Travel corridors: Test to release banned for Seychelles and Mauritius arrivals

Travel testing: Shapps reveals 'concerns' over South African variant

Following an “increase of COVID-19 cases” in the Seychelles and Mauritius, the UK Government is now advising against all but essential travel to Seychelles. The nations were axed from the travel corridor list along with Israel and Botswana in line with higher “risk” presented.

However, now Britons returning from the Seychelles and Mauritius, as well as all “southern African countries” will no longer be able to opt into the test to release scheme.

The scheme allows travellers arriving from “high risk” countries to shorten their quarantine from 10 days to five if they are able to produce a negative coronavirus test on day five