#parent | #kids | Coronavirus UK news – Holiday blow as Brits will be forced to take TWO ‘unnecessary’ £120 covid tests before going home


TRANSPORT Secretary Grant Shapps has insisted foreign holidays will be able to resume “safely and sustainably” under new Government plans.

But travel firms have slammed measures to force holidaymakers returning from low-risk destinations to take an “expensive and unnecessary” type of coronavirus test.

Mr Shapps announced a “framework” for resuming overseas leisure travel which includes requiring all arrivals to take pre-departure and post-arrival coronavirus tests.

Post-arrival tests must be the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) type which cost around £120, he revealed.

This is despite pleas from the travel sector to allow travellers returning from countries on the “green” list under the new risk-based traffic light system to take lateral flow tests, which are cheaper and quicker.

Mr Shapps said: “The framework announced today will help allow us to reopen travel safely and sustainably, ensure we protect our hard-won achievements on the vaccine rollout and offer peace of mind to both passengers and industry as we begin to take trips abroad once again.”

How the traffic light system will work:

* Green: Passengers will not need to quarantine on return, but must take a pre-departure test, as well as a PCR test on return to the UK

* Amber: Travellers will need to quarantine for 10 days, as well as taking a pre-departure test and two PCR tests

* Red: Passengers will have to pay for a 10-day stay in a managed quarantine hotel, as well as a pre-departure test and two PCR tests

The announcement came three days after Boris Johnson pledged to make testing requirements “as affordable as possible”.

EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren claimed the plan was “a blow to all travellers” and risked “making flying only for the wealthy”.

He added: “As the rest of British society and the economy opens up, it makes no sense to treat travel, particularly to low-risk countries, differently.”

Mark Tanzer, boss of travel trade organisation Abta, said permitting the use of lateral flow tests would “make international travel more accessible and affordable whilst still providing an effective mitigation against reimportation of the virus”.

Read our coronavirus live blog below for the very latest news and updates on the pandemic

  • EU EXPANDS AZ COVID VACCINE PROBE

    Europe’s drugs regulator said on Friday it was reviewing reports of a bleeding condition in people after receiving AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine and looking into Johnson & Johnson’s shot over reports of rare blood clots.

    While Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca has been caught in a turmoil over possible links to rare blood clots in the brain and abdomen, and subsequent restriction on usage of its vaccine, this is a formal disclosure of the J&J probe.

    Four serious cases of rare blood clots with low platelets, one of which was fatal, have been reported after inoculation with J&J’s vaccine from its Janssen unit, the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) said.

    It said five cases of capillary leak syndrome linked to AstraZeneca’s vaccine were reported. The condition, in which blood leaks from the smallest of vessels into muscles and body cavities, is characterised by swelling and a drop in blood pressure.

    However, the EMA has said that “at this stage, it is not yet clear whether there is a causal association” between the vaccines and the reported conditions.

  • PARIS HOSPITALS BRACED FOR PEAK OF THIRD COVID WAVE

    France is expected to hit the peak of its third COVID-19 wave around April 20, according to forecasts by the Paris hospitals group AP-HP seen on Friday by Reuters.

    They also estimated there would be just under 2,000 Covid-19 patients in hospital intensive care units in the Paris region around that peak, versus 1,723 as of Thursday.

    “The enforcement of additional restrictive measures (…) allow us, for the first time, to project a turning point, with assumptions that remain fragile”, AP-HP boss Martin Hirsch said in an email sent to staff.

    “The central assumption is for the second wave to peak around April 20, when, in the greater Paris region, we would have slightly less than 2,000 patients in intensive care”, he said.

    At the start of the month, just after President Emmanuel Macron ordered France into its third national lockdown, Health Minister Olivier Veran said the ICU peak, on a national level, should be reached at the end of April.

  • HUGE SALES AT JOHN LEWIS, NEXT, DEBENHAMS ETC

    Shops including Debenhams, Next and John Lewis have sales of up to 70% off ahead of the high street’s bounce-back on April 12.

    Covid-battered non-essential retailers can welcome customers back once more on Monday after more than three months of lockdown.

    The Government has relaxed rules on trading times and many stores are planning to extend hours, with Primark adding two hours a day and Smyths toy store open until 8pm, Monday to Friday.

