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COVID-19: India added to UK ‘travel red list’ as cases of new variant rise

  • travel ban implemented for visitors from India from 4am on Friday 23 April

  • British, Irish and third-country nationals with residence rights (including long-term visa holders) arriving from India will be required to self-isolate in a government-approved hotel quarantine facility for 10 days

  • move follows new data showing an increased risk of importation of new variant

India has been added to England’s red list to protect the country against a new variant of coronavirus (COVID-19) and against other existing variants.

The situation in India has deteriorated with an extremely rapid rise in cases detected throughout April, which is accelerating. Over the last week, local rates have almost doubled, increasing to 111 cases detected per 100,000 per week – higher than any other point in the outbreak. Despite the current travel measures, there is a high volume of travel between India and the UK, and we have already seen 103 cases of the variant under Investigation (VUI) in the UK.

Read: UK Coronavirus (COVID-19) Red List Travel Ban Countries

From 4am on Friday 23 April, international visitors who have departed from or transited through India 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. Direct flights from India will continue to be permitted, but passengers are advised to check their travel plans before departing for England.

During their managed quarantine stay, passengers will be required to take a coronavirus test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8, and they will not be allowed to shorten their quarantine period on receipt of a negative test result or through the Test to Release scheme.

With over 42 million vaccinations delivered in the UK so far, the move will help to reduce the risk of new variants entering England.

Decisions on travel restrictions are taken by ministers and are informed by evidence including Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) analysis as well as other wider public health considerations. The JBC risk assessments cover a range of factors for each country, including:

  • assessment of surveillance and sequencing capability
  • available surveillance and genome sequencing data
  • evidence of in-country community transmission of COVID-19 variants
  • evidence of exportation of new variants to the UK or other countries
  • travel connectivity with the UK

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.

British nationals in these countries should check Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice and follow local guidance. The FCDO will continue to offer tailored consular assistance to British nationals in need of support overseas on a 24/7 basis.

Border Force will continue to carry out thorough checks at the border to keep the public safe.

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