Everyone who has arrived in the UK from South Africa within the last 14 days and anyone they have come into contact with has been ordered to self-isolate for two weeks after another new strain of coronavirus was detected in the country.
Already two people in the UK have been identified with the new, possibly more contagious, variant of Covid-19. Both are contacts of those who recently returned from South Africa.
Health Minister Matt Hancock said travel restrictions will be imposed on South Africa. The UK Foreign Office was already advising against non-essential travel to the country and anyone arriving in the UK from South Africa was already obliged to quarantine before today’s announcement.
However, Matt Hancock said a law would be introduced to force anyone who has recently arrived from South Africa and anyone they have come into contact with to quarantine for a fortnight. “These measures are temporary while we investigate further this new strain which is shortly to be analysed at Porton Down,” he said.
The new variant has been traced to the Nelson Mandela Bay in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, which was the first major urban area to be hit by the country’s second wave.
The UK Foreign Office first revealed on Monday that a new variant of Covid-19 had been discovered in South Africa. Several countries, including Switzerland, Germany and Turkey, have already banned flights from the country.