    Debenhams, which is due to close for good after going bust, will open around 100 stores in England and Wales for two to four weeks from Monday to complete its final closing down sale with deals of up to 70% off.

    Next has also told The Sun that it will be having sales in stores in order to shift stock.

    Here’s a list of bargains we’ve spotted in the online sales you can buy now
  • FAKE CORONA JAB PASSPORTS SOLD ‘FOR PEANUTS’…CONTINUED

    The FBI has urged people not to post pics of their vaccination cards on social media, warning that the information could be used by scammers to forge documents.

    Last week, 45 attorney generals from the US signed a letter calling on the heads of Twitter, eBay and Shopify to take immediate action to prevent their platforms from being used to sell fraudulent Covid jab cards.

    “The false and deceptive marketing and sales of fake Covid vaccine cards threatens the health of our communities, slows progress in getting our residents protected from the virus, and are a violation of the laws of many states,” it read.

    EBay said it was taking significant measures to block or quickly remove items that made false health claims including vaccine cards.

    Twitter said the sale of fake Covid cards was not permitted on the site and it took “enforcement action” when violations were identified. Shopify did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

  • FAKE CORONA JAB PASSPORTS SOLD ‘FOR PEANUTS’

    Fake coronavirus vaccine passports are being sold online for “peanuts” in a fast-growing scam that has alarmed authorities, cyber security experts warn.

    From Iceland to Israel, countries have started to lift lockdown restrictions for people who can prove they have been vaccinated – letting them visit leisure venues or cross borders if they show jab papers.

    “People are trying to circumvent that by creating false documents, essentially putting the lives of others at risk,” Beenu Arora, founder of cyber intelligence firm Cyble, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    “We’ve seen hundreds of websites on the dark web where these documents are being sold … at the price of peanuts” he added.

    The dark web is a part of the internet that lies beyond the reach of search engines, where users are largely anonymous and mainly pay with cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

  • SPAIN & ITALY MAY BE ON SAFE LIST FOR HOLS!

    The US, Gibraltar, Malta and much of the Caribbean are tipped for green status – and Greece could also make the cut for lockdown-stricken Brits.

    Spain and Italy may also be able to join from June if their jabs programmes progress well.

    The Government has announced international travel will be governed by a “traffic light” system when it restarts again – set to be on May 17.

    Under the scheme countries will be classified as either green, amber, or red, depending on their rate of vaccinations and testing capacity.

    Brits can now go ahead and book their summer holidays abroad, Grant Shapps declared today.

    Gibraltar is set to be on the green list - good news for Brits
    Gibraltar is set to be on the green list – good news for Brits
  • JAB HEROES – VOLUNTEERS HELP SAVE THOUSANDS OF LIVES

    More than 10,000 lives have so far been saved by the Covid vaccination blitz in England alone.

    Public Health England analysis shows the rollout prevented around 140 deaths a day in March.

    And officials calculate the NHS immunisation programme stopped a total of 10,400 fatalities in over-60s up to the end of last month.

    But the true number may be much higher as the study only looked at the direct effect of vaccination — and the jabs also stop the spread of the virus and prevent fresh cases.

    Covid has faded to its lowest level since last July, with cases down 98 per cent since the start of the year, new data from the ZOE app developed by King’s College London shows.

    The fantastic Jab's Army success has been hailed
    The fantastic Jab’s Army success has been hailed
  • INDIA COVID CASES RECORD HIGH

    Daily Covid deaths are at their highest in India in more than five months as the country battles a second wave of infections.

    The world’s second most-populous country reported 131,968 new infections and 780 deaths on Friday – the biggest daily increase since mid-October.

    That took India’s overall caseload to 13.06 million – the world’s third-highest after the US and Brazil – and total deaths from Covid to 167,642.

    The government blames the resurgence mainly on crowding and a reluctance to wear masks.

    India has been inoculating about four million people a day – with states complaining of a persistent vaccine shortage.

  • MERKEL TO ‘TAKE CONTROL’ OVER COVID PANDEMIC

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel will wrench back control from federal states to impose restrictions on regions with high numbers of new coronavirus infections, a government spokeswoman says.

    Germany is struggling to curb a third wave of the pandemic.

    The number of confirmed coronavirus cases increased by 25,464 in a day, which was 3,576 more than a week earlier, data from health officials showed on Friday.

