The UK Government has decided to urgently ban travel from a number of South American destinations, Portugal, Panama and Cape Verde. This measure is intended to prevent the spread of a new variant of the coronavirus to the United Kingdom, in this case the Brazilian version.
From this Friday 15 January, passengers who have been or have been in transit in the last 10 days through Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Cape Verde, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guyana, Guyana, Paraguay, Panama, Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores), Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela will no longer have access.
British and Irish citizens are also excluded, as are third-country nationals with residence permits in the country. They may enter the United Kingdom, but must keep a quarantine of 10 days from their arrival together with their partners if necessary.
Since the end of last year a British and a South African variant have appeared which are more contagious and are also abundant. But a third mutation has also been announced, originating in the Brazilian Amazon and discovered in Japan. This has led the British government to take these measures.
Scientists from ten institutions, including Imperial College London and the University of Oxford, both in England, and the Institute of Tropical Medicine of the University of Sao Paulo, in Brazil, published an article on Wednesday describing that this variant, called P.1. could be more contagious.
In addition, the ban on the entry of passengers from other countries has come about because they are considered countries with strong travel links to Brazil, such as Portugal.
As of Monday 18th, all passengers at all destinations will have to present a negative result of the COVID-19 test in order to enter England. This is to protect against new variants circulating internationally and to identify those who may be infectious.
In the meantime, the national restrictions in England which were introduced on 6 January remain in place. English citizens must stay at home unless they have to go to work, shop or other essential functions. People cannot travel nationally or internationally unless for work or legally permitted reasons. Penalties for violations range from £200 to £6,400.