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UK Announces Travel Ban on 33 Countries Over Covid-19 Variant

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Tuesday, February 16th, 2021
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The UK has banned people travelling from 33 countries from entering its territory starting February 15 to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 variant originally identified in South Africa.

“If you have been in or through any of the countries listed below in the previous 10 days, you will be refused entry to the UK. If you are a British or Irish National, or you have residence rights in the UK, you will be able to enter but you must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days,” reads the UK government circular.

In East Africa, Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi are among the ‘red list travel ban countries’. Other African countries on the list include Angola, Botswana, DR Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

A number of countries have previously protested the UK’s travel ban, including Rwanda which was listed late last month. But the UK maintained that the decision was based on recommendations of scientific research.

The UK government said then that Rwanda has limited gene sequencing testing capacity.

“The decision to ban travel from these destinations follows the discovery of a new coronavirus variant, first identified in South Africa, that may have spread to other countries, including the UAE, Burundi and Rwanda. Any exemptions usually in place will not apply, including for business travel,” the UK government said in a statement posted on its website.

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