The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has announced this evening that the latest lockdown restrictions will be eased from December 2nd, however announced tiered restrictions that are expected to be in place until at least March. Though the UK remains marked as a high-risk territory by the ECDC, and therefore anyone travelling from there needs to be tested before flying to spain, travellers are expected to be allowed to go on holiday once again so long as they do not live in a tier 3 area, which means they will be subject to the greatest level of restrictions. The Canary Islands expect a surge in bookings, not only as the only sub-tropical destination in Europe, but also having achieved the very lowest infection rates in all Europe, with many hoping that rules around testing will also be improved to include rapid antigen tests as well as PCR, so as not to impede visitors with more expense than necessary.
Several parts of England will however enter tougher restrictions than they had before the latest national lockdown, following Government scientific advice that the previous tiered system did too little to tackle the virus. It is not yet clear how the new tiered system will affect holidaymakers wanting to come and find summer winter sunshine, though ailing tourist businesses across the islands expect a surge in interest and in bookings over the holiday period.
People will no long be confined to their homes, and those in the most relaxed tier 1 or tier 2 areas will be able to travel again. Those in the most restrictive tier 3, however, will not legally be allowed to travel.
The UK Government set out their COVID-19 Winter Plan which says: “The stay at home requirement will end, with domestic and international travel being permitted again subject to guidance in each tier.”
Johnson made his Downing Street appearance from self-isolation via videolink, and gave some details of changes to the tiers:
– Tier 2, alcohol can now only be bought in hospitality settings, along with a substantial meal.
– Tier 3, pubs and restaurants can only offer takeaway and delivery services, whereas indoor entertainment, hotels and other accommodations will be closed.
The 10pm curfew is to be relaxed, last orders at 10 and shut by 11pm.
“From next Wednesday people will be able to leave their home for any purpose and meet others in outdoor public spaces, subject to the rule of six, collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports can resume, and shops, personal care, gyms and the wider leisure sector can reopen. But without sensible precautions, we would risk the virus escalating into a winter or New Year surge.” Johnson said
Further information is to be set out on Thursday along with which areas of England are to go into which tiers for the start of December.
“I’m sorry to say we expect that more regions will fall at least temporarily into higher levels than before,” he warned.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine team announced today that they had proved 70% effective with their trial vaccine, though evidence is that it can be more than 90% effective with a different dosage than in the trials. Some experts are suggesting that the first doses of the new UK vaccine could be available before the end of the year.