UK bans arrivals from South America over Brazil coronavirus variant

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Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps on December 15, 2020. (Photo by David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Britain’s Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, on Thursday said that arrivals from South American countries and Portugal will be banned due to concerns over a new Brazilian variant of the coronavirus.

“I’ve taken the urgent decision to ban arrivals from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela – from tomorrow, 15 Jan at 4am (0400 GMT) following evidence of a new variant in Brazil,” Shapps wrote on Twitter.

Shapps said that Portugal was also added to the list because of close travel links with Brazil. Although he said that workers transporting essential good from Portugal would be exempt.

He also said that the new measures would not apply to British and Irish nationals and third-country nationals with residence rights, but passengers returning from those destinations must self-isolate for 10 days.

Under terms of a national lockdown introduced last week, international travel is already not allowed anywhere except for work and other limited reasons.
“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,” Shapps tweeted.

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