South Africa is among six African nations suddenly added to the UK’s red list for international travel in response to a “significant” new variant of coronavirus.
In a shock update last night, the government announced that South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe would be put back on the high-risk list from 12pm today.
A temporary flight ban has been imposed over the weekend while hotel quarantine facilities are prepared.
From 4am on Sunday 28 November, British and Irish citizens or residents arriving from those countries will have to pay to enter hotel quarantine for 10 days; all other travellers are banned from entering the UK from midday today.
British nationals arriving from the six countries between midday Friday and 4am Sunday, or 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.
It is yet another in a long line of devastating blows for the travel industry.
Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of the Advantage Travel Partnership, said: “We all accept the government must make decisions in the interest of public health.
“However, some 20 months into the crisis, and six weeks after taking South Africa and its neighbours off the red list, it just feels like deja vu.
“The communication process is a shambles – relying on a tweet from the health secretary is no way to update the public.”
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