Related Video: Ryanair boss ‘very optimistic’ as overseas travel reopens
Pubs and restaurants across England will welcome shoppers inside for the first time in months as the next step in social distancing restrictions is relaxed.
Thousands of holidaymakers are also expected to take flight as the ban on overseas travel is lifted in England and Wales.
Home visits to friends and family are permitted from Monday – and hugs and other physical contact between households are also permitted for the first time since restrictions began over a year ago.
However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called for a “heavy dose of caution” as indoor socialization and physical contact resumes amid concerns over the Indian variant of the coronavirus.
The measures are relaxed amid calls for caution from top scientists, who warn of a “perilous moment”, with the Indian variant fearing it will be up to 50% more transmissible than the Kent strain.
Minister urges people not to travel to Amber List countries when returning from vacation abroad
Business Minister Kwasi Kwarteng urged people not to travel to Orange List countries as the blanket ban on overseas travel was lifted today.
Our political correspondent Ashley Cowburn has the whole story:
Chiara GiordanoMay 17, 2021 9:30 p.m.
The embrace is a “high risk procedure”, according to the professor
Professor Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, said the embrace was a “high-risk procedure”.
The member of the Advisory Group on New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats (Nervtag) told BBC Breakfast: “Some of us are quite happy not to kiss and kiss on the cheek multiple times.
“It’s a high risk procedure, I would say in medical terms, and I certainly wouldn’t be kissing people up close.
“I think you can greet people from a distance perfectly with a smile and a kind word. “
Chiara GiordanoMay 17, 2021 9:20 AM
Flight prices to green list countries will not be increased, easyJet boss suggests
EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren has suggested that prices for flights to greenlist countries will not be increased in the coming months.
Speaking at Gatwick Airport, near London, on the first day people in England and Wales were allowed to go on holiday abroad, he said: ‘We have prices from from £ 28.99, so you will always find flights exceptionally affordable and offer a lot of value for money.
“So pricing is also very dynamic, and we want to make sure that we can get as much capacity there to meet demand as we know is there.
“Travel is the number one thing people want to do the most during the pandemic and lockdown, so it’s not a lack of demand.
“It all comes down to restrictions and making sure those can be (unrolled) so that we can start traveling on a larger scale.”
Chiara GiordanoMay 17, 2021 9:15 p.m.
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Chiara GiordanoMay 17, 2021 9:12 AM
Success of ‘key’ vaccination program to clear overseas travel, says easyJet boss
EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said “the success of the vaccination program” in the UK and Europe has been “essential” to enable overseas travel.
When asked if there was a blue sky ahead for the travel industry, he said: “I think so, and the key to that is clearly the success of the vaccination program that is currently in progress. being rolled out, not only in the UK but we are also seeing that is taking place in many other European markets.
“This is the key to getting back to safe travel. “
He added: “The latest data suggests that most of Europe could already from now on switch to this green list of categories.
“And we know there is a huge pent-up demand for people to not only go on vacation, but to visit friends and family they haven’t been able to see due to the pandemic and the fact that ‘it was illegal to travel, so today is a big day for us. ”
Chiara GiordanoMay 17, 2021 9:05 AM
Ryanair records record annual loss of £ 702million as planes take to ground
Ryanair has lost £ 702million in the past 12 months as its planes were grounded and passengers stayed at home during the coronavirus crisis.
Ireland’s low-budget airline said its traffic fell 81% from 149 million passengers to just 27.5 million due to the pandemic.
My colleague Tim Wyatt has more details about it:
Chiara GiordanoMay 17, 2021 8:55 AM
“Nothing in the evidence” to suggest Indian variant will escape vaccines, says business secretary
The business secretary said there was “nothing in the evidence” to suggest the Indian variant could escape Covid-19 vaccines being deployed in the UK.
Kwasi Kwarteng told Sky News: “(Health Secretary) Matt Hancock made it very clear yesterday that he was convinced the vaccination was working against the Indian variant.
“But of course, we can’t prove absolutely anything until we relax and see what the real data shows, and that’s why we have some flexibility.
“But there is nothing in the evidence now that we have seen that suggests the vaccine is not very effective against the Indian variant. “
Chiara GiordanoMay 17, 2021 8:45 p.m.
The risk of the Indian variant being transmitted by people traveling outside the UK, warns Wellcome Trust
Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, has warned that there is a risk that the variant first identified in India could be transmitted by people traveling outside the UK.
He told BBC Radio 4 Today program: “Britain is a very small, very connected country and the possibility of local cases becoming regional, then regional, becoming national is very clear.
“And it’s also connected internationally and I think it’s also a problem not only for importing new variants entering the country, but also for people traveling out of the country – there is a risk that this variant B.617 can be transmitted from You know.
“I think travel should always be very careful and only when it is absolutely essential.”
Chiara GiordanoMay 17, 2021 8:35 AM
Shadow of infectious Indian variant hangs over lockdown relaxation
The shadow of the highly contagious Indian variant of Covid-19 loomed over Britain’s largest stage still out of lockdown this morning, as ministers warned they could not rule out regionalized restrictions or the reversal of movements towards a normal life.
Our political editor Andrew Woodcock Explain:
Chiara GiordanoMay 17, 2021 8:25 AM
Boris Johnson calls for ‘heavy dose of caution’ as indoor socialization resumes
Boris Johnson has called for a “heavy dose of caution” as indoor socialization and physical contact resumes amid concerns over the Indian variant of the coronavirus.
The Prime Minister said “now everyone must play their part” as England move forward with the third roadmap step out of lockdown.
He said in a statement on Sunday evening: “Together we have taken another important step in our roadmap, but we must take this next step with a strong dose of caution.
“We are closely monitoring the spread of the variant identified for the first time in India and acting quickly where infection rates increase.”
“Current data does not indicate unsustainable pressure on the NHS and our extraordinary vaccination program will accelerate – with second doses purchased to give the most vulnerable maximum protection.
“But now everyone has to play their part – by getting tested twice a week, showing up for your vaccine on call and remembering the hands, face, space and air. fresh.