Bangladesh, Kenya, Pakistan and the Philippines have been added to England’s “red list” amid fears of new Covid-19 variants, the Department for Transport has said.
As of 4am Friday April 9, international visitors who have departed from or transited through those four countries in the previous 10 days will be refused entry into England.
British and Irish citizens as well as people with residence rights in the UK will be required to arrive at a designated port and stay at a government-approved quarantine hotel for 10 days.
Passengers arriving in the UK will also be required to take a Covid-19 test on day two and eight, in addition to a test within 72 hours of coming to the UK.
Arrivals will not be allowed to shorten their quarantine period regardless of their test results, and will also not be able to end it early through the Test to Release scheme.
The move comes amid concerns about new variants of coronavirus like those first detected in South Africa and Brazil.
As of Friday April 9, the list of “red list” travel countries will be:
- Cape Verde
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- French Guiana
- South Africa
- United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Overseas holidays are currently banned under England’s lockdown rules until May 17 at the earliest.
Under a new law that came into force on March 29, anyone leaving the UK without a reasonable excuse could face a fine of £5,000.
There is also a £200 fixed penalty notice for failing to fill in a travel declaration form – giving person details and reason for travel – for those planning to leave the country.
Boris Johnson is expected to announce plans for a staged return to foreign travel using a “traffic light system” on Easter Monday.
Countries will be graded either green, amber or red according to coronavirus rates and vaccination take-up, it has been reported.
Vaccine hesitancy and a slower rollout across parts of mainland Europe may be deemed more high-risk than countries like the US and Israel, where vaccination rates have been better.
The DfT 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.”
Both the Times and the Sun have said green-listed countries would be exempt from quarantine measures, a move that is likely to alarm some scientists.