Travel industry leaders have struck out at the UK over its “cautious” approach to easing holiday restrictions as the Government prepares to release its “green list” of countries travelers can visit without having to quarantine after.
In a joint article in The Daily Telegraph, leaders of British Airways, easyJet, Jet2, Heathrow Airport and the Manchester Airport Group took aim at the British government’s “overabundance of caution”.
In particular, the group hit out at the government’s plan to require fully vaccinated holidaymakers to take a PCR test when returning home from a country on the green list.
“Instead of taking advantage of the success of the vaccine programme the Government risks closing the UK off from the rest of the world,” they said.
The industry chiefs said that while they wanted to support a “safe reopening...if we are not prepared to accept any risk then travel will never restart and we will not be able to support UK travel and tourism businesses and supercharge the UK’s economic recovery.”
Meanwhile, a new study has found that the risk of blood clots after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine is “small”.
The study, which looked at the vaccine’s rollout in Denmark and Norway, said that while the absolute risk of blood clotting was small, it said that ultimately, the risks linked to the jab should be “interpreted in the context of the benefits of Covid-19 vaccination”.
France widens vaccine rollout to 16 and 17 year-olds at high risk
France has moved to widen its Covid-19 vaccine rollout to teenagers aged 16 and 17 at high risk of suffering major illness if they contract coronavirus.
The country’s health ministry made the announce on Thursday, according to Reuters.
The health ministry said the teenagers would be able to get the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine from Thursday onwards.
EU willing to discuss Covid vaccine patent waiver
The European Union is willing to discuss a proposal, which has received backing from the US, to waive intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has said.
Speaking on Thursday about the bloc’s vaccination efforts, with 30 Europeans vaccinated per second, von der Leyen said the EU “is also ready to discuss any proposals that addresses the crisis in an effective and pragmatic manner”.
“That’s why we are ready to discuss how the US proposal for a waiver on intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines could help achieve that objective,” she said.
South Africa and India initially proposed the waiver at the World Trade Organization in October in an effort to make vaccines more widely available.
Until now, the EU has stood in opposition to the waiver, along with Britain, under the argument that it could give companies less incentive to produce vaccines quickly in the future.
Additional reporting from Reuters
Covid nails: The surprising sign you may have had coronavirus
A sign that you may have had Covid-19 could be right at the tips of your fingers, researchers say.
Since the start of the pandemic, a number of new signs and symptoms of Covid-19 have been discovered.
And now, researchers have said unexpected grooves on your fingernails could be the latest sign you may have had coronavirus.
Read more about the possible sign:
They are harmless on their own, and should not cause concern as an individual symptom
Retail footfall a third lower than pre-Covid levels despite shops re-openings
Visits to UK shops rose significantly last month as coronavirus restrictions were lifted, yet they still stayed well below levels seen before the pandemic, new data shows.
According to research firm Springboard, retail footfall in April was 240.8 per cent higher than the same month last year, when the country was under a full lockdown.
Yet, the new figures were still nearly a third down from April 2019’s levels.
Jon Sharman takes a look at the data and what it means:
There is ‘significant pent-up consumer demand for bricks-and-mortar stores’, experts say
Simon Calder’s advice ahead of the UK’s ‘green list’ release
With the Government set to reveal its “green list” of countries from which returning travellers will not need to quarantine, many have questions about the new “traffic light” system.
Our travel correspondent Simon Calder is here to answer those questions - and he also has some advice.
During a recent Clubhouse event hosted by The Independent, Simon took on some of the biggest questions around hte new traffic light plan.
Read on for his advice and give a listen to the Clubhouse event:
The new “traffic light” system has triggered many questions, and our travel correspondent, Simon Calder gave his answers to some of your questions during a Clubhouse event hosted by The Independent
The 10 most asked questions about travel and 'traffic lights'
Come Monday 17 May, the UK’s months-long ban on international travel for non-essential purposes will officially be over.
On Friday, we will know more about the UK’s new “traffic light system” and where countries fall on the scale, which evaluates the risk that arrivals from abroad could pose to public health in the UK.
