The United Kingdom said on Thursday it would extend a ban on travellers entering England to southern African countries in a measure to prevent the spread of a new COVID-19 variant identified in South Africa.
The restriction will take effect on Saturday and remain in place for two weeks, the government said in a statement.
“Entry into England will be banned to those who have travelled from or through any southern African country in the last 10 days, including Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Eswatini, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Mozambique and Angola – as well as Seychelles and Mauritius,” the country’s Department for Transport said.
In addition, it said, “Israel (and Jerusalem) would be removed from the list of travel corridors for England and people arriving from Jan. 9 from Botswana, Israel (and Jerusalem), Mauritius or Seychelles would need to self-isolate.”
The UK had previously said it had temporarily banned entry of passengers to England arriving from South Africa from Dec. 24, excluding British and Irish Nationals, visa holders and permanent residents, who will be able to enter but are required to self-isolate for 10 days.
Britain has been among the countries worst-hit by COVID-19, and its economy suffered the sharpest contraction of any in the Group of Seven during the first wave of infections last spring.
Main Photo: An ambulance outside the Royal London hospital in London, Britain. Britain’s national health service (NHS) is coming under sever pressure as Covid-19 hospital admissions continue to rise across the UK. EPA-EFE/ANDY RAIN