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United Kingdom bans travel from South America and Portugal

The UK government has banned travel from several South American countries and Portugal.

This decision that was announced yesterday and came in effect today at 04:00 this morning (15th January,2021) is in “response to new evidence highlighting the likely spread of a new coronavirus variant in South America”.

This rule will apply to all those passengers who have been in or transited through Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Cape Verde, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Panama, Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores), Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela in the last ten days.

British and Irish Nationals, and or third country nationals with residence rights in the UK, will be exempt from the ban, although there will be a ban on all direct passenger flights from these countries to the UK. This includes existing services from Argentina, Brazil, Cape Verde and Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores).

As part of the move, existing travel corridor agreements with Chile, Madeira and the Azores have been closed.

Note also that all arrivals will have to self-isolate for ten days, and will not be allowed to be released from self-isolation through the Test to Release scheme.

Hauliers who have been in or transited through Portugal in the last ten days will be exempt to allow transport of essential goods, but there will be no other exemptions related to employment.

Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps is quoted by the BBC as saying that as holidays from the UK are not currently permitted, he did not “expect a large number of Brits to have jaunted off to South America”, and the government was “not expecting to see a big repatriation issue as a result”.

The UK government yesterday also published details of the COVID-19 testing requirements which will come into force for arrivals into England from 04:00 on 18th January,2021. Check out the details here.

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