Britain will further tighten entry restrictions by closing all its “travel corridors” with other countries in order to stem the spread of new CCP virus variants, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday.
“We must take additional steps now” to reduce “the risk of new strains coming from overseas,” he said during a news conference held in Downing Street.
“To protect us against the risk of as yet unidentified new strains, we will also temporarily close all travel corridors from 0400 on Monday.”
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
He said the government had coordinated with all devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland so that the change will apply across the whole of the UK.
The change means all passengers must have a recent negative CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus test and transfer immediately into isolation upon arrival. The isolation period lasts for 10 days, unless the passenger tests negative after five days.
The UK has banned travel from South America and Portugal from Friday morning to tackle a potential new CCP virus variant that emerged in Brazil, which has raised concerns among some scientists due to similarities to a variant in South Africa.
There will be more enforcement checks & fewer exemptions. International arrivals will need to have a negative COVID-19 test & self-isolate for 10 days or Test to Release after 5. This action will slow the spread of new variants whilst millions receive their vaccinations.— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) January 15, 2021
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Friday afternoon that all travel corridors must now be closed because “it’s impossible for the Joint Bio-security Centre to provide live scientific updates to predict which countries or regions will now originate new variants.”
Johnson told reporters that over 3.2 million people had been vaccinated against the virus across the UK.
“What we don’t want to see is all that hard work undone by the arrival of a new variant that is vaccine busting,” he said.
The UK reported on Friday 55,761 more positive CCP virus cases, and 1,280 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
“This is not the time for the slightest relaxation of our national resolve and our individual efforts,” Johnson said.