UK bans arrivals from South America and Portugal as of Friday

Jan 14, 2021

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On Monday, the U.K. government announced that it’s banning arrivals from South America, Cape Verde and Portugal as of Friday 15 January.

Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps took to Twitter to make the announcement, calling it an “urgent decision.” The news comes amid news of the emergence of a new strain of COVID-19 in Brazil.

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As of 4 a.m. on Friday, the U.K. has banned all arrivals from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Related: England delays pre-departure COVID-19 testing requirement for international arrivals until Monday

Portugal has been included in the ban because of its strong flight route network to and from Brazil, the origin of the worrying new strain of the coronavirus.

Cape Verde, which is situated in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Mauritania and Senegal in Africa, is also on the banned list, presumably for the same reason.

Shapps stressed that the new ban on flights from South America and Portugal do not apply to British and Irish nationals as well as those with residency rights in the U.K. Additionally, hauliers travelling from Portugal will be exempt on when transporting essential goods.

The U.K. found itself in a similar situation to Brazil before Christmas when it was on the receiving end of a travel ban. More than 50 countries around the world stopped flights to and from the U.K. with immediate effect because of a rapid-spreading new strain of the virus, which had been discovered in Kent and the South-East of England.

Related: UK goes back into strict lockdown as COVID-19 variant spreads

On Monday a similar urgent, last-minute announcement was made when Dubai was removed from the travel corridor list.

Earlier on Thursday, England delayed the start date of mandatory pre-departure testing for arrivals into England. Instead of 4 a.m. on Friday, arrivals into England will now be required to show a negative COVID-19 test — or face possible denied entry or a fine — as of 4 a.m. on Monday 18 January.

Featured image by FG Trade/Getty Images.

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