Week Ahead: Boris Johnson expected to reveal new foreign travel rules and Grand National returns

More details are expected from Boris Johnson on international travel, while the Grand National returns without its normal crowds. Chris Burn looks into the week ahead.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing on coronavirus from Downing Street's new White-House style media briefing room in Westminster, London. Picture: Hollie Adams/PA Wire

AWAY WE GO?

With the next stage of lockdown easing due to take place from next Monday as shops, beer gardens, hairdressers and holiday cottages are allowed to reopen, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to give an Easter Monday press conference today to confirm the changes are going ahead.

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Mr Johnson is also reportedly due to give an “update” on the plans surrounding foreign travel, despite the Government’s Global Travel Taskforce not being scheduled to officially report its recommendations until April 12. International travel will not be allowed to resume until May 17 at the earliest.

Currently, foreign travel from the UK is only permitted for limited reasons such as work, education, medical treatment and funerals but there are hopes that holidays and visits to loved ones will soon be allowed in some form once again.

The Financial Times has reported that Mr Johnson is expected to back a “traffic light” approach to restarting foreign travel, based on Covid-19 case rates and the prevalence of variants in overseas destinations.

There may also be more information revealed about the plans for potential Covid-19 health certification, which may potentially require people to show their vaccination or test result status to gain entry to businesses like pubs.

Today’s anticipated update comes exactly a year after Mr Johnson himself was taken to hospital due to coronavirus. He was discharged a week later following three days in intensive care.

BACK IN THE SADDLE

Aintree promises to be a surreal sight on Randox Grand National day when the world’s greatest steeplechase takes place on Saturday without crowds at the world-famous Merseyside course.

However it will mark a return to sporting normality after the 2020 meeting became an early casualty of the Covid pandemic.

With 2018 and 2019 hero Tiger Roll not lining up, there will be a new winner with the veteran Malton steeplechaser Definitly Red, trained by Brian Ellison, carrying the hopes of Yorkshire.

ON THE MARKET

The state of the property market will be under scrutiny on Friday as Halifax releases its latest house  price study.

Its last report at the start of March revealed that house prices were 0.1 per cent lower in February compared to January - but still 5.2 per cent higher than at the same point last year.

Halifax managing director Russell Galley said at the time: “The housing market has been at something of a crossroads at the start of this year, with upcoming events key to determining the path of activity and prices over the next few months.

“The government’s decision to extend the stamp duty holiday – one of the main drivers of demand from homemovers during the pandemic – has removed a great deal of uncertainty for buyers with transactions yet to complete.”

TAKE TWO

The Bafta film awards will be handed out over two nights at the weekend, with two largely virtual ceremonies.

Eight of the gongs will be handed out on Saturday in a BBC Two show hosted by Clara Amfo.

The programme will also feature the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema recipient, who will be at the Royal Albert Hall to collect their award in person.

The main ceremony will take place on Sunday and will be hosted by Dermot O’Leary and Edith Bowman, who will be joined by a small group of awards presenters at the Royal Albert Hall.

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