Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to hold a press conference on coronavirus this afternoon.
It’s the day Health Secretary Matt Hancock made Covid announcements in the House of Commons – including adding India to the Red List of Travel.
Mr Johnson is expected to announce soon the results of a study on whether foreign travel from England will be allowed this summer.
The trip could start as early as May 17, but the government has been checking to see if it is safe.
Mr Johnson is also likely to discuss the vaccination project and concerns about the link between vaccines and blood clots.
Ministers admitted yesterday that 557 cases of the South African variant and 103 of the Indian variant have been found in the UK so far.
Both saw some “community broadcast” – meaning they had no obvious connections with international travel.
The announcement is expected from Downing Street at 5 p.m.
Professor Sir Mark Walport, former chief scientific advisor to the government, told BBC Breakfast this morning that the decision to put India on the Red List may have come a little late.
“These decisions are almost inevitably made a little late in truth, but what is absolutely clear is that this option is more transferable in India,” he said.
“You can see that it becomes the dominant variety, and the other concern is that there will be a second change in the spike protein, which may mean it can escape an immune response, either natural or natural, a bit more effectively Vaccine-induced, so there are good reasons to keep them out of the country if possible.
“What we need to do is vaccinate the population and prepare booster vaccines that will be able to deal with these new variants. So it is very important to buy time … against these new variants.”
He said that over time, NHS Test and Trace also “gets really important”, especially when case numbers are so low that “there is a greater chance that cases will be stamped and isolated as they come out”.
When asked if he was confident that the next restriction lift would take place on May 17th, Sir Mark said, “So far, so good. The number of cases is small, but new cases are still emerging, and it is for this reason that data, not data, matter.
“It takes time, we’ve only been under the latest relaxations for a few days and just have to see the numbers stack up over the next few weeks, but so far so good and with the good weather it’s so nice to be optimistic, should we’ll be fine for the next phase as long as people are careful. “