New strain of virus: UK to close all travel corridors from Monday
Photo Credit: PTI

All travel corridors in place between the UK and some regions will be temporarily closed from Monday as part of efforts to curb the spread of new coronavirus variants from countries such as Brazil and South America.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Friday evening that passengers coming to the UK from anywhere must now have proof of a mandatory pre-departure COVID-19 test taken at least 72 hours earlier and self-isolate for at least 10 days on arrival.

All passengers will continue to be required to fill in locator forms, with the fines in place for a breach in any of the lockdown conditions starting at 200 pounds.

To protect us against the risk of as yet unidentified new strains, we will also temporarily close all travel corridors from 0400 hrs on Monday. Following conversations with the devolved administrations, we will act together so that this applies across the whole of the UK, said Johnson.

“This means that if you come to this country, you must have proof of a negative Covid test that you have taken in the 72 hours before leaving and you must have filled in your Passenger Locator Form, and your airline will ask for proof of both before you take off. You may also be checked when you land and face substantial fines for refusing to comply,” he said.

And, upon arrival, you must then quarantine for 10 days not leaving your home for any reason at all, or take another test on day 5 and wait for proof of another negative result. And we will be stepping up our enforcement both at the border and in-country, he added.

International travel corridors have been in place since July 2020 for countries and territories, which included India for some time, where analysis suggested the risk of COVID-19 can be mitigated.

The number of people who have tested positive for the new UK variant of SARS-CoV-2 in the country has climbed to 116, the Union Health Ministry said on Saturday.

"The total number of persons found infected with the new UK variant genome is 116," the ministry said.

All these persons have been kept in single-room isolation in designated healthcare facilities by respective state governments, the ministry earlier had said.

Their close contacts have also been put under quarantine. Comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for co-travellers, family contacts and others. Genome sequencing on other specimens is going on, the ministry said.

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