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Published on Thursday, January 7, 2021

Government extends travel ban across southern Africa

The government has extended its travel ban from a number of southern African destinations - in addition to the Seychelles and Mauritius - to combat the spread of the new Covid strain initially detected in South Africa.

Anyone travelling from the Indian Ocean islands, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Eswatini, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Mozambique and Angola will be prevented from entering England from 4am on Saturday.

The ban, which was already in place for South Africa, does not apply to UK and Ireland nationals, longer-term visa holders and permanent residents who will all have to quarantine for 10 days on arrival.

Test-to-release will not be available.

Israel, Mauritius, Seychelles and Botswana have also been removed from the travel corridor.

The ban will initially last for two weeks while scientific data is reviewed.

"The government has responded swiftly to new evidence showing an urgent need to halt travel from all southern African countries to help prevent the spread of a new coronavirus variant identified in South Africa," the Department for Transport said.

"The move....follows new data on the steep rise in incidence of the new variant that has vastly increased the risk of community transmission between nine other southern African countries as well as the Seychelles and Mauritius which both have strong links with South Africa.

"Urgent restrictions are therefore now needed to prevent the spread of this strain in the UK."

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