Friday April 2, 2021
Travelers wearing a face mask or covering stand at check-in desks at Terminal 2 of Heathrow Airport in London on December 21 as a string of countries around the world banned travellers arriving from the UK./Niklas Halle'n/AFP via Getty Images
Travel bans are to be introduced for visitors from the Philippines, Pakistan, Kenya and Bangladesh, the British Department of Transport (DfT) said Friday.
The four countries have been added to England's so-called "red list" amid concerns about new COVID-19 variants, such as those first identified in South Africa and Brazil.
From 4:00 a.m. (0400 GMT) on April 9, international visitors who have departed from or transited through the Philippines, Pakistan, Kenya and Bangladesh in the previous 10 days will be refused entry into England.
The DfT said only British and Irish citizens, or those with residence rights in Britain, including long-term visa holders, will be allowed to enter and they must stay in a government-approved quarantine facility for 10 days.
No direct flight bans from the countries will be put in place but passengers are being advised to check their travel plans before departing for England.
During their stay, passengers will be required to take a coronavirus test on or before day two and on or after day eight, and they 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.
The latest restrictions take the total number of countries on England's "red list" to 39.
Earlier this month, Mauritius and Portugal were removed from the "red list" while Oman, Ethiopia, Qatar and Somalia were added.
"The government has made it consistently clear it will take decisive action if necessary to contain the virus and has added these destinations to the red list to protect public health," said the DfT in a statement.
"The government continues to work with the hospitality sector to ensure it is ready to meet any increased demand," the statement said.
British nationals currently in the countries on the "red list" should make use of the commercial options available if they wish to return to England. Commercial routes that will enable British and Irish nationals and residents to return to England continue to operate, said the DfT.
Overseas holidays are currently banned due to Britain's coronavirus lockdown measures, but British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to make an announcement on Easter Monday about lifting restrictions in England.
It comes as foreign getaway destinations are expected to be ranked under a traffic light system, with fewer restrictions for countries with low rates of infections and high vaccination take-up.
To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Russia, the United States as well as the European Union have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines.