UK travel ban extended to United Arab Emirates, Burundi and Rwanda

28 January 2021, 17:10 | Updated: 28 January 2021, 17:56

File photo: Tourists have still flocked to Dubai, United Arab Emirates
File photo: Tourists have still flocked to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Picture: PA

By Megan White

The UK's travel ban has been extended to include United Arab Emirates, Burundi and Rwanda, with British nationals returning from those countries now having to self-isolate at home.

From 4am on Friday morning all arrivals who have, in the 10 days before their arrival in the UK, been in these destinations and their households will have to self-isolate immediately, and will not be eligible to use Test to Release.

There will also be a flight ban on direct passenger flights from the United Arab Emirates, which includes Abu Dhabi and Dubai - popular holiday destinations for Brits.

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A number of influencers have visited the UAE in recent weeks despite the UK's ban on leisure travel, insisting their trips are for work purposes.

Only British, Irish and third country nationals with residence rights will be able to enter the UK and will need proof of a negative test to enter the country.

The Department for Transport said the move was in response to new evidence showing the likely spread of a coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa.

Any exemptions usually in place will not apply, including for business travel.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted: "From tomorrow (Friday 29 Jan at 1pm), we’re extending our travel ban with the United Arab Emirates, Burundi and Rwanda all added to the UK's red list.

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"This means people who have been in or transited through these countries will be denied entry, except British, Irish and third country nationals with residence rights who must self-isolate for ten days at home.

"Passengers must still have proof of a negative test and completed Passenger Locator Form before arrival – or could otherwise face a £500 fine for each."

The news comes after the Government confirmed plans to set up quarantine hotels for Brits returning from high risk countries, including Portugal and much of South America.

UK nationals and residents who cannot be refused entry when returning home "will be met at the airport and transported directly into quarantine", Mr Johnson said on Wednesday.

Similar measures are expected across the UK, although Scotland and Wales have both indicated they could go further than Mr Johnson's plan for England.

People wishing to travel abroad will also be required to make a declaration stating why they need to make the journey, which will be checked by carriers prior to departure.

Boris Johnson told the Commons: "I want to make clear that under the stay at home regulations, it is illegal to leave home to travel abroad for leisure purposes and we will enforce this at ports and airports by asking people why they are leaving and instructing them to return home if they do not have a valid reason to travel.

"We have also banned all travel from 22 countries where there is a risk of known variants including South Africa, Portugal and South American nations.

"And in order to reduce the risk posed by UK nationals and residents returning home from these countries, I can announce that we will require all such arrivals who cannot be refused entry to isolate in Government provided accommodation, such as hotels, for 10 days without exception.

"They will be met at the airport and transported directly into quarantine. The Department of Health and Social Care is working to establish these facilities as quickly as possible."