In a statement issued on Thursday by the Department for Health and Social Care, it was made mandatory for the UK residents and Irish nationals arriving from 33 countries mentioned in the UK’s travel ban list to quarantine themselves for 10 days starting from February 15.
This comes as a safety protocol to contain the spread of the new variants found from the red listed countries and to carry forward the successful vaccine rollout. The 33 countries included in the red list are ; all 30 countries of South America, South Africa, United Arab Emirates and Portugal with new variants found from Brazil and South Africa heightening the concerns. Non UK travellers from the above countries are banned from entering the UK anyways. Though India is not included in this list there is a limited travel ban between the UK and India .
Many safety measures have already been taken by the UK government to handle the pandemic and prevent the spread of new variants. While travelling for unnecessary requirements like holidays are banned in the country, passengers arriving in the UK must provide a Covid negative test before arrival and must follow self quarantine. UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been appointed by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson to oversee the government’s campaign to tackle the spread of new variants.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)have been constantly in discussions with stakeholders from hospitality, maritime and aviation industries to implement better quarantine facilities. The Telegraph on Friday reported that the government is aiming to secure 28000 hotel rooms for this program.
“In the face of new variants, it is important that the government continues to take the necessary steps to protect people and save lives” said a spokesperson for the DHSC.
The UK was the first country where new variants of Covid-19 were discovered in the month of December last year. The countries around the world watched with growing alarm as UK scientists described the newly identified coronavirus variant that appears to be more deadly and contagious.
In South Africa, another variant emerged raising more panic. The cases related to this variant began reporting at the end of January 2021. In Brazil too another variant surfaced by the end of January. This variant was first identified in travellers from Brazil , who were tested during routine screening at an airport in Japan.