All international travellers entering into the UK will soon have to provide a negative COVID-19 it has been announced.
Anyone travelling into the UK via plane, train or boat including UK nationals will need to take a test 72 hours prior to departure.
Those arriving from countries not on the safe travel corridor list will also still have to quarantine for up to 10 days regardless as to whether they test negative or not.
Passengers will still have the option to reduce the quarantine to just 5 days by paying for a test through the governments ‘Test to Release Scheme’.
Any passengers that arrive into the country and are not able to provide a negative test will be subject to an immediate £500 fine.
Passengers will also need to continue to complete the passenger locator form prior to entry.
However, there will be some exemptions including children under the age of 11, arrivals from the common travel area with Ireland, hauliers, and those travelling from some countries where there is no infrastructure in place to provide testing.
In an interview with the BBC this morning, transport secretary Grant Shapps revealed that the new measures were being put into place to prevent the South African variant of the virus from entering the country.
He said, “What we are trying to do now is to stop a new variant which isn’t established here from coming here and this is the South African variant.
“Scientists are very concerned about the ability of the vaccine to tackle the South African variant.
"They're not sure whether for example, the vaccine will be able to deal with it in the first place, and we're very, very keen to keep it out".
“We already have significant measures in place to prevent imported cases of COVID-19, but with new strains of the virus developing internationally we must take further precautions.
“Taken together with the existing mandatory self-isolation period for passengers returning from high-risk countries, pre-departure tests will provide a further line of defence - helping us control the virus as we roll out the vaccine at pace over the coming weeks.”
Although it is unlikely that the vaccines will not be able to protect people from the new mutations, scientists are carrying out further testing to clarify that the immunisation would continue to work.
According to Mr Shapps, the new measures will most likely come into force on “Wednesday or Thursday” next week which would be January 13/14.
The news came after Boris Johnson pledged to have “hundreds of thousands” people in England immunised per day by January 15 and follows the worrying news on Thursday that a further 1,162 people had lost their lives.
January 14, 2021
December 23, 2020