Prime Minister Boris Johnson is poised to set out further lockdown easing measures for the UK, including plans to resume holidays and mass gatherings.
Mr Johnson said the country can look forward to “brighter days ahead” following a “very tough” year, with the Easter holiday bringing fresh optimism for the weeks and months ahead.
Here’s what the PM is due to announce an update on travel and indoor events, and what to expect.
When is Boris Johnson’s next announcement?
The Prime Minister will make a series of announcements on lockdown changes at a Downing Street press conference at 5pm on Monday (5 April).
His announcement will come after the Cabinet has met online to discuss the country’s next stage towards easing restrictions.
The PM will be joined by England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.
What will be announced?
Mr Johnson is expected to set out the next steps out of lockdown in England, focusing on lockdown, travel and Covid passports.
The PM will announce plans for a “Covid status certification” scheme to enable the safe return of mass gathering and indoor events, with a series of trial events to take place over the next few months.
The ‘vaccine passports’ will show if a person has been vaccinated against Covid-19, had a recent negative test, or has “natural immunity” having tested positive in the previous six months.
The first trial is due to take place on 16 April at the Hot Water Comedy Club in Liverpool, followed two days later by the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on 18 April.
The scheme will also be tested at the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, which runs from 17 April to 3 May, and a mass participation run at Hatfield House on 24 and 25 April.
The pilots will culminate with the FA Cup Final, again at Wembley, on 15 May.
Officials are working with clinical and ethical experts to ensure there are “appropriate exemptions” for people who are advised not to get the vaccine and for whom repeat testing would be difficult.
The NHS is also currently working on ways of providing people with the means to demonstrate their Covid status through “digital and non-digital routes”.
The review is looking at how ventilation and testing on entry could facilitate the safe return of audiences to mass events and closed settings.
Ministers believe the scheme will be most useful in managing the risks where there are large numbers of people in close proximity, such as music festivals, sporting matches and nightclubs.
Certification will not apply to businesses which are due to reopen over the coming weeks, including pubs, restaurants and non-essential retail, as well as on public transport.
A further social distancing review is also looking into ways of allowing closer contact between friends and families, enabling greater capacity on public transport and reducing distancing requirements within venues and workplaces.
What about travel?
The PM will also outline the government’s plans for easing restrictions on foreign travel, ahead of its global task force report on 12 April.
Ministers have made clear that the ban on foreign holidays will remain until 17 May at the earliest.
It is expected that rules will then be replaced with a risk-based “traffic light” system, with countries to be rated as red, amber or green.
This rating will be based on a range of factors, including the proportion of the population that has been vaccinated, rates of Covid infection, emerging new variants, and the country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing.
Travellers returning to the UK from “green” rated countries will not be required to self-isolate, although pre-departure and post-arrival Covid tests will still be needed.
Those returning from counties classed as “amber” or “red” will be required to self-isolate or enter quarantine.
Officials have said it is still too early to predict which countries would be on which list and are continuing to advise against booking summer holidays abroad.
Changes from 12 April
In addition to the Covid certification scheme and plans for foreign travel, Mr Johnson is also set to announce further changes for lockdown measures due to take place on 12 April are on course to go ahead.
This means that the following will open from this date:
- Non-essential retail
- Personal care premises, such as hairdressers and nail salons
- Public buildings, including libraries and community centres
- Indoor leisure facilities, such as gyms (but only for use by people on their own or in household groups)
- Most outdoor attractions, including zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas
- Outdoor hospitality, including pub beer gardens
- Self-contained accommodation, such as campsites and holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households
The number of people who can attend weddings, receptions and funerals will also rise to 15.