The Government is expected to ban flights from Brazil in a bid to prevent a new variant of the coronavirus from reaching the UK.
Air connections with the rest of South America could also be blocked as a precaution, with the ministerial Covid-O committee due to announce its decision later today.
The Brazilian strain was first announced last Monday after Japanese health officials identified four air passengers arriving in Tokyo from Brazil’s Amazonas state as carriers.
While scientists are still uncertain whether it is any more transmissible than other variants of coronavirus, or if it will prove to be more resistant to new vaccines, Boris Johnson appeared to confirm yesterday that a flight ban would be enforced, telling a parliamentary cross-party committee: “We’re putting in extra measures to ensure that people coming from Brazil are checked: and indeed stopping people coming from Brazil.”
The Brazilian authorities have already banned flights from the UK, announcing their decision last month after a separate mutation of Covid-19 was discovered in southeast England. This means there are currently no direct flights from Brazil to the UK, although travellers are still able to make the journey by transiting through the US.
The UK, meanwhile, has also banned arrivals from 11 African countries amidst concerns over an emergent coronavirus variant in South Africa, believed to be more infectious than the original.
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