Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines and Kenya are put on the travel ‘red list’ sparking fears thousands will dash to the UK before they are forced to quarantine in a hotel
- Travellers will be banned from these countries unless they are returning home
- Crackdown is aimed at reducing the risk of variants such as South Africa strain
- More than 5,200 cases were recorded in Pakistan yesterday in its third spike
Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kenya and the Philippines will be added to England’s ‘red list’ from next Friday, the Government has announced.
It means travellers will be banned from these countries unless they are returning home to the UK, where they will have to go into hotel quarantine for 10 days.
The tougher border measures will likely spark a scramble from British residents in these countries to get back before they come into force at 4am on April 9.
The fresh crackdown is aimed at reducing the risk of variants such as the South Africa strain, the Department for Transport said.
The British Pakistani population numbers more than one million and people travelling for weddings have been blamed for spreading infection in the south Asian country.
More than 5,200 cases were recorded in Pakistan yesterday, and the third spike is being driven by the highly-transmissible variant first detected in Kent.
Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kenya and the Philippines will be added to England’s ‘red list’ from next Friday, the Government has announced
After the Government announced its red list status today, many pointed the finger at people travelling to and from Pakistan using dual passports for ceremonies.
Sohail Anjum tweeted: ‘Should have put this ban in ages [ago]. A friend travelled to Pakistan last year to attend a family wedding and came back infected with Covid-19.’
Rukhsar Ahmed said: ‘Too many UK people including my own relatives travelled for weddings but it has caused a third wave of coronavirus in Pakistan.’
This week Pakistani ministers announced a ban on large gatherings, including weddings, will enter into force on April 5 in provinces with an infection rate above 8 per cent of the population.
In a televised message, Prime Minister Imran Khan urged the public to follow Covid rules because the third wave was ‘more intense’ than the first two.
Bangladesh is also in the jaws of a deadly third wave, with yesterday’s seven-day rolling average of daily cases at 4,767.
The Philippines is grappling with its second – and most severe – wave and yesterday’s seven-day average was 9,075 daily cases.
Kenya by comparison has relatively few daily cases – a seven-day average of 1,335 – but it is likely the decision was to insulate Britain from the South African variant.
The data showed the majority of cases of the South Africa variant detected in England so far were linked to international travel and that very few are thought to have come from Europe, the department added.
The Government is not imposing a ban on flights arriving from those four countries, and British and Irish nationals and UK residents should use commercial routes if they wish to return.
Arrivals will not be allowed to shorten their quarantine period regardless of their test results, and will also not be able to end it early through the Test to Release scheme.
Countries not on the red list have to quarantine for 10 days at home, and have the option to be released.
The DfT said: ‘The Government has made it consistently clear it will take decisive action if necessary to contain the virus and has added these destinations to the red list to protect public health.’
The latest restrictions takes the total number of countries on England’s red list to 38.
Travellers leaving the UK without a valid excuse face a £5,000 under draconian laws to protect against new variants.
Under Boris Johnson’s roadmap, international travel could resume by May 17 at the earliest – although a review of this will be revealed next week.