Travel to the UK from every country in South America, as well as Portugal, has been banned due to fears over the coronavirus variant first identified in Brazil.
The government’s COVID-19 operations committee met at lunchtime to discuss the issue – and the ban will come into effect from 4am on Friday.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted: “I’ve taken the urgent decision to BAN ARRIVALS from ARGENTINA, BRAZIL, BOLIVIA, CAPE VERDE, CHILE, COLOMBIA, ECUADOR, FRENCH GUIANA, GUYANA, PANAMA, PARAGUAY, PERU, SURINAME, URUGUAY AND VENEZUELA – from TOMORROW, 15 JAN at 4AM following evidence of a new variant in Brazil.
“Travel from PORTUGAL to the UK will also be suspended given its strong travel links with Brazil – acting as another way to reduce the risk of importing infections. However, there is an exemption for hauliers travelling from Portugal (only), to allow transport of essential goods.
“This measure does not apply to British and Irish Nationals and third-country nationals with residence rights – but passengers returning from these destinations must self-isolate for TEN DAYS along with their households.”