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Travel stocks dip ahead of UK COVID update

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Britain's Health Secretary Sajid Javid arrives for a regional cabinet meeting at Rolls Royce in Bristol, southewest England, on October 15, 2021. (Photo by Steve Parsons / POOL / AFP) (Photo by STEVE PARSONS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Travel stocks fell as uncertainty mounted around whether Health Secretary Sajid Javid's speech will include imposing restrictions on travel. Photo by Steve Parsons via Getty Images

Travel stocks dipped on Wednesday in London as yet another potential roadblock threatened the industry and UK COVID cases swelled. 

By lunchtime in London British Airways owner International Airlines Group (IAG.L) was down 4.2%, EasyJet had (EZJ.L) declined 3.4% and Ryanair (RYA.L) had fallen 1.7% as news filtered through of a press conference to be given by the UK's health secretary Sajid Javid at 5pm. 

In the UK, a further 223 people died within 28 days of testing positive for COVID as of Wednesday, according to data from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). It is the highest figure for daily reported deaths since 9 March.

The number of people testing positive for the virus in the UK has been rising in recent days to more than 40,000 daily cases.

In the past three months there have been roughly as many cases as there were during the three months last winter, which allows us to compare the two time periods.

International lockdowns were a prominent feature in previous periods with high caseloads, as fears of new variants spreading across the world. The UK was in near-total travel lockdown last Christmas. 

The government said this week that testing for fully-vaccinated travellers would remain in place until the end of the year, despite calls from airlines and lobby groups to relax the testing regimes, bringing the UK in line with European neighbours. 

The UK moved to a two-tiered travel system in early October with different rules applying to those arriving from "green" and "red" list destinations. 

There are now only seven countries on the red list — including Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela. 

Read more: Facebook fined £50.5m by UK's competition regulator over Giphy buyout

Hotel quarantine will remain in place for all red list countries, regardless of vaccination status. This means anyone arriving in the UK from one of these countries will have to quarantine in a government-designated hotel for 10 days, at a cost of over £2,200 for a solo traveller.

Rules for the rest of the world differ depending on your vaccination status. 

There is speculation on whether the government moving to 'Plan B' for tackling the virus would also include restrictions on travel. 

Plan B was put forward in the Commons by Javid in September as an alternative set of "contingency" measures that would be implemented "only if [it was] needed" to protect the NHS.

The plan is focused on more domestic measures to mandate face coverings in certain settings. 

Watch: Expert explains why the UK might be seeing rising Covid cases

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