UK extends entry ban to travellers from 11 African countries to prevent spread of variant found in SA
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London - The United Kingdom said on Thursday it would extend a ban on travellers entering England to southern African countries in a measure to prevent the spread of a new Covid-19 variant identified in South Africa.
The restriction will take effect on Saturday and remain in place for two weeks, the government said in a statement.
"Entry into England will be banned to those who have travelled from or through any southern African country in the last 10 days, including Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Eswatini, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Mozambique and Angola – as well as Seychelles and Mauritius," the country's Department for Transport said.
In addition, it said, "Israel (and Jerusalem) would be removed from the list of travel corridors for England and people arriving from Jan. 9 from Botswana, Israel (and Jerusalem), Mauritius or Seychelles would need to self-isolate."
The UK had previously said it had temporarily banned entry of passengers to England arriving from South Africa from Dec 24, excluding British and Irish Nationals, visa holders and permanent residents, who will be able to enter but are required to self-isolate for 10 days.
Reuters also reported that passengers arriving by boat, plane or train will have to take a test up to 72 hours before departing for England, the transport ministry said, mirroring measures taken by many other countries around the world.
"We already have significant measures in place to prevent imported cases of Covid-19, but with new strains of the virus developing internationally we must take further precautions,"Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in a statement.
Britain has been among the countries worst-hit by Covid-19, and its economy suffered the sharpest contraction of any in the Group of Seven during the first wave of infections last spring.