News Desk:: London:: Pakistan, Kenya, Bangladesh and the Philippines have been added to England’s coronavirus “red list”.
The move, which will take effect from 4am on Friday, 9 April, is in response to concerns about new variants of COVID-19, like those first detected in South Africa and Brazil.
It means international visitors who have departed from or transited through those nations in the previous 10 days will be barred from entering.
British and Irish citizens and those with residence rights in the UK will be allowed to enter, but will have to arrive at a designated port and then pay to stay in a government-approved quarantine hotel for 10 days.
Flights arriving from the four countries will not be banned, with British and Irish nationals and UK residents advised to use commercial routes if they wish to return.
The Department for Transport said: “The government has made it consistently clear it will take decisive action if necessary to contain the virus and has added these destinations to the red list to protect public health.”
The decision is based on advice from the government-funded Joint Biosecurity Centre.
According to the DfT, the data shows that the majority of cases of the South Africa variant detected in England have been linked to international travel and very few are thought to have come from Europe.
Overseas holidays are banned under England’s coronavirus lockdown measures until 17 May at the earliest.
A new law came in on Monday threatening a fine of up to £5,000 for anyone who tries to leave England before 30 June without “good reason”, although this could be lifted sooner if travel is allowed to resume.
Under plans discussed by ministers to resume foreign travel, holiday destinations could be ranked under a “traffic light system”, with fewer restrictions for places with low coronavirus rates and high vaccination take-up.
Countries would be graded either green, amber or red, according to how well they are coping with the pandemic, reports suggest.
The additions mean a total of 39 countries are now on the “red list”. They are:
• Cape Verde
• Democratic Republic of the Congo
• French Guiana
• The Philippines
• South Africa
• United Arab Emirates