A+ A-

UK adds 6 African countries to coronavirus red list

LONDON, Nov 25 (KUNA) -- British Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid on Thursday announced new travel restrictions on arrivals from six African countries as investigations continue into a new variant of coronavirus (Covid-19).
The government is taking decisive precautionary action by introducing the restrictions on arrivals from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia from midday tomorrow (Friday, November 26), he told reporters.
"We are taking precautionary action to protect public health and the progress of our vaccine rollout at a critical moment as we enter winter, and we are monitoring the situation closely," Javid affirmed.
"I want to pay tribute to our world-leading scientists who are working constantly to keep our country safe, and I urge everyone to keep doing their bit by the getting the jab and following public health guidance," he added.
The precautionary action comes as Variant B.1.1.529 is declared a Variant under Investigation (VuI) by the Health Security Agency (UKHSA), according to a press release from the Department of Health and Social Care.
The variant includes a large number of spike protein mutations as well as mutations in other parts of the viral genome.
These are potentially biologically significant mutations which may change the behaviour of the virus with regards to vaccines, treatments and transmissibility, the statement reads, noting that more investigation is required.
From midday on Friday November 26, non-UK and Irish residents who have been in these countries in the previous 10 days will be refused entry into England, the statement affirmed.
This does not apply to those who have stayed airside and only transited through any of these countries while changing flights.
UK and Irish residents arriving between midday Friday 26 November and 4am Sunday 28 November from these six countries will be required to self-isolate at home for 10 days. They must take PCR tests on Day 2 and Day 8 post-arrival.
These can be NHS PCR tests and passengers should take them even if they have already booked or taken their lateral flow test.
UK and Irish residents arriving from 4am Sunday must isolate in a government-approved facility for 10 days. During their stay, they will be required to take a coronavirus test on day 2 and day 8.
A temporary ban on commercial and private planes travelling from the six countries will also come into force at midday on Friday until 4am Sunday to reduce the risk of importing this new variant under investigation while hotel quarantine is stood up. (end) mrn.gb