Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the move in the House of Commons as he revealed that 103 cases of the so-called Indian variant had been identified in the UK, of which the "vast majority have links to international travel".
Responding to the threat of the new Covid-19 variant, the UK has added India to its “red list”, effective Friday 3am GMT. This means that anyone not a resident of the UK or Ireland, or a British citizen, cannot enter the UK if they have been to India in the previous 10 days.
Other countries in the UK’s red list include Pakistan, Bangladesh, Oman, the Philippines, Qatar, South Africa, the UAE and Zimbabwe.
“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 cannot enter the UK if they’ve been in India in the previous 10 days,” UK Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock told Parliament, according to a Reuters report. “UK and Irish residents and British citizens who’ve 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.”
PTI reported that Hancock said samples of the so-called “Indian variant” of the virus have been analysed to see if the new variant has any “concerning characteristics”, such as greater transmissibility or resistance to treatments and vaccines.
“After studying the data, and on a precautionary basis, we’ve made the difficult but vital decision to add India to the red list,” the minister told MPs.
The move came hours after Downing Street had announced the cancellation of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s visit to India next week due to a spike in Covid-19 infections in the country.
On Sunday, Hong Kong had barred flights from India on fears of the mutated coronavirus strain. Previously, New Zealand had also restricted travellers from India.
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