The United Kingdom has temporarily halted flights from South Africa and surrounds, and said it would refuse entry to South Africans and others who had been in the southern African region in the previous 10 days, as a safety measure.

It simultaneously declared the B.1.1.529 coronavirus variant – due to be given a name by the World Health Organisation during the course of Friday – to be a Variant under Investigation.

“No cases have been identified in the UK,” the governments said in a statement. “We are taking these precautionary measures to protect public health and the progress we’ve made so far through our successful vaccination programme.”

Six countries are now on the UK’s red list for travel, as of Friday:

South Africa






For those countries, both commercial and private planes carrying passengers have been banned from midday (on Friday) until the early hours of Sunday morning, while the UK scrambles to set up quarantine.

Once that ban lifts, though, South Africans will still not be welcome.

“From midday on Friday 26 November, non-UK and Irish residents who have been in these countries in the previous 10 days will be refused entry into England,” said the UK government. “This does not apply to those who have stayed airside and only transited through any of these countries while changing flights.”

After the weekend, Irish and UK residents who can make it to the UK border from southern Africa will be required to quarantine in “in a government-approved facility” for 10 days, with coronavirus tests on days two and eight. Those who manage to make it into the country before next week – and so before those hotel isolation facilities are set up – will be told they must self-isolate at home, with PCR tests on days two and eight. (Previously, residents needed to take only the cheaper and easier lateral flow test on day two after arrival.)

SOURCE: Business Insider