The UK government has announced emergency border measures to prevent the spread of concerning new COVID-19 variants into the country, and the latest advice has been published by the British embassy in Dubai.
The statement says "From Monday 18 January at 4am, all Travel Corridors with the UK will be suspended – meaning that all international arrivals who have departed from or transited through any country outside the Common Travel Area in the previous 10 days will be required to both take a pre-departure test and self-isolate immediately for ten days on arrival. This includes British and Irish nationals."
It adds that "This urgent action is in response to increasing concern over the transmissibility and virulence of new strains evolving internationally. It will also ensure that the Government is able to protect the progress being made on the country’s vaccination programme."
In addition, it states that "This move will be supported by increased enforcement, both at the border and across the UK, with Border Force increasing the number of spot checks on passengers that have entered the country."
The new measures will be reviewed on February 15.
The national restrictions introduced in England on January 6, 2021 remain in place, meaning that everyone must stay at home unless travelling for a very limited set of reasons.
A number of exemptions to the Travel Corridor policy, including the need to travel for business, will be suspended from Monday unless they are vital to maintaining the flow of critical goods, protecting essential services, protecting national security or facilitating Government work. A full list of exemptions is available on the embassy's website.
The statement says "The closure of all the UK Travel Corridors will ensure that for those returning from trips that fall into this limited set of exemptions, and for passengers arriving to the UK from abroad, there is a clear set of measures to prevent cases of coronavirus entering the country. Those in breach of the lockdown rules face penalties ranging from £200 to £6,400."
The UK Government’s Test to Release scheme will remain in place, giving passengers the option to shorten the mandatory self-isolation period to as little as five days.
However, they will still need to adhere to national restrictions in place upon release of self-isolation.