UK removes UAE from travel corridors list amid increase in COVID-19 cases

UK removes UAE from travel corridors list amid increase in COVID-19 cases
From 4 a.m. Tuesday, travelers arriving in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland from the UAE will need to self-isolate for 10 days. (AFP)
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Updated 12 January 2021

UK removes UAE from travel corridors list amid increase in COVID-19 cases

UK removes UAE from travel corridors list amid increase in COVID-19 cases
  • From 4 a.m. Tuesday, travelers arriving in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland from the UAE will need to self-isolate for 10 days
  • British transport minister Grant Shapps wrote in a tweet that latest data indicated the UAE should immediately be removed from the travel corridor list

Britain removed the United Arab Emirates from its travel corridors list following a concerning increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases, the UK Department of Transport said on Monday.
From 4 a.m. Tuesday, travelers arriving in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland from the UAE will need to self-isolate for 10 days, the department added.
“The decision has been made following a significant acceleration in the number of imported cases, along with the number of reported new cases over the past seven days, which have risen in the UAE by 52%.”
British transport minister Grant Shapps wrote in a tweet that latest data indicated the UAE should immediately be removed from the travel corridor list.

 


Under existing rules, passengers arriving from all international destinations, including the UAE, are required to present a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to three days before departing for England or Scotland.
The move came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain was in “a race against time” to roll out COVID-19 vaccines as deaths hit record highs and hospitals ran out of oxygen, and his top medical adviser said the pandemic’s worst weeks were imminent.
Last week, Abu Dhabi started Phase III clinical trials of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine amid a surge in infections in the UAE.
On Thursday, Britain said it would extend a ban on travelers entering England from South Africa to other southern African countries to prevent the spread of a variant of the coronavirus identified in South Africa.

 


Britain tightens borders to keep out new COVID-19 variants

Britain tightens borders to keep out new COVID-19 variants
Updated 15 January 2021

Britain tightens borders to keep out new COVID-19 variants

Britain tightens borders to keep out new COVID-19 variants
  • Johnson is grappling to control a third wave of the virus and prevent the health service from collapse
  • The rule changes come into force at 0400 GMT on Monday

LONDON: Britain is tightening border controls to block new variants of COVID-19, suspending all “travel corridor” arrangements that had meant arrivals from some countries did not require quarantine.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is grappling to control a third wave of the virus and prevent the health service from collapse while also racing to vaccinate millions each week.
“What we don’t want to see is all that hard work undone by the arrival of a new variant that is vaccine-busting,” he told a news conference, explaining the end of travel corridors at least until Feb. 15.
The rule changes come into force at 0400 GMT on Monday and mean all passengers must have a recent negative coronavirus test and transfer immediately into isolation upon arrival.
Isolation lasts for 10 days, unless the passenger tests negative after five.
On Thursday, Britain banned arrivals from South America, Portugal and some other countries over fears about a variant detected in Brazil.
Britain’s current lockdowns ban most international travel meaning that airline schedules are currently minimal, but the withdrawal of any quarantine-free travel will be a further blow for an industry already on its knees.
UK-based airline easyJet said there was no immediate impact from Johnson’s announcement, but in a statement added: “We need to ensure that travel corridors are put back in place when it is safe to do so.”
Britain has already felt the effects of mutations in the virus, after a variant first discovered in England has proved to be more transmissible.
Critics say the government has been too slow to act and previously left borders wide open.
Much of the criticism prior to Friday’s announcement has focused on whether rules requiring arriving passengers to quarantine are actually being enforced, with anecdotal evidence that few checks are made.
“We will be stepping up our enforcement, both at the border and in country,” Johnson said.