US announces travel restrictions on UK passengers

25 December 2020, 07:45 | Updated: 25 December 2020, 09:42

People travelling to the US from the UK must provide a negative Covid test
People travelling to the US from the UK must provide a negative Covid test. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The US has become the latest country to announce travel restrictions on UK passengers in response to the new strain of coronavirus.

Anyone travelling into the United States from Britain will need to produce a negative Covid-19 test before getting on their flight.

It joins a growing list of nations that have introduced restrictions against UK travellers following the emergence of a new coronavirus variant.

Passengers from Britain need negative tests within three days of their trip and they must provide the results to the airline, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement.

The CDC confirmed that the measure will come into effect from Monday 28 December.

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Anybody who fails to provide a negative test result must be denied boarding, the agency added.

It said that because of travel restrictions that have been in place since March, air travel to the US from the UK is already down by 90 per cent.

Last weekend, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the new variant of Covid seemed to spread more easily than earlier ones and was moving rapidly through England.

Dozens of countries have since barred flights from the UK.

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However, he stressed there is "no evidence to suggest it is more lethal or causes more severe illness", or that vaccines will be less effective against it.

On Wednesday, the UK stopped flights from South Africa after a separate, "more transmissible" Covid-19 variant that originated in the southern hemisphere country was detected in two people in Britain.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said both are "contacts of cases who have travelled from South Africa over the past few weeks".

From 9am on Christmas Eve, visitors arriving in England who were in or transited through South Africa in the previous 10 days are not permitted entry and direct flights have been banned, the Department for Transport said.

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