Our travel correspondent Simon Calder addresses some of the biggest questions people have about the lifting of travel restrictions and the UK’s new traffic light system:
The Independent estimates between 30 and 40 countries and territories will be on the ‘green list,’ possibly alongside some islands
Two Pfizer doses found to be effective against Covid-19 ‘infection, illness and death'
Two doses of Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine can provide more than 95% protection against infection, severe illness and death, nationwide data from Israel has suggested.
Meanwhile, a single dose of the jab was found to be associated with 58% protection against infection, 76% against hospital admission, and 77% against death, the data, which was published in The Lancet suggests.
Israel is currently leading the world in Covid-19 vaccinations, having seen more than half of the population given two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab.
The country has seen new cases of Covid-19 drop drastically since its vaccination programme launched, with numbers dropping from a peak of more than 10,000 cases a day in January to just a few hundred in March when the nation’s lockdown lifted.
Since then, Israel’s economy has almost fully reopened, with sporting events and concerts having been able to move forward.
The researchers behind the new study said it shows the importance of fully vaccinating adults against Covid-19.
Additional reporting by PA.
Risk of blood clots after AstraZeneca jab ‘small’, study says
The absolute risk of blood clots after the AstraZeneca Covid-19 jab is “small”, a new study has found.
Examining the available data in Denmark and Norway, the study, which was published in the BMJ, suggests that the vaccine was linked to increase rates of vein blood clots compared with expected rates in the general population.
However, it said that the risk of developing such a blood clot was small.
Comparing data on 281,264 people to data from the general population, researchers found 59 blood clots in the former group compared with 30 expected in the general population, equating to 11 excess blood clotting events per 100,000 vaccinations, including 2.5 additional blood clots in the brain per 100,000 vaccinations.
They did not find an increase in the rate of arterial clots, causing heart attacks or strokes.
Researchers said that the risks linked to the vaccine should be “interpreted in the context of the benefits of Covid-19 vaccination”.
The UK medicines regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, had previously determined that there is a “possible link”between the AstraZeneca jab and extremely rare blood clots.
Despite that, Denmark and Norway have stopped using the AstraZeneca jab in their immunisation programmes.
Additional reporting by PA
Travel leaders take aim at UK’s ‘cautious’ approach to easing holiday restrictions
Travel industry leaders have taken aim at the UK over its “cautious” approach to easing holiday restrictions ahead of the release of the Government’s “green list” of countries that travelers will be able to visit without having to quarantine after.
In a joint article inThe Daily Telegraph, heads of British Airways, easyJet, Jet2, Heathrow Airport and the Manchester Airport Group accused the government of an “overabundance of caution”.
In particular, the group hit out at reported plans requiring fully vaccinated holidaymakers to pay for a PCR test upon returning home from green list nations.
“Instead of taking advantage of the success of the vaccine, programme the Government risks closing the UK off from the rest of the world,” the industry leaders said.
“We want to be able to support a safe reopening, but if we are not prepared to accept any risk then travel will never restart and we will not be able to support UK travel and tourism businesses and supercharge the UK’s economic recovery,” they said.
The warning comes amid expectations that the Government’s list of green list countries will be exceptionally small.
On Thursday, ministers will determine which countries will get the green light, with the list expected to include Malta, Gibraltar, Israel, Iceland and maybe Portugal, according to PA.
Much of Europe is expected to be amber, The Telegraph has reported, which will mean holidaymakers will have to self-isolate for at least 10 days upon their return and take two PCR tests.
Covid-19 poses challenges in rural India
A second wave of Covid-19 that has engulfed India is posing severe challenges in the country’s rural areas which have very limited healthcare systems.
"The situation has become dangerous in villages," Suresh Kumar, a field coordinator with a human rights charity, told Reuters. He said in some villages in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, "there are deaths in almost every second house.”
He also said that while people have symptoms of Covid-19, many think it is seasonal flu because no information is available to them.
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