Authorities introduces precautionary journey restrictions on arrivals from South Africa

The federal government is taking decisive precautionary motion in opposition to a brand new COVID-19 variant by introducing journey restrictions on arrivals from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia from noon tomorrow (Friday 26 November).

It comes as Variant B.1.1.529 is said a Variant below Investigation (VuI) by the UK Well being Safety Company (UKHSA).

The variant consists of numerous spike protein mutations in addition to mutations in different elements of the viral genome. These are doubtlessly biologically important mutations which can change the behaviour of the virus almost about vaccines, therapies and transmissibility. Extra investigation is required.

No circumstances have been recognized within the UK. We’re taking these precautionary measures to guard public well being and the progress we have made to this point by means of our profitable vaccination programme.

From noon on Friday 26 November, non-UK and Irish residents who’ve been in these nations within the earlier 10 days will likely be refused entry into England. This doesn’t apply to those that have stayed airside and solely transited by means of any of those nations whereas altering flights.

UK and Irish residents arriving between noon Friday 26 November and 4am Sunday 28 November from these six nations will likely be required to self-isolate at dwelling for 10 days. They have to take PCR assessments on Day 2 and Day 8 post-arrival. These may be NHS PCR assessments and passengers ought to take them even when they’ve already booked or taken their lateral circulation check.

UK and Irish residents arriving from 4am Sunday should isolate in a government-approved facility for 10 days. Throughout their keep, they are going to be required to take a coronavirus check on day 2 and day 8.

A brief ban on business and personal planes travelling from the six nations may also come into drive at noon on Friday till 4am Sunday to cut back the danger of importing this new variant below investigation whereas lodge quarantine is stood up. This excludes cargo and freight with out passengers.

The UK authorities thanks the federal government of South Africa for its surveillance of this variant and its transparency. In the meantime the UKHSA continues to watch the state of affairs carefully, in partnership with scientific and public well being organisations internationally, and we’ll supply to work collaboratively with the six nations which were presently positioned on the UK purple listing to grasp the virus and doable mitigations.

Secretary of State for Well being and Social Care Sajid Javid stated:

As a part of our shut surveillance of variants internationally, now we have change into conscious of the unfold of a brand new doubtlessly regarding variant, which UKHSA has designated a Variant below Investigation.

We’re taking precautionary motion to guard public well being and the progress of our vaccine rollout at a essential second as we enter winter, and we’re monitoring the state of affairs carefully.

I need to pay tribute to our world-leading scientists who’re working always to maintain our nation secure, and I urge everybody to maintain doing their bit by the getting the jab and following public well being steering.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps stated:

We have all the time maintained public security is our primary precedence, which is why we have stored in place measures which permit us to guard the UK from new variants.

We’re taking this early precautionary motion now to guard the progress made throughout the nation, and can proceed to maintain a detailed eye on the state of affairs as we proceed into the winter.”

Dr Jenny Harries, UKHSA Chief Govt, stated:

Scientists at UKHSA are in fixed shut collaboration with colleagues around the globe to determine and assess variants as quickly as they emerge. That is probably the most important variant now we have encountered up to now and pressing analysis is underway to study extra about its transmissibility, severity and vaccine-susceptibility. The outcomes of those investigations will decide what public well being actions could restrict the impression of B.1.1.529

It is a clear reminder to everybody that this pandemic isn’t over, and all of us have a duty to do what we will to restrict transmission and scale back the an infection charge and stop the emergence of recent variants. This implies coming ahead for vaccination as quickly as doable and following public well being recommendation. Put on a face protecting in crowded locations the place it is tough to keep away from coming into shut contact with others, attempt to meet individuals in well-ventilated areas and search a check instantly in case you have signs.”

The primary genomes of this variant have been uploaded to the worldwide GISAID database on 22 November. Genomes have now been uploaded from South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong however the extent of unfold isn’t but decided.

The federal government has been clear it would take decisive motion if essential to include the virus and has taken the choice so as to add these locations to the purple listing.

We proceed to work with the hospitality sector to make sure it is able to meet any elevated demand – with a whole bunch of rooms on standby which may be made out there to guide as wanted.

British nationals in these nations ought to examine Overseas, Commonwealth and Improvement Workplace (FCDO) journey recommendation and observe native steering. The FCDO will proceed to supply tailor-made consular help to British nationals in nation in want of help abroad on a 24/7 foundation.

The UKHSA produces danger assessments of the unfold of Variants of Concern or Variants below Investigation internationally. These danger assessments cowl a spread of things for every nation together with evaluation of surveillance and sequencing functionality, out there surveillance and genome sequencing information, proof of in-country group transmission of COVID-19 variants, proof of exportation of recent variants to the UK or different nations and journey connectivity with the UK.


  • British and Irish residents, or these with residence rights, arriving to England from nations on the purple listing should guide a managed quarantine lodge prematurely. The quarantine bundle will embrace a managed quarantine lodge, quarantine transport and a journey check bundle for COVID-19 assessments on day 2 and day 8 of quarantine. Extra element right here
  • Additional info on worldwide journey necessities may be discovered elsewhere on GOV.UK, together with recommendation on transiting by means of purple listing nations.
  • Arrivals to the UK might want to meet the UK’s well being and border necessities and adjust to the related quarantine restrictions if coming from a purple nation or if not totally vaccinated. If you happen to should not have the right documentation prepared to satisfy UK well being and border necessities, it’s possible you’ll delay your self and others, be denied boarding, or face a advantageous.
  • Passengers arriving after 4am Sunday 28 November will likely be required to guide a MQS quarantine lodge. Bookings will open from noon Friday 26 November.

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