The closest date for resumption of non-essential international travel will be May 17, and officials warned on Monday that a further delay may be necessary if coronavirus cases continue to increase in other countries. The decision will be made closer to the date, they said.
With falling hospitalization and mortality rates and the successful vaccination campaign, which administered at least one dose to more than 31.5 million people, the United Kingdom must continue to gradually lift the restrictions in place since the beginning of January.
Thus, from April 12, non-essential stores can reopen, pubs and restaurants will be able to serve customers at outdoor tables, establishments such as beauty salons will be reopened, while attractions such as zoos can receive visitors.
The government plans to live with the coronavirus for the long term, so it develops a Covid passport system and all citizens are encouraged to take free rapid tests twice a week.
The prime minister outlined the plans along with the provisional conclusions of four policy reviews at a press conference in London on Monday.
The document confirmed information previously released by Bloomberg about a possible delay in resuming international travel on May 17, due to the worsening of the pandemic situation in Europe, and a new system of “traffic lights” that would come into force to classify countries based on on the Covid-19 risk.
The government “hopes” that summer holidays will be possible this year, but advises people not to make reservations “until the picture is clearer”. For the time being, non-essential trips abroad are not allowed, officials said.
Covid certification will be crucial to allowing trips to be replenished more quickly, according to authorities.
The document says the government plans to develop a way to “easily demonstrate” a person’s Covid status. The certification aims to demonstrate that a person has natural immunity after testing positive for the coronavirus, has been vaccinated or tested negative recently.
The status can be displayed via a smartphone application or a paper document to allow social distance rules to be relaxed and thus help companies to resume operations and the public to return to events.
A pilot program for mass events will test different approaches to social distance rules, ventilation, test protocols at the entrance and Covid passports. Initially, certification will only involve testing, but this model should include vaccination status and natural immunity in the future.
A review of social detachment will take into account when families will be able to embrace again and whether, with Covid passports, detachment rules may be suspended.
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