UK to close all travel corridors as of Monday
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Friday that the U.K. will close all travel corridors as of Monday.
The travel corridors will close as of 4 a.m. on Monday 18 January. This means that all travellers arriving in the U.K. will need to self-isolate for 10 days upon their arrival, regardless of where they travelled from.
The Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps also took to Twitter to make the announcement:
Travel Corridors assess public health risk from the original SARS-COV-2, but it’s impossible for the Joint Biosecurity Centre to provide live scientific updates to predict which countries or regions will now originate new variants. Travel Corridors are therefore suspended for now
— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) January 15, 2021
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference after Shapps’ announcement, Johnson confirmed that the new rules will be in place until at least 15 February.
“It’s vital to take these extra measures now when day-by-day we are making such strides in protecting the population,” Johnson said.
Arriving travellers from international destinations will either have to quarantine for a full 10 days or take part in the Test to Release programme. Under that scheme, travellers can elect to take a COVID-19 test after quarantining for five days. If the test produces a negative result, they can forgo the rest of their quarantine.
Johnson said that the government will be stepping up its enforcement efforts at the border.
“Travel corridors were a lifeline for the industry last summer and the government were right to bring them in when they did,” Airlines UK CEO Tim Alderslade said. “But things change and there’s no doubting this is a serious health emergency.”
This new development comes in the wake of fears of new strains of the COVID-19 virus spreading rapidly around the world. Earlier in the week, the U.K. announced that all arrivals from South America, Portugal and the Azores will be banned as of Friday 15 January.
The U.K.’s travel corridors were first introduced by the government in July 2020 when international travel was reintroduced, following a strict lockdown and several months where travel was completely off the cards.
Since 6 January, England has been in its third national lockdown. As such, all non-essential travel is illegal.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Featured photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images
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