PM to announce plans for COVID passports, overseas travel and next step out of lockdown

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Boris Johnson is set to announce plans for COVID passports, overseas travel and whether the next step out of lockdown will happen next week.

The prime minister will hold a 5pm news conference today after he chairs a virtual meeting of the COVID-19 Operations (COVID O) committee, which formulates and advises Mr Johnson on coronavirus policy.

He will brief the full cabinet on the arrangements for the latest phase of lockdown lifting in England ahead of the news conference.

PM to announce plans for COVID passports, foreign travel and lockdown roadmap at 5pm – follow live coronavirus updates

People sunbathe and swim on El Arenal beach in Palma de Mallorca
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A traffic light system could allow people from ‘green’ countries to return without quarantining

The second step of the roadmap out of lockdown is meant to start on 12 April and will see non-essential shops, hairdressers and beauty salons reopen.

Outdoor hospitality can also reopen, with the rule of six or a larger group from two households, and self-catering holidays in the UK with your own household allowed.

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Pubs can start serving outdoors from 12 April
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Pub gardens could be reopened in the next stage of restrictions easing

As part of the roadmap, there is a minimum of five weeks in between each step – four weeks for the scientific data to reflect the changes and to be analysed, followed by a week’s notice of which restrictions will be eased.

Mr Johnson will announce a system for “COVID-status certification” which could allow people to return to sporting fixtures, theatres and other public events.

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People who have been vaccinated, have had a recent negative test or natural immunity based on a positive test in the previous six months, could be allowed to attend venues.

Pilots will take place from mid-April to trial the system at nine events, including Liverpool’s Hot Water Comedy Club, the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield, Liverpool’s Circus nightclub and the FA Cup semi-final and final at Wembley.

Wembley is now in line to welcome fans for the delayed Euro 2020 tournament this summer
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A COVID passport system will be trialled at events, including the FA Cup semi-finals and finals at Wembley

The prime minister will also reveal details about a traffic light system that will be introduced when international travel is allowed to resume – from 17 May at the earliest.

Passengers travelling from countries in the green category will not need to isolate on their return, but pre-departure and post-arrival tests will be needed.

People arriving from red and amber countries would still need to quarantine.

The Global Travel Taskforce, which was assessing how overseas travel could restart, said it is too early to predict which countries will be on that list.

Mr Johnson is also expected to talk about the twice-weekly rapid COVID tests everyone in England will be expected to take from Friday to prevent outbreaks.