The Philippines, Pakistan, Kenya and Bangladesh have been added to England’s ‘red list’ in a move the government argues will protect the country against new variants of Covid-19.
Officials said the decision came at a critical time for the vaccine programme.
With over 30 million vaccinations delivered in the UK so far, the additional restrictions will help to reduce the risk of new variants – such as those first identified in South Africa and Brazil – entering England, the government hopes.
So far, surveillance has found that few cases of the South Africa variant have been identified as being imported from Europe, with most coming from other parts of the world.
From 04:00 on April 9th, international visitors who have departed from or transited through Philippines, Pakistan, Kenya and Bangladesh in the previous ten days will be refused entry into England.
Only British and Irish citizens, or those with residence rights in the UK (including long-term visa holders), will be allowed to enter and they must stay in a government-approved quarantine facility for ten days.
They will also be required to arrive into a designated port.
No direct flight bans from these countries will be put in place, but passengers are advised to check their travel plans before departing for England.
During their stay, passengers will be required to take a coronavirus test on or before day two and on or after day eight, and they will not be allowed to shorten their quarantine period on receipt of a negative test result.
They will also not be able to end their managed quarantine early through the Test to Release scheme.
British nationals currently in the countries on the red list should make use of the commercial options available if they wish to return to England.
Commercial routes that will enable British and Irish nationals and residents to return to England continue to operate.