Which countries are included on the red list, and do I still need to quarantine?
SIX countries have been reinstated on the red list with immediate effect, according to the government, due to concerns about new Covid variants.
Everything you need to know about the new travel restrictions can be found right here.
Six countries have been added to the red list, according to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Namibia have all been added to the list, which goes into effect at 12 p.m. today.
“From 12pm tomorrow, six countries, including South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Namibia, will be added to the UK’s red list following early detection of the new B1.1.529 variant abroad,” he said in a statement yesterday.
“We’re taking precautionary measures right now and will impose a temporary flight ban over the weekend,” she said.
The red list procedures remained in place as a precaution despite the traffic light system being effectively scrapped earlier this month.
If the number of cases continues to rise, the government has warned that countries could be re-added to the list.
If you’re returning from Sunday, the hotel quarantine rules are still in effect.
“If you’ve been to any of these countries in the last 10 days, quarantine at home for the time being and Test and Trace will contact you,” Shapps confirmed.
“Beginning at 12 p.m. tomorrow, the red list will be in effect, with a direct flight ban from these countries; you must quarantine at home.”
“You MUST book a quarantine hotel at an approved facility if you visited any of these countries in the last 10 days and arrive after 4 a.m. Sunday.”
Anyone returning from a country on the red list must book a stay at a government-mandated hotel and be quarantined for ten days at a cost of £2,285 per person.
A third person costs £1,430, and children cost £325.
Following the discovery of a new Covid strain, the new red list countries were added in response to concerns that it could jeopardize the UK’s vaccine rollout.
Experts warn that the strain is to blame for a surge in new cases in South Africa, with some areas experiencing a six-fold increase in infections in just a few days.
The new variant discovered in South Africa “may be more transmissible” than the Delta strain, according to Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who also stated that “the vaccines that we currently have may be less effective.”
The bug, which is currently known as B1.1.529, has 32 mutations, which is twice as many as the delta variant.
The new strain has alarmed government scientists, who say the virus spike protein is “dramatically different” from that of the original Covid virus.
It means that vaccines and blockbuster new drugs will struggle to neutralize it, reducing efficacy by around a third, according to optimistic estimates.
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