Matt Hancock announces India's addition to COVID-19 'red list'
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The Government is set to place India onto the “red list”, banning all travel to and from the country, and the implementation of mandatory hotel quarantine for UK and Irish residents and citizens. The new rules will come into place from 4am on Friday morning.
The news was announced on Monday afternoon in the House of Commons by Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock.
He explained the UK has detected 103 cases of the variant which was first found in India.
“We’ve recently seen a new variant first identified in India. We’ve now detected 103 cases of this new variant of which the vast majority have links to international travel and have been picked up by our testing at the border,” said the health secretary.
“We’ve been analysing samples from these cases to see if the variant has any concerning characteristics like greater transmissibility or resistance to treatment and vaccines meaning that it needs to be listed as a variant of concern.
“After studying the data and on a precautionary basis we’ve made the difficult but vital decision to add India to the red list.
“This means anyone who is not a UK or Irish resident or a British citizen can not enter the UK if they have ben in India in the previous 10 days.
“UK and Irish residents, and British citizens who have been in India in the past 10 days before their arrival will need to complete hotel quarantine for 10 days from the time of arrival.
“These rules will come into force at 4am on Friday.”
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Travellers who need to undertake hotel quarantine will be required to do so at their own expense.
The cost is £1,750 per traveller for 10 days.
Any additional days required will come at a rate of £152 per day.
“You will need to agree to pay for, and book, a quarantine package before you complete your passenger locator form and board your return journey to the UK,” explains Gov.uk.
“The package includes the costs of transport from the port of arrival to the designated hotel, food, accommodation, security, other essential services and testing.”
Mr Hancock said he understood the “impact” of the decision made by the Government to ban travel to and from India.
“India is a country I know well and love. Between our two countries we have ties of friendship and family,” he said.
“I understand the impact of this decision but I hope the house will concur that we must act. We must protect the progress that we have made in this country in tackling this awful disease.”
It follows the Prime Minister’s decision to cancel an arranged trip to India.
Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said: “The decision isn’t triggered at all by the Prime Minister’s trip; the decision takes into account a number of factors which the JBC (Joint Biosecurity Centre) predominantly lead on and then feed into Government, and that’s considered in the normal way.”
Labour MP Naz Shah argued India should have been put on the red list much sooner but was not due to Mr Johnson’s plans.
n a tweet, she said: “For weeks India has been left off the ‘red list’, whilst cases were rising, just to accommodate the PM’s visit to India.
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