Entry to the UK for passengers who have been in or who have transited through South America, Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores) or Cape Verde in the last 10 days has now been banned, effective from Friday 15 January 2021. All direct flights from these countries which carry passengers have also been banned, affecting routes from Argentina, Brazil, Cape Verde and Portugal.
British and Irish nationals, along with third party nationals with residence rights in the UK are not included under the ban, instead being required to self-isolate along with their household for 10 days following arrival. The usual exemptions which have applied to similar travel restrictions in the past, which are mainly related to employment, do not apply to destinations subject to this particular entrance ban. The Test to Release scheme which reduces the period of mandatory isolation from 10 days to 5 days further to a negative COVID-19 test result also does not apply to arrivals from these countries.
The travel bans were sparked by fears over two new strains of COVID-19, thought to be far more contagious than the original strain, which have been identified as originating in Brazil. The decision to include all South American countries and Portugal in the list was a result of the close travel connections the countries have with Brazil.
The newest variant was initially identified in travellers going to Japan, and it is not thought to have been detected in the UK.
In addition, as of Monday 18 January all travel corridors – which previously allowed visitors and returning residents from these countries to avoid having to isolate upon arrival in the UK – have now been closed. This means that those arriving in the UK from any country are generally subject to a mandatory 10-day quarantine, unless they fall within very limited exceptions, such as hauliers. As mentioned above, these exceptions do not apply to passengers having passed through South America, Portugal or Cape Verde in the last 10 days.
These changes come in addition to the mandatory testing before departure to the UK (see https://www.gherson.com/blog/mandatory-covid-19-testing-departure-england) which requires that anyone arriving in the UK must receive a negative test result within 72 hours of their departure. The policy was originally due to come into force Friday 15 January 2021 but was later delayed to Monday 18 January 2021.
If you have any questions regarding your entry to the UK, please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.