British holidaymakers still hoping to escape abroad this summer may see their plans hit by delays in passport and birth registrations, in addition to restrictive travel quarantine rules.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that HM Passport Office (HMPO) workers faced more than 400,000 applications backlogs due to delays caused by the coronavirus crisis.
Reduced staffing to allow for delayed operations at a social distance, but the government has since pledged to prioritize “most deprived” applications.
On Friday, HMPO said it had issued over 6,500 passports for individuals “on compassionate and emergency situations”.
It is also committed to fast-tracking applications for people with pre-existing travel bookings.
An update on its website said: “Where a UK based customer can demonstrate that they will be traveling for the next two weeks, and where HMPO has received their application for renewal applications for more than four weeks, it will speed up their application so that it is delivered within delivered five business days. ”
HMPO encouraged people to apply online and book trips alone until they received their passports.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he wants to tackle the “backlog in Britain” by accelerating government operations.
Elsewhere, the Local Government Association (LGA) said city officials are also struggling with a “significant” backlog of requests to register births after such services were suspended for three months due to the pandemic.
Passport applications require a full birth certificate.
According to an analysis of 23 municipalities in England by the Times newspaper, there is a backlog of nearly 40,000 births to register.
Cllr Katrina Wood, vice chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said some councils now offer appointments in offices where security measures can be implemented.
She added: “The registrations must be done in person, so we urge the government to consider allowing them to be made by phone or online in the future, and as part of further local or national locks in response to the pandemic.
“Greater flexibility in the birth registration process would help municipalities reduce delays and families can have a smoother experience.”
A County Councils Network (CCN) spokesperson, representing England’s largest local authorities, said they had followed government guidelines and that the safety of staff and the public had come first, leading to a backlog in construction.
She added: “With the Council’s personal services reopening, our councils will work hard to fill the gap, and many have started stepping up their efforts and resources to do this, including prioritizing to those who need to register a birth for travel purposes. “
But before planning trips abroad, vacationers should check that they can do so safely under the latest government guidelines.
This month, the government began to relax the rules to stop demanding that people returning to or arriving in England from certain countries isolate themselves for two weeks.
Popular holiday destinations such as Spain and France are on the “travel corridors” list, but after the latest update, Portugal, Thailand and the US remain noticeably absent.
The Department of Transportation has said updates will be made every week “to reflect the changing international health picture.”
On Thursday, the Spanish Ministry of Health reported 971 new daily infections, the largest daily increase since the closure in Spain.
In the northeastern region of Catalonia, authorities announced the two-week closing of discos and dance halls on Friday to curb the transmission of coronavirus.
Portuguese ambassador to the UK, Manuel Lobo Antunes, previously said that his government would make “no effort” to hide its disappointment at being kept off the quarantine-free list.
He wrote in The Daily Telegraph earlier this month: “We believe that the scientific arguments in support of the UK government’s decision, which we obviously respect, including data, models and other factors, were not detailed.”