Senior ministers meet on Tuesday to discuss the introduction of tougher travel measures in response to new coronavirus strains.
Here is a timeline of key dates relating to the UK’s response to international coronavirus variants:
– December 21 2020
South Africa announces a new variant of the Covid-19 virus is driving an increase in confirmed cases and deaths in the country.
– December 23
Health Secretary Matt Hancock says two cases of the South Africa strain have been found in the UK.
– December 24
The UK bans direct flights from South Africa. Visitors arriving into England who have been in or transited through South Africa in the previous 10 days are no longer permitted entry.
– January 13 2021
Prime Minister Boris Johnson says there are concerns about a new strain identified in Brazil.
I’ve taken the urgent decision to BAN ARRIVALS from ARGENTINA, BRAZIL, BOLIVIA, CAPE VERDE, CHILE, COLOMBIA, ECUADOR, FRENCH GUIANA, GUYANA, PANAMA, PARAGUAY, PERU, SURINAME, URUGUAY AND VENEZUELA – from TOMORROW, 15 JAN at 4AM following evidence of a new variant in Brazil. 1/3
— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) January 14, 2021
– January 15
Travellers from South America and Portugal are banned from entering the UK in response to the Brazilian variant.
– January 17
The Sunday Times reports that ministers are considering requiring arrivals to stay at quarantine hotels.
International travel is restricted.
Stay at home.
From Monday 18 January at 4am all Travel Corridors with the United Kingdom will be suspended 🚫
This means that:
➡️ ALL international arrivals to the UK from ANY destination will be required to self-isolate for 10 days.
— Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (@FCDOGovUK) January 16, 2021
– January 18
Travel corridors are scrapped, meaning nearly everyone entering the UK must go into quarantine for up to 10 days.
– January 24
A number of the Sunday papers report that the Cabinet is split on whether the quarantine hotel policy should apply to all arrivals or just those returning from coronavirus hotspots.
– January 26
Boris Johnson will chair a meeting of the Government’s Covid-O committee, which is expected to agree a plan on stricter rules for travellers.