All travel corridors into the United Kingdom will be suspended from 04:00 on Monday. The announcement was made this evening by the country’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson. It comes just days after it was revealed that the UK was delaying requiring a COVID-19 test before travel until Monday at the same time.
When the UK first implemented a quarantine for incoming travelers, it applied to anybody regardless of their point of origin. Gradually, low-risk countries were placed on a travel corridor list, meaning that quarantine would not apply. However, many countries have been removed from the list as case numbers continue to rise.
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Travel corridors suspended
United Kingdom prime minister Boris Johnson this evening revealed that the UK would be suspending travel corridors on Monday. Commenting on the suspension, Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport, said,
“Travel Corridors assess public health risk from the original SARS-COV-2, but it’s impossible for the Joint Biosecurity Centre to provide live scientific updates to predict which countries or regions will now originate new variants. Travel Corridors are therefore suspended for now.”
Two changes in 24 hours
This is the second time changes have been made to the travel corridor policy in the past 24 hours. Last night, it was revealed that travel would be banned from 14 South American countries, in addition to Portugal and Cape Verde. These changed came into play at 04:00 this morning and were prompted by a new COVID-19 variant spotted in South America.
With some exceptions, any travelers who have been in one of the banned countries within the past ten days won’t be permitted to enter the UK. Those allowed would be required to quarantine for ten days, as would anybody staying with that person, regardless of if they themselves have traveled.
What do the changes mean for those traveling to the UK?
Essentially, the changes mean that with a list of exceptions, anybody currently permitted to travel to the UK will be subject to restrictions. Firstly, from 04:00 on Monday, all UK bound travelers must have a negative COVID-19 test no more than three days old.
With the removal of travel corridors, those not exempted from quarantine will have to do so for ten days. Of course, it is possible to reduce this to five days thanks to the government’s test to release scheme.
In further comments on the new rules, Shapps mentioned that the government would be increasing enforcement checks on those entering the country from abroad to ensure that they’re following the rules.
Additionally, he mentioned that there would be fewer exemptions to quarantining. At the time of writing, the government listed 60 different job-related exemptions to quarantining. Shapps said that the move would help slow the spread of new variants while millions are being vaccinated.
What do you make of the new rules? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!