The United Kingdom’s government has added four new countries to its ‘red list’ of countries at high risk of importing COVID-19 ‘variants of concern’.
This decision means that effective 4 a.m. on 9th April, travel to England from the Philippines, Pakistan, Kenya and Bangladesh will be largely banned.
Some travellers still allowed
British, Irish and third-country nationals with residence rights (including long-term visa holders) will still be permitted to enter the country, but will be required to quarantine for ten days in a government-approved hotel.
The Department for Transport warned that ‘No direct flight bans from these countries will be put in place, but passengers are advised to check their travel plans before departing for England’.
The DfT said that the move ‘follows new data showing an increased risk of importation of variants of concern’ from these destinations.
Eligible arrivals will be required to take a coronavirus test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8, and will not be allowed to shorten their quarantine period on receipt of a negative test result. They will also not be able to end their managed quarantine early through the ‘Test to Release’ scheme.
Growing list of countries
Nearly 40 countries have been added to the red list to protect the UK from imported cases of the so-called Brazilian and South African variants of COVID-19.
The DfT said:
With over 30 million vaccinations delivered in the UK so far, the additional restrictions will help to reduce the risk of new variants – such as those first identified in South Africa (SA) and Brazil – entering England. So far, surveillance has found that few cases of the SA variant have been identified as being imported from Europe, with most coming from other parts of the world.
The countries that are in the ‘red list’ include:
- Cape Verde
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- French Guiana
- Kenya (will be added to the list at 4 a.m. on 9th April)
- Pakistan (will be added to the list at 4 a.m. on 9th April)
- Philippines (will be added to the list at 4 a.m. on 9th April)
- South Africa
- United Arab Emirates (UAE)