This week a new variant of Covid-19 has been identified in several southern African countries, leading the UK to expand its Covid-19 travel restrictions.
Six southern African countries – South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia – will be added to the UK’s travel red list from 4am on Sunday, 28 November 2021. Travel restrictions from those countries will start from midday on 26 November 2021.
The main changes to the UK’s travel restrictions are set out below:
- Passengers arriving from 4am Sunday in England will be required to book and pay for a government-approved hotel quarantine facility for 10 days
- British nationals arriving from these six countries between midday Friday and 4am Sunday, and who have been in these countries within the last 10 days, must quarantine at home for 10 days and take NHS PCR tests on day 2 and day 8, even if they already have a lateral flow test booking
- Direct flights from the 6 countries will be banned from midday Friday until hotel quarantine is up and running from 4am Sunday 28 November
From midday on Friday 26 November, non-UK and Irish residents who have been in the specified 6 countries in the previous 10 days will be refused entry into England. This does not apply to those who have stayed airside and only transited through any of these countries while changing flights. This will include visitors and other non-residence permit holding travellers.
UK and Irish residents, which will include overseas nationals with temporary residence and settled status in the UK, arriving between midday Friday 26 November and 4am Sunday 28 November from these 6 countries will be required to self-isolate at home for 10 days. They must take PCR tests on Day 2 and Day 8 post-arrival. These can be NHS PCR tests and passengers should take them even if they have already booked or taken their lateral flow test.
UK and Irish residents arriving from 4am Sunday must isolate in a government-approved facility for 10 days. During their stay, they will be required to take a coronavirus test on day 2 and day 8.
A temporary ban on commercial and private planes travelling from the 6 countries will also come into force at midday on Friday until 4am Sunday to reduce the risk of importing this new variant under investigation while hotel quarantine is stood up. This excludes cargo and freight without passengers.
For further details on how these changes impact you, please contact your Magrath Sheldrick LLP advisor.