The UK to ban flights from Portugal and South America over a new strain of coronavirus

A new strain of coronavirus has emerged in Brazil and in order to contain the spread, UK is banning flights from South America, Panama, Portugal, and Cape Verde.

Planes will be barred from landing as of 4 am UK Time on Friday and the flights will be banned from Portugal due to its strong travel link with Brazil said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps

The UK is already suffering from its own faster-spreading variant of coronavirus that had forced many countries to ban flights from the kingdom and the country going under third lockdown earlier this month. Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced calls to act on the new South American strain during a meeting with lawmakers in Parliament on Wednesday.

This new ban further adds woes for the already crippling aviation industry which had already suffered due to lockdown from various countries and the UK itself. Passenger traffic in the busy London Heathrow Airport fell by over 83% in December compared to 73% in the whole of 2020. This new ban also puts a cloud over Portugal which is one of the popular holiday destinations for British Holidaymakers and retirees.

The transport minister said that Portugal will be exempt from the travel ban from the European nation in order to allow the transport of essential goods. This ban also exempts British and Irish nationals and those who have UK residential rights. However, they need to self-isolate for 10 days minimum after arrival to the country.

A plan for arriving passengers to require negative Covid-19 was due to come force on Friday but has been delayed till January 18th, anyone who lands into the country without a Negative Covid-19 certificate will be fined over 500 GBP (683$).

The government is constantly reviewing its lockdown measures but the latest rules are yet to start as this is being reviewed by the PM and his scientific advisor.

New strains are common and expected for viruses, and so far scientists have remained confident the current crop of vaccines will work against them.

The preliminary analysis has shown that potential new variant in travelers who have arrived in Japan from the Brazilian region of Amazonas and the new strain has mutated similar to the faster-spreading variant found in the UK and South Africa.

“If the mutations give it an advantage in transmission, we should expect the variant to become more frequent in Brazil and around the world over the next few months,”  said the researchers, and this new variant is probably recently found in December 2020 and January 2021.

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