The United Kingdom has banned the entry of people from Brazil and 14 other countries as of this Friday (15), as a precaution against the transmission of a new variant of the coronavirus.
By “urgent decision”, arrivals in the United Kingdom from Argentina, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela were also banned.
“Inbound flights from these countries will stop tomorrow,” UK Transport Minister Grant Shapps said. The ban does not apply to UK and Irish nationals and third country nationals with a right of residence, but passengers returning from these destinations must self-isolate for ten days.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday (13) he was concerned about the new variant of the coronavirus attributed to Brazil and said it could limit the entry of travelers into from the country.
“We have already put in place tough measures to protect our country against new infections from abroad and we are taking measures to do so with regard to the Brazilian variant,” he told parliamentarians of a committee of the House of Commons.
The National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Japan, where the mutations were detected after the arrival of Brazilian travelers, said there was so far no evidence that the variant found in Brazil is more infectious.
Under pressure from a contagion spike after detecting a variant in its own territory, the UK has recorded more than 1,500 deaths from Covid-19 in 24 hours, the highest number reported in a single day since start of the pandemic. Asked about the situation in hospitals, the premier said there were 32,000 people hospitalized, 70% above the peak in April last year, and risk of collapse in intensive care.
“If you ask me when we think the capacity of the ICU is likely to be exceeded, I cannot predict that, but all I can say is that the risk is very significant”, a- he declared. Last weekend, the country’s medical and health officials had already warned of the “most difficult battle in history” within the national health service.
To contain transmission, the four members of the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) have decreed a new strict containment, which may show some signs of success: the number of new cases recorded in a day was of 45 thousand, well below the recent peak of over 80,000. The government is concerned, however, that the Christmas and New Year’s meetings could cause another peak.