UK residents travelling abroad without a valid reason may face up to £5,000 fines under new legislation set to be passed by the British parliament this week. The move comes as a new wave of Covid-19 cases begins to take hold in European countries, including Germany and France.
Although travelling abroad without a good reason is forbidden under existing lockdown measures, the new legislation will make it a stand-alone offence. Valid reasons for foreign travel currently include work, volunteering, education, medical needs, and weddings or funerals.
Speaking on the anniversary of the start of the first Covid-19 lockdown, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK was “cautiously and irreversibly” on the path to freedom. Mr. Johnson paid tribute to the 126,284 people who lost their lives within 28 days of testing positive for coronavirus, “at the right time we will come together as a country to build a fitting and permanent memorial to the ones we’ve lost and to commemorate this whole period,” he said.
Asked whether there was anything that he wished he had done differently during the pandemic, he said: In retrospect, there are probably many things that we wish that we'd known or many things that we wish we had done differently at the time in retrospect, because we were fighting a novel disease under very different circumstances than any previous government had imagined.
Booster jabs in the Autumn
Speaking at the same press conference, Downing Street scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said that there will most likely be a need for booster jabs in the autumn. Mr. Vallance said that current data show that Covid-19 antibodies generated for six months, and it is expected that vaccine-generated antibodies will last for the same time. However, Government medical adviser Dr Chris Witty said that full re-vaccination may be required if the virus changes a lot.