  • KATE GARRAWAY AND HER FAMILY HAVE TAKEN IMPORTANT STEP, SAYS BEN SHEPHARD

    Ben Shephard has said Kate Garraway and her family have taken an “important step”, after her husband Derek Draper returned home from hospital.

    Former political adviser Draper was admitted to hospital in March last year with coronavirus symptoms. He has now been reunited with Garraway and their children Darcey and Billy at their family home.

    Shephard, who is Garraway’s co-presenter on Good Morning Britain, told ITV’s This Morning: “This is the next page of a very big chapter and the journey is by no means over.

    “It’s such an important step for her and for Bill and for Darcey and for Derek to be home.”

    Shephard added: “As Kate keeps saying, he’s a very unique case. What he’s been through, how it’s affected him, what it’s done to his body, the organ damage that he’s faced, that actually the recovery is going to be pretty unique as well.”

  • 69% OF BRITS ‘MORE EXCITED ABOUT A PINT AT THE PUB THAN GETTING HAIRCUTS’ – SURVEY

    Nearly 70 per cent of Brits are more looking forward to pubs reopening than a hair appointment on April 12, according to a survey.

    Research, carried out by The Half Moon Inn, found that one-third of Brits will be buying a lager as their first drink on April 12, when pub gardens reopen.

    The second most popular drink will be a gin and mixer at 17 per cent.

    Sunderland topped a list of top ten places missing pubs the most, followed by Plymouth, Durham, Blackpool and Kingston Upon Hull (5th place).

  • SHOWCASE CINEMAS SET TO REOPEN FROM MAY 17

    Showcase Cinemas have announced the reopening of their cinemas in England and Scotland from Stage 3 of the government’s reopening plan, currently scheduled for May 17.

    A press release added: “There’s plenty for film fans to look forward to, with blockbusters such as Black Widow, Top Gun: Maverick, Fast & Furious 9, A Quiet Place Part 2, Ghostbusters: Afterlife and Mission Impossible 7 all set to be released this year.

    “There’s also going to be plenty of new films for families to take advantage of, with Peter Rabbit 2, Croods 2, Hotel Transylvania 4, Jungle Cruise, Cruella and Space Jam: A New Legacy all hitting the big screen before the end of July. Plus September sees the release of the much-anticipated next instalment of the James Bond franchise, No Time To Die.”

    General manager Mark Barlow said: “Our staff and customers’ health has been and will continue to be our top priority. ”

    Covid safety measures “will again be in place when we reopen to ensure our guests feel as comfortable as possible at all Showcase cinema locations,” he added.

  • COVID PASSPORT AN ‘ACCEPTABLE BURDEN’ – PREMIER LEAGUE BOSS

    Small football crowds and a ban on away supporters are likely without a temporary Covid certification system, a Premier League chief has warned.

    The English top flight was one of 10 sports bodies who wrote a letter to the PM and other senior politicians on Thursday endorsing the use of certification to help relax social distancing measures at sporting events.

    Premier League executive director Bill Bush told BBC Radio Four Today: “The alternative (to certification) is not freedom.

    “The alternative is social distancing, tiny crowds, major restrictions on people’s movement and ability to eat, drink, travel. Away fans banned for example.

    “So to end those restrictions of freedom, we believe that something like this is an acceptable burden to give fans the freedom to attend.”

  • MORE ON JET2 FLIGHT SUSPENSION ANNOUNCEMENT

    Jet2.com has extended the suspension of its flights and holidays up to June 23, following the Government’s announcement on how foreign leisure travel will resume.

    Boss Steve Heapy said: “We have taken time to study the Global Travel Taskforce’s framework, and we are extremely disappointed at the lack of clarity and detail.

    “After several weeks exploring how to restart international travel, with substantial assistance and input from the industry, the framework lacks any rigorous detail about how to get international travel going again. In fact, the framework is virtually the same as six months ago.

    “Following the publication of the framework today, we still do not know when we can start to fly, where we can fly to and the availability and cost of testing. Rather than answering questions, the framework leaves everyone asking more.”

    He added: “Because of the continued uncertainty that the framework provides, it is with a heavy heart that we have taken the decision to extend the suspension of flights and holidays up to and including 23rd June 2021.”

    Jet2 is taking precautions because of the lack of clarity from the government
    Jet2 is taking precautions because of the lack of clarity from the governmentCredit: Alamy
  • JET2 SUSPENDS FLIGHTS AND HOLIDAYS TILL JUNE 23 2021

    British travel company Jet2 says it is suspending flights and holidays until June 23, given the ongoing uncertainty around travel from the UK.

    The government has said it will provide more information in early May about whether holidays can restart from mid-May.

    But Jet2 announced today that it was suspending travel until late June because of the lack of clarity from the government.

    “We are trying to run a business so that we can take customers away, but we need the Government to provide us with clarity to achieve this,” Jet2 Chief Executive Steve Heapy said in a statement on Friday.

  • CASHED UP BRITS HAVE SAVED £18BILLION DURING COVID LOCKDOWNS – SURVEY

    Brits have managed to save at LEAST £18billion as a result of Covid lockdown restrictions, according to new research from Auto Trader, by:

    • Not dining out (71%)
    • Not going on an overseas holiday (51%)
    • Not travelling to the office (27%)

    Auto Trader, the UK’s largest digital marketplace for new and used cars, found that Brits have been stashing the cash, with 41% saving at least £1,000 over the past twelve months, while over one in 10 (14.7%) have managed to save over £3,000.

    When asked how they were going to spend their newfound savings, two-fifths (41%) of those surveyed confessed they’d like to splash their cash on a new car.

    Auto Trader is hailing Saturday April 17 – the first Saturday car dealerships can reopen – as ‘New Car Day’, anticipating a huge surge in footfall at forecourts and record-breaking sales for the industry.

  • START THINKING ABOUT BOOKING OVERSEAS HOLIDAYS, SAYS SHAPPS

    People can “start to think” about booking overseas summer holidays, according to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

    The Cabinet minister said it is the first time in “many months” he was not advising against booking foreign trips.

    Today Shapps announced a “framework” for the resumption of overseas leisure travel, which included requiring all arrivals to take pre-departure and post-arrival coronavirus tests.

    Post-arrival tests must be the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) type which cost about £120, he said.

  • AUSTRALIA BUYS EXTRA 20MILLION PFIZER JABS

    Australia has sealed a deal to buy an extra 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine – rather than rely mainly on AstraZeneca jabs.

    PM Scott Morrison announced the deal just hours after saying Australia would stop using the AstraZeneca vaccine for people aged under 50.

    While there is no ban of the AstraZeneca vaccine – and the risk of side effects are remote – he said the change was made out of an abundance of caution.

    But Australia’s tweaked Covid jab rollout is likely to delay plans to have everybody inoculated by October.

    Australia’s pivot came after the European Medicines Agency said this week it had found a possible link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and rare blood clots, though regulators in the UK and the EU emphasised that the benefits of receiving the vaccine continue to outweigh the risks for most people.

    Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison
    Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison
  • GOVERNMENT ‘RISKS WASTING A HUGE AMOUNT OF MONEY’ ON WEEKLY TESTS

    The Government risks “wasting a huge amount of money” on coronavirus testing unless more support is given to people to self-isolate, a scientific adviser has said.

    Professor Stephen Reicher, from the University of St Andrews and a member of the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours (Spi-B), which advises ministers, said more financial and practical support is needed.

    Prof Reicher said that, for some people, self-isolating is impractical or they lose pay and “the way out of that is just simply to avoid a test”.

    The solution is “something that has been suggested for months now, actually probably since the beginning of the pandemic a year ago, which is that we need to give more support to self-isolation,” he added.

    “To test people without thinking about what you’re going to do with those tests, making those things possible, is wasting a huge amount of money.”

  • DEREK DRAPER STILL CAN’T MOVE AFTER COVID

    Derek Draper’s return to the family home “feels like the start of a huge chapter but a really big and important one,” his thrilled wife, Kate Garraway, told Good Morning Britain viewers.

    She added: “He can’t really move, we do need a lot of help, it is 24-hour care, it’s going to take a lot of adjustment.

    “It does feel like the hospital has come home with me at the moment.”

    It is hoped the move will prompt “some recovery because he has definitely plateaued at this level.

    “We’re hugely grateful for this level and not losing him. But we really want to see if we can move forward, if we can get him speaking more, if he’s able to move more – it’s going to be very slow and a bit of a wait-and-see,” she said.

  • KATE GARRAWAY SAYS IT’S ‘AMAZING’ TO FINALLY HAVE HUSBAND HOME

    Kate Garraway says it is “amazing” to have husband Derek Draper home.

    Draper was admitted to hospital in March last year with coronavirus symptoms.

    Presenter Garraway told Good Morning Britain of the decision to bring him home: “It felt as though everything had stalled medically and, if anything, was going slightly back.”

    She said doctors decided “let’s give this a go, get him home safely”, to see whether being in the family environment helps.

    He “absolutely knew he was home”, she said.

    Pictured before he was struck down with Covid: Derek Draper is back home with wife Kate Garraway and children Darcey and Billy
    Pictured before he was struck down with Covid: Derek Draper is back home with wife Kate Garraway and children Darcey and Billy
  • MUM’S BLOOD CLOT FEARS AFTER ASTRAZENECA JAB…CONTINUED

    The mum-of-two, from Burslem, Staffs, said: “I couldn’t do much and I was getting out of breath just moving around. It’s a really dangerous situation to be in. You can die from these blood clots.

    “I’ve been referred to the respiratory clinic. I’ve then got to go back in three months for another CT scan to check the blood clots on my lung. Then we will go from there.”

    Beckie says she has now been advised by her doctor not to have the second dose, adding, “the hospital said the blood clots were caused by the vaccine.

    “They explained that you can get blood clots through not moving around or through having an operation, but other than that the only other thing was the vaccine.

    “The doctor has advised me not go for the second vaccine because it could lead to more blood clots. I’ve never had any issues with clots before.”

    A Stoke-on-Trent mum claims to have suffered blood clots in her lung after having the first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine
    A Stoke-on-Trent mum claims to have suffered blood clots in her lung after having the first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccineCredit: BPM
  • MUM’S BLOOD CLOT FEARS AFTER ASTRAZENECA JAB

    An angry mum claims to have suffered blood clots in her lung after having the first dose of the Oxford- AstraZeneca vaccine.

    Beckie Wilson had the jab on March 11, and says she soon started to experience symptoms such as shortness of breath.

    The 35-year-old went to see her GP and was initially put on a course of antibiotics, but when this didn’t work she was referred for blood tests and a CT scan.

    And on Wednesday last week, Beckie says medics at the Royal Stoke University Hospital told her they had discovered blood clots in her lung.

    Now the warehouse worker has been put on blood thinning medication and is off work for three weeks.

  • HEATHROW AIRPORT BOSS – TRAFFIC LIGHT SYSTEM ‘GOOD STEP FORWARD’

    Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye has welcomed the Government’s traffic light system approach to travel, but says there are “far better ways” than using a costly PCR testing system for returning passengers.

    He told BBC Breakfast: “It’s good news that we now have flying opened up again from May 17 at the earliest, and I think the risk-based approach with this traffic light system is a good step forward, and I think Grant Shapps has done a very good job to steer that through Government.

    “All of us will welcome the fact that if you are going to a country that is green, where there’s very low risk of variants of concern, very low levels of Covid, that you won’t need to quarantine when you’re back.”

    He added: “If you are a British citizen, you’ve been fully vaccinated, and are going to somewhere low risk such as Israel or the United States, not only do you have to have a test before you get on the plane coming back to show that you don’t have Covid, you then have to take an expensive PCR test after you arrive to demonstrate again.

    “Most people would say: ‘That makes no sense, that’s a £150 bill I shouldn’t have to be paying when I’ve already demonstrated I don’t have Covid’.”

  • HAIRDRESSERS TOLD NOT TO OFFER HIGHLIGHTS FROM APRIL 12

    Hairdressers have been told NOT to offer highlights, braids or other ‘long’ treatments when they reopen on Monday, April 12.

    Instead, services should be kept “short and basic” to reduce the time customers spend in the chair.

    Government guidance states hair and beauty salons “should consider providing shorter, more basic treatments to keep the time to a minimum”.

    So shaggy-haired Brits looking forward to long-awaited treatments may find they cannot book anything considered a ‘long’ or ‘complex’ procedure.

    This could include highlights, braids or deep conditioning treatments. It also means lengthy massages could also be off the cards.

    Our shaggy-haired PM is no doubt keen for a professional trim from April 12
    Our shaggy-haired PM is no doubt keen for a professional trim from April 12Credit: AFP



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