UK govt bans travel from four more nations over virus; 39 in all

Under the travel bans, international visitors who have departed from or travelled through red-list countries in the preceding 10 days are refused entry into England.

The Associated Press April 03, 2021 15:25:20 IST
UK govt bans travel from four more nations over virus; 39 in all

File photo of passengers arriving at Heathrow Airport in London. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

London: The British government is gearing up to ban international arrivals from four more countries — Bangladesh, Kenya, Pakistan and the Philippines — amid concerns over new virus variants but opted against including European nations that are facing a resurgence of the virus.

The Department for Transport said Friday the number of countries on its “red list” will reach 39 when the latest restrictions take effect in England beginning 9 April. The other nations of the UK — Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — have similar lists.

Under the travel bans, international visitors who have departed from or travelled through red-list countries in the preceding 10 days are refused entry into England. Countries on the list include Brazil and South Africa, where two of the most concerning virus variants have been identified.

British and Irish citizens and people who have residence rights in the UK can enter, as commercial flights are not banned. However, they must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days at their own expense and must take a COVID-19 test on days two and eight of their self-isolation.

The measures are aimed at reducing the risk posed by new virus variants into the UK, which has recorded Europe’s highest COVID-related death toll, with over 1,26,500 deaths.

No European nations are on the British red list, even though much of Europe is witnessing a resurgence of the virus that has prompted many countries to reimpose lockdown restrictions. Health experts say the surge is being driven by virus variants, including the one first identified in Britain, that are sweeping the continent. The World Health Organisation on Thursday bemoaned the slow pace of vaccinations in European nations other than Britain, saying they were losing the race to protect their people.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government has faced questions in recent days as to why France, which is suffering one of the worst outbreaks in Europe, is not on the list. Yet putting France on the red list could have serious implications for trade flows in and out of the UK, given its reliance on traffic from cross-Channel ports.

The UK transport department said the majority of cases of the South African variant detected in England so far were linked to international travel and that very few are thought to have come from Europe.

The UK has seen new coronavirus infections and deaths fall sharply since the winter amid a strict 3-month lockdown and a rapid rollout of coronavirus vaccines. The UK has now given a first vaccine shot to over 31 million people, or around 46 percent of its population, a much higher rate than the rest of Europe.

This week restrictions on gatherings in England were relaxed following a big drop in new cases from a daily rate of around 70,000 earlier this year. The UK on Friday recorded 3,402 new infections, its lowest level since mid-September. The main easing this week allows groups of up to six people, or two households, to meet outdoors.

Johnson on Friday urged people to follow the rules and to not mix indoors during this Easter weekend even if people have received a vaccine shot.

“Even though your friends and family members may be vaccinated, the vaccines are not giving 100 percent protection, and that’s why we just need to be cautious,” he said during a question and answer session on Twitter. “We don’t think that they entirely reduce or remove the risk of transmission.”

Updated Date:

also read

Astronauts can expect shrinking hearts, other changes from long stints in low gravity
science

Astronauts can expect shrinking hearts, other changes from long stints in low gravity

Astronaut Scott Kelly's heart shrunk considerably despite exercising almost every day, which worked to stop bone & muscle wasting.

Containment ops sub-optimal in Satara, Sangli and Aurangabad, says Centre's report to Maharashtra govt
India

Containment ops sub-optimal in Satara, Sangli and Aurangabad, says Centre's report to Maharashtra govt

The Central teams found an 'acute shortage of healthcare workforce' in seven districts, including Satara, Palghar, Jalgaon and Jalna, the report said

India reports highest single-day spike of over 1.15 lakh new COVID-19 cases; tally reaches 1,28,01,785
India

India reports highest single-day spike of over 1.15 lakh new COVID-19 cases; tally reaches 1,28,01,785

A total of 1,15,736 infections were reported in a day, while the toll rose to 1,66,177 with 630 new fatalities, the Union health ministry's data showed