The UK government has announced that all international passengers arriving in England will need to show a negative coronavirus test, taken up to 72 hours prior to departure, before travel. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are expected to follow shortly with similar measures.
Anyone arriving by plane, train or boat, including UK nationals, should not be allowed to board without having a negative test with them. Those who do arrive without a qualifying test will be fined £500 for failing to comply. Exemptions include children under 11, hauliers, those traveling from countries without the infrastructure to deliver tests (yet to be specified), or those arriving from the Common Travel Area with Ireland.
The new measures are expected to come into force from Wednesday or Thursday next week, January 14 or 15, according to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
Once in the country, travelers from countries not on the ‘travel corridor’ list will still be required to self-isolate for a period of 10 days, which can be reduced to five days if they undertake a further paid-for test on or after the fifth day of being in the UK.
The news comes in response to the UK’s spiraling virus cases, with daily infections crossing 60,000 this week. A new variant of Covid-19 discovered in South Africa – 501.V2 – has prompted increased concerns about further spread across international borders.
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