Pakistan, Bangladesh added to UK COVID travel ban list

London, Apr 2 (PTI) Pakistan and Bangladesh are among four additional countries added to the “red list” of nations from where travel to and from England is banned to control the spread of coronavirus.

The ban announced on Friday will come into effect from April 9 and also cover the Philippines and Kenya in response to concerns about new variants of COVID-19 in those regions, like those detected in South Africa and Brazil.

India currently is not on the red list of countries, with an air bubble arrangement in operation for essential travel while non-essential international travel from the UK remains banned under current lockdown rules.

Philippines, Pakistan, Kenya and Bangladesh have been added to England’s red list to protect the country against new variants of coronavirus (COVID-19), at a critical time for the vaccine programme, the Department for Transport (DfT) said in a statement.

“With over 30 million vaccinations delivered in the UK so far, the additional restrictions will help to reduce the risk of new variants such as those first identified in South Africa (SA) and Brazil entering England. So far, surveillance has found that few cases of the SA variant have been identified as being imported from Europe, with most coming from other parts of the world, it said.

From 4 am local time next week Friday, international visitors who have departed from or transited through these four additional countries on a 40-country red list in the previous 10 days will be refused entry into England.

Only British and Irish citizens, or those with residence rights in the UK (including long-term visa holders), will be allowed to enter and they must stay in a government-approved quarantine facility for 10 days.

They will also be required to arrive into a designated port. No direct flight bans from these countries will be put in place, but passengers are advised to check their travel plans before departing for England.

During their stay, all passengers linked to the red list are required to take a coronavirus test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8, and are not allowed to shorten their compulsory 10-day quarantine period on receipt of a negative test result.

They will also not be able to end their managed quarantine early through the Test to Release scheme, in place for others linked to countries not on the travel ban list.

British nationals currently in the countries on the red list should make use of the commercial options available if they wish to return to England. Commercial routes that will enable British and Irish nationals and residents to return to England continue to operate, the DfT said.

Overseas travel is likely to ease for Britons only after May 17, as part of the UK government’s phased roadmap for lifting coronavirus lockdown restrictions.