Boris Johnson announced the ban on flights from 14 countries in Latin America due to the new variant of COVID-19 detected in Brazil.
Grant Shapps, the transportation secretary, said the measure will take effect at 4 a.m. Friday. The flights from 14 countries that will not be able to enter the United Kingdom are Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.
It also includes the African Cape Verde and Portugal for their «strong travel ties with Brazil,» the official explained.
This restriction does not apply to British, Irish and resident citizens, however, returning passengers from these countries must isolate themselves for 10 days.
The Brazilian variant of the coronavirus is probably very contagious like the British or South African, researcher Felipe Naveca, a member of the Leônidas Institute and Maria Deane, told AFP.
Naveca points out that the new variant may already be present in other parts of Brazil and does not rule out that it is the predominant strain in the state of Amazonas, where the pandemic is causing havoc. The WHO described it as a «worrying variant», which could impact the immune response.
The United Kingdom recorded 1,564 coronavirus deaths in a single day. In total, the country has 84,767 deaths confirmed by Covidd19 according to data from the Ministry of Health, although other official statistics indicate that the real number of deaths attributable to the virus amounts to 97,000.