Published on : Friday, January 15, 2021
The Government of United Kingdom has banned international arrivals from the whole of South America, as well as Portugal, Panama and Cape Verde, over concerns about the escalation of a new variant of COVID-19.
The new restrictions will come into effect at 4am on Friday morning, giving returning travellers just 12 hours to find their way home.
The Brazilian variant was first announced last Monday after Japanese health officials identified four air passengers arriving in Tokyo from Brazil’s Amazonas state as carriers.
While scientists are still uncertain whether it is any more transmissible than other variants of coronavirus, or if it will prove to be more resistant to new vaccines, Boris Johnson appeared to confirm yesterday that a flight ban would be enforced, telling a parliamentary cross-party committee: They are putting in extra measures to ensure that people coming from Brazil are checked: and indeed stopping people coming from Brazil.
The Brazilian authorities have already banned flights from the UK, announcing their decision last month after a separate mutation of Covid-19 was discovered in southeast England. This means there are currently no direct flights from Brazil to the UK, although travellers are still able to make the journey by transiting through other countries.
There will also be a flight ban on any countries with direct flights to England. These are Argentina, Brazil, Cape Verde and Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores). This excludes cargo and freight without passengers.
The decision to ban travel from these destinations follows the discovery of a new coronavirus variant first identified in Brazil, that may have spread to countries with strong travel links to Brazil.
The United Kingdom does currently not have travel corridors with Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela, and the travel corridors with Chile, Madeira and the Azores will be closed. Anyone returning from these countries from 4am on Friday will be legally required to self-isolate for ten days.