three-pronged approach of vaccines, tests or proof of antibodies.
It would mean people who could not have the vaccine for medical reasons would not miss out on a trip to the pub or restaurant.
The PM said: “When it comes to trying to make sure that we give maximum confidence to businesses and customers, there are three things — there’s immunity whether you have had it before so you have natural antibodies, whether you have been vaccinated, and of course whether you have had a test.”
Covid passports will be trialled in the UK this month – and Brits heading to the FA Cup Final and the World Snooker Championship will have to test negative first.
A trial for the scheme – which eventually could allow bars and big events to abandon social distancing – will be unrolled within weeks.
Vaccine passports and social distancing will also be reviewedCredit: AFP
The social distancing review will also look at letting firms that use vaccine passports relax the rules a bit more.
On Monday Mr Johnson is likely to give an update on the government’s current thinking and offer when loosened restrictions might come in.
Plummeting virus cases and soaring jab numbers are expected to influence the decisions.
More than 31m Brits have received their first dose of the vaccine, with almost 5m having received both their first and second.
And the UK’s daily Covid cases have fallen to the lowest level since mid-September – as the infection toll increased by 3,402 today.