Boris Johnson Is Closing All Travel Corridors With The UK From Monday
Entry into the UK from anywhere in the world will be tightened from 4am on Monday after Boris Johnson announced all travel corridors will be scrapped.
The Prime Minister said he was "temporarily" closing all remaining travel corridors in a bid to reduce the chances of new coronavirus variants being spread to the UK.
It means anyone travelling into the UK from 4am on Monday will have to provide proof of a negative coronavirus test taken within the previous 72 hours without exemption. Fines will be applied to those who fail to comply.
New arrivals will also be required to self-isolate for 10 days and not leave their residence for any reason – or take a further test on day five and remain quarantined until they recieve a second negative result.
Mr Johnson said the policy would apply across all four nation of the UK, and that enforcement measures would be strenghtened at the borders.
"It’s precisely because we have the hope of that vaccine and the risk of new strains coming from overseas that we must take additional steps now to stop those strains from entering the country," he said.
"Yesterday we announced that we’re banning flights from South America and Portugal and to protect us against the risk from as-yet-unidentified strains we will also temporarily close all travel corridors from 04:00 on Monday.
"Following conversations with the devolved administrations we will act together so this applies across the whole of the UK."
Meanwhile, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the tough measures were being brought in because it was "impossible" for scientists to predict where new variants may arise.
"Travel Corridors assess public health risk from the original SARS-COV-2, but it’s impossible for the Joint Biosecurity Centre to provide live scientific updates to predict which countries or regions will now originate new variants," he tweeted.
"Travel Corridors are therefore suspended for now."
Speaking at the Downing Street press confrence, Mr Johnson said deaths of 1,280 people who tested positive for Covid-19 within the last 28 days had been recorded on Friday, with a further 55,761 new infections reported over the last 24 hours.
1,248 deaths were recorded on Thursday, and Wednesday saw the highest number of coronavirus deaths recorded in the UK in the pandemic so far with 1,564 reported to have died within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test.
England's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty warned the number of deaths and hospitalisations would continue to rise into next week. "I'm afraid in the next week we do anticipate the number of people in the NHS and the number of deaths will continue to rise as the effects of what everyone has done takes a while to feed through," Whitty said.
The tougher travel restrictions come a day after an outright travel ban was imposed on people entering the UK from 15 South American countries and Portugal.
Mr Shapps said the decision had been taken due to fears over a virulent new strain of coronavirus which originated in Brazil.
The variant - which comes in the wake of new UK and South African variants - is not believed to have spread into the country.
Speaking earlier today Professor Wendy Barclay, who leads the G2P-UK National Virus Consortium, said: "The new Brazilian variant of concern, that was picked up in travellers going to Japan, has not been detected in the UK.
"Other variants that may have originated from Brazil have been previously found."
Scientists have suggested that none of the new variants had led to more severe illness, but Professor Barclay said studies had suggested the more worrying Brazil variant "might impact the way that some people's antibodies can see the virus".
She suggested this change could mean there was a possibility of reinfections, which could have "big implications" but said further research was still being conducted.
The global total of people killed by Covid-19 surpassed two million on Friday, according to data from John Hopkins University.