The UK is tightening border controls to prevent new strains of COVID-19 coming into the country, suspending all the ‘travel corridor’ arrangements that had meant arrivals from some countries did not need to quarantine.
The change comes into force at 0400 GMT on Monday and means all passengers must have a recent negative coronavirus test and transfer immediately into isolation upon arrival. The isolation period lasts for 10 days, unless the passenger tests negative after five days.
Boris Johnson told this evening’s Downing Street press conference:
“It’s precisely because we have the hope of that vaccine and the risk of new strains coming from overseas that we must take additional steps now to stop those strains from entering the country.
Questioned over lockdown lifting Johnson said that once the most vulnerable have been vaccinated by mid-February “we will think about what steps we could take to lift the restrictions”.
“What we can’t have is any false sense of security so that we, as it were, lift the restrictions altogether and then the disease really runs riot in the younger generations.”
“So it can affect and does affect huge numbers of younger people as well, often very badly, and the risk is that those numbers would be greatly inflated if we let go too soon in circumstances where the disease was really rampant.
“That is not to say that I don’t want to try to get to relaxations as soon as we reasonably can – but there are a lot of things that have to go right.”