US warns against travel to 80% of world
The US state department is to advise Americans to avoid 80% of countries worldwide because of the pandemic.
Currently, the highest category of the department's four risk levels - "Do Not Travel" - covers 34 out of 200 countries.
In a note to the media about its updated travel guidance, officials said the pandemic continued to "pose unprecedented risks to travellers".
Only three places in the world are assessed at the lowest risk level - "Exercise normal precautions" - Macau, Taiwan and New Zealand. Even Antarctica is at level two - "Exercise increased caution" - while the UK is at level three - "Reconsider travel" - with an extra warning to exercise caution because of the risk of terrorism.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends all Americans refrain from travelling domestically until they have been fully vaccinated.
Air passengers 'at risk' at border
Long delays at UK airport border conrols are a "breeding ground" for Covid infection, a Parliamentary committee has been told.
Lucy Moreton, general secretary of the Immigration Services Union, agreed that travellers and airport staff faced risks, saying people could currently find themselves standing for up to five hours in a confined space.
Giving evidence to the All-Party Group on Coronavirus, she was asked about government plans for a traffic light system to grade countries on their risk when lesiure travel starts to resume.
She said "it is not possible to segregate people from red, amber and green" in the airport.
"Even if we separate that one risky passenger out, at some point in that journey, my understanding is that... we are not truly isolating that risk."
Ms Moreton says plans to reintroduce e-gates at borders should help ease delays - and the technology can check whether a form detailing a pasenger's journey has been filled out. But she said the system cannot verify whether a passenger is telling the truth about where they have been.
"A lot of the border, immigration, migration and quarantine controls are based on trust. We trust people when they say they haven’t been in a red-list country in the last 10 days. We trust people when they say they are going to quarantine."
Border staff spotting 100 fake test documents a day
About 100 people are trying to enter England each day with a fake negative Covid certificate, a Parliamentary commitee has been told.
The documents are "very easy" to forge and it is "inherently unknowable" how many people who are not caught are adopting the same practice, Lucy Moreton, from the Immigration Services Union said.
To enter the country people must provide proof of a negative test taken in the three days before departure,
which can take the form of a printed document, email or text message.
Asked how border officers were able to verify proof of a negative test, Ms Moreton told the All Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus: "We're not is the simple answer, it's predominately taken on trust."
She added a spelling error gave some fake documents away but added: "Otherwise they are taken at face value... these things are very easy to knock up electronically unfortunately."
Will infections rise as UK lockdown eases?
The risk from new variants and the people mixing as lockdown eases could pose a continued threat in the UK, experts have warned.
Addressing the Parliament's All-Party Group on Coronavirus Dr Stephen Griffin from the University of Leeds medical school, said preventing the importation of cases and maintaining the vaccination programme will be key in the months ahead.
But he said it may be necessary to maintain some level of restrictions.
Prof Deenan Pillay, a member of the independent government advisory group Sage, told the hearing that the UK was doing a "tremendous job" in immunisation, and this will have a significant impact on hospital admissions.
But he said he was worried about variations in terms of vaccination uptake and the risk factors of being exposed to Covid in different parts across the country and suggested future waves could be more localised and focused on areas of disadvantage.
Prof Lawrence Young from the University of Warwick said: "We just can't predict the behaviour of these variants and how they are going to impact on outbreaks, on the possibility of reinfection and on the degree to which the vaccinations are protective against those variants."