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UK places travel ban on 11 African countries over S/Africa’s COVID-19 variant


At least 11 African countries have been banned from entering England for two weeks to prevent the spread of a new coronavirus (COVID-19) variant identified in South Africa.

The British government confirmed this via an official statement released on the government’s website on Friday.

According to the statenment, “the move … follows new data on the steep rise in incidence of the new variant, that has vastly increased the risk of community transmission between” the southern African countries “which both have strong travel links with South Africa.”

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“Entry into England will be banned to those who have travelled from or through any southern African country in the last 10 days, including Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Eswatini, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Mozambique and Angola – as well as Seychelles and Mauritius,” The Guardian quoted UK’s Department for Transport.

“Israel (and Jerusalem) would be removed from the list of travel corridors for England and people arriving from January 9 from Botswana, Israel (and Jerusalem), Mauritius or Seychelles would need to self-isolate.”

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The 11 countries under the ban include Namibia has recorded 27,255 cases, Zimbabwe(18,675 cases), Botswana(16,050 cases), Eswatini(10,773 cases), Zambia(25,326 cases) and Malawi (7,611 cases).

Others on the suspension list include Lesotho(5,170 cases), Mozambique(19,961 cases), Angola (17,974 cases),  Seychelles (451 cases) and Mauritius (539 cases).

Meanwhile, South Africa who has recorded more than 1.1million infections have been banned from England since 23 December 2020 and as such, travellers who have travelled from or through the countries in the last 10 days (as of Thursday) will be denied entry into England, the statement revealed.

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While the government maintained that “the scientific data and alternative ways to protect the UK and our partners in Africa are reviewed,” it further revealed that British and Irish nationals, as well as longer-term visa holders and permanent residents in the UK are excluded from the ban and will be required to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival along with their household.