By Frank Kamuntu
Kampala: The U.K. has banned more arrivals in an effort to cut back on the likelihood of importing new, more contagious variants of the novel coronavirus. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced on Twitter that as of 4 a.m. on Friday, the U.K. has banned arrivals from Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The restriction applies to those who have been in or transited the banned countries in the last 10 days. It does not, however, apply to British and Irish Nationals as well as third-country nationals who have residence rights in the U.K. While those travellers will be allowed to enter the U.K., they must self-isolate for 10 days along with the rest of their household when they arrive.
Previously, Shapps had announced that the U.K. would ban arrivals from all of South America, as well as Portugal. Additionally, the government had previously announced that arrivals from some south African countries would be banned.
With the addition of Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the list, the U.K. now bans travel from 30 countries spread across Africa, Europe and the Americas.
Shapps said that the government is “continuing to monitor COVID-19 rates and new strains of the virus across the globe.” It’s possible that as more strains appear, the U.K. may add more destinations to this list of banned countries.
Some of the banned countries include Angola, Botswana, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia
As of 18 January, the U.K. now requires that all travellers coming from abroad must have a negative COVID-19 test result in order to board their flight. The eligible test must have been taken no more than 72 hours prior to scheduled departure. If the passenger arrives in the U.K. without a negative test result, they could be subject to an immediate £500 fine.
Also on 18 January, the U.K. suspended its travel corridor scheme. As such, all travellers arriving in the U.K. from abroad will have to undergo a mandatory 10-day quarantine, regardless of where they’re coming from. The suspension of travel corridors is expected to last until at least mid-February.
Passengers can still test out of a full 10-day quarantine by way of the Test to Release scheme in England. With it, a passenger must quarantine for a full five days. After their fifth day of the quarantine, they can elect to pay for a private COVID-19 test and await the result. If it produces a negative test result, the traveller can forgo the rest of their quarantine.
All passengers, regardless of their nationality or where they’re coming from, still are required to fill out a passenger locator form before they arrive in the U.K.