UK seals its border and requires negative COVID-19 tests for arrivals in a bid to keep out ‘vaccine-busting’ variants

uk airport heathrow
Passengers wearing face masks as a precautionary measure against COVID-19, walk through the arrivals hall after landing at London Heathrow Airport in west London, on January 15, 2021
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that all travel corridors would close. This means that all those arriving in the United Kingdom will be required to quarantine.
  • Arrivals in the UK will also be required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
  • The tougher restrictions are, according to Johnson, to ensure that the new Brazilian variant doesn't put further pressure on the National Health Service (NHS).
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that the United Kingdom is to close all travel corridors and that all travelers will be required to supply a negative COVID-19 test result before departing for the UK.

In a Friday evening press conference, Johnson said that all travel corridors - routes that do not require self-isolation upon return - would be suspended from 4 am on Monday.

This means that all those arriving in the UK must quarantine for 10 days unless they choose to pay to take a coronavirus test five days into their quarantine.

Johnson also added that all those entering the UK must have proof of a negative coronavirus test from the previous 72 hours.

Read more: What's coming next for COVID-19 vaccines? Here's the latest on 11 leading programs.

The rules, Johnson said, would be in place until at least mid-February.

The announcement follows the news that the UK had banned travel from Brazil, Portugal, and most of South America.

This was, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced, due to "evidence of a new variant in Brazil."

In Johnson's Friday Downing Street conference, Johnson explained why the news of a Brazilian variant required the need for tougher restrictions to be introduced.

He said: "What we don't want to see is all that hard work undone by the arrival of a new variant that is vaccine-busting."

Johnson also explained the pressure that the NHS is under.

He said: "There are now more than 37,000 Covid patients in hospitals across the UK, and in spite of all the efforts of our doctors and nurses and our medical staff, we're now seeing cancer treatments sadly postponed, ambulances queuing, and intensive care units spilling over into adjacent wards."

The UK's health service is struggling to keep up with the surge in cases of the coronavirus.

On Friday, the UK recorded 55,761 new cases of COVID-19, according to Worldometer

A further 1,280 coronavirus-related deaths were also recorded on Friday, Worldometer shows.

On Thursday, Worldometer shows 1,564 coronavirus-related deaths - the biggest daily figure since the start of the pandemic.

There have been 87,448 COVID-19 deaths in the UK so far, according to John Hopkins University.

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