November 30, 2021

UK bans travel to South Africa over new Covid variant

The UK authorities has positioned South Africa and 5 different nations onto its much-maligned travel ‘red list’ following the emergence of a new Covid-19 variant in Southern Africa.

UK well being Secretary Sajid Javid stated that from midday on Friday (12h00, 26 November), flights to and from the nations shall be quickly banned. Any UK nationals arriving from the desired nations can have to quarantine.

The choice comes off the again of a new Covid variant rising in nations similar to Botswana and South Africa, which displays an ‘alarming’ variety of mutations.

The variant, designated as B.1.1.529 by the WHO, has sparked considerations about its transmissibility, severity and potential vaccine resistance.

The Nationwide Institute for Communicable Illnesses (NICD) issued an alert on Thursday (25 November), confirming that the variant has been detected in lots of instances within the nation, with extra to be confirmed as sequencing outcomes come out.

It seems to be the primary driver of a spike of infections in and round Gauteng, with native well being officers speculating that it might already be broadly distributed throughout all provinces. The NICD warned that detected instances of the new variant and the variety of individuals testing optimistic are rising rapidly.

Whereas the impression and significance of the mutations are nonetheless unsure, scientists have predicted that the variant shall be extremely transmissible and sure to be resistant to immunisation.

Javid stated including the six nations to the UK’s purple listing was thus about “being cautious and taking action and trying to protect. as best we can, our borders”, the BBC reported.

The nations added to the UK’s purple listing are:

  • South Africa;
  • Namibia;
  • Zimbabwe;
  • Botswana;
  • Lesotho; and
  • Eswatini.

The UK modified its travel restrictions and necessities in October, transferring to a system that offers with vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers, with a shorter listing of nations which can be outright banned.

The South African authorities and native branches of multinational companies labored onerous to persuade the UK to take away South Africa from the listing of banned nations. This has now been undone.

Non-UK residents travelling from purple listing nations will not be permitted, no matter vaccination standing. The foundations for purple listing nations are as follows:

You probably have been in or travelled by way of a rustic or territory on the purple listing within the 10 days earlier than you arrive in England, you’ll solely be allowed to enter the UK in the event you both:

  • Are a British or Irish Nationwide;
  • Have residence rights within the UK.

Earlier than you travel to England you will need to:

  • Take a Covid-19 check – you will need to take the check within the 3 days earlier than you travel to England;
  • E-book a quarantine resort package deal, together with two COVID-19 assessments;
  • Full a passenger locator type.

This have to be carried out even when you’ve got been vaccinated, the UK well being division stated.

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