UK closes all travel corridors over rising covid cases
London, Jan. 16, 2021 (AltAfrica)-The UK is to close all travel corridors from Monday morning to “protect against the risk of as yet unidentified new strains” of Covid, the PM Boris Johnson has announced
From Monday, anyone flying into the country from overseas will have to show proof of a negative Covid test before setting off.
It comes as a ban on travellers from South America and Portugal came into force on Friday over concerns about a new variant identified in Brazil.
Boris Johnson said the new rules would be in place until at least 15 February.
A further 1,280 people with coronavirus have died in the UK within 28 days of a positive test, taking the total to 87,291.
The latest government figures on Friday also showed another 55,761 new cases had been reported – up from 48,682 the previous day.
Travellers will need to present proof of a negative test result to their carrier on boarding, while the UK Border Force will conduct spot checks on arrivals.
New arrivals who flout the rules will face a minimum £500 fine while the operator who transported them will also be fined.
Passengers will still have to quarantine for 10 days regardless of their test results, or receive a negative result from a coronavirus test taken at least five days after they enter the UK.
Travellers will have to take an internationally approved test, and guidance released by the Department for Transport said they could include PCR tests, nasal and throat swab tests, which take between 12 and 24 hours to return results.
Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (Lamp) tests, which can return results in two to three hours, and lateral flow tests, which generate results in less than 30 minutes, are also acceptable.
Results can be produced as physical documents or by email or text but must be in English, French or Spanish. Translations will not be accepted.
Scotland and Wales have adopted similar policies.
There are limited exemptions, including hauliers, young children, train crew and people arriving from countries which do not have the infrastructure for testing.
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, the prime minister said it was “vital” to take extra measures now “when day by day we are making such strides in protecting the population”.
“It’s precisely because we have the hope of that vaccine and the risk of new strains coming from overseas that we must take additional steps now to stop those strains from entering the country.”
Meanwhile, more than two million people around the world have now died with the virus since the pandemic began, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.