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British prime minister, Boris Johnson, has announced the UK will close all travel corridors to protect against the risk of as yet unidentified new Covid-19 strains.
The new measures will take effect from Monday.
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference this evening, he said: “It is vital to take these extra measures now when, day-by-day, we are making such strides in protecting the population.”
Currently, travellers are allowed to enter the UK without quarantine if arriving from a number of safe destinations.
However, all arrivals will now be expected to isolate for ten days when entering the country.
Also from Monday, all passengers will be required to present a negative Covid-19 test result before travelling to the UK.
The test must be taken within three days of departure.
The government has said this is also to help protect against new strains of Covid-19 circulating internationally and to identify those who may currently be infectious.
Responding to the announcement, Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, the industry association representing UK-registered carriers, said: “Travel corridors were a lifeline for the industry last summer and the government were right to bring them in when they did.
“But things change and there is no doubting this is a serious health emergency and ministers need to act to keep borders safe and the public protected.
“We therefore support this latest measure, on the assumption that we will work with government – when the time is right – to remove these restrictions when it is safe to do so and start to open up our sector again, to support the economic recovery.”
The sentiments were echoed in comments from UKinbound chief executive, Joss Croft
He said: “Consumer safety is paramount and although the removal of all travel corridors is regrettable, given the current trajectory of the virus it’s an understandable decision.
“With our borders effectively closed, the government needs to provide urgent, tailored support for the inbound tourism industry.
“It simply cannot afford to continue excluding it from support channels, given its propensity to aid the economic recovery when we can travel again.”
He added: “To save the summer season, it’s also imperative that government signals that these new measures are only temporary, and that it consults with industry to put in place a clear roadmap to reopen the sector, when it’s safe to do so.”
All travellers from South America, and Portugal, were also earlier banned from entry into the UK.