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COVID-19: UK travel ban on South America, Portugal over new variant fears

The discovery of a highly transmissible variant of coronavirus in the UK prompted many countries around the world, including India, to introduce travel bans for arrivals from the UK in December last year.The latest move comes as mandatory pre-departure negative COVID test requirements come into effect for anyone travelling into the UK, by boat, plane or train, from early on Monday.

PTI | London | Updated: 14-01-2021 22:56 IST | Created: 14-01-2021 22:54 IST
COVID-19: UK travel ban on South America, Portugal over new variant fears
Representative Image Image Credit: ANI

Travel to the UK from anywhere in South America, as well as Portugal, has been banned due to fears over a new coronavirus variant first identified in Brazil.

The UK government's COVID-19 operations committee met on Thursday to discuss the issue of the Brazilian variant and announced that the ban on travellers from these countries will come into effect from 4 am on Friday.

''I've taken the urgent decision to ban arrivals from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Cenezuela – from tomorrow, 15 Jan at 4 am following evidence of a new variant in Brazil," UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in a Twitter statement.

"Travel from Portugal to the UK will also be suspended given its strong travel links with Brazil – acting as another way to reduce the risk of importing infections. However, there is an exemption for hauliers travelling from Portugal (only), to allow transport of essential goods," he said.

''This measure does not apply to British and Irish Nationals and third country nationals with residence rights – but passengers returning from these destinations must self-isolate for 10 days along with their households,'' he added.

Travel bans have previously been introduced for those coming from Denmark and South Africa, in response to other new variants that have been detected in those countries. The discovery of a highly transmissible variant of coronavirus in the UK prompted many countries around the world, including India, to introduce travel bans for arrivals from the UK in December last year.

The latest move comes as mandatory pre-departure negative COVID test requirements come into effect for anyone travelling into the UK, by boat, plane or train, from early on Monday. On arrival back into the UK, Border Force will check passengers test results through the current spot check regime, to ensure that individuals are compliant with the new rules, and passengers will be subject to an immediate fine of GBP 500 for any breach.

Permitted travellers will need to take their test up to 72 hours before departure, and this will apply irrespective of whether a country is on the travel corridor or air bubble list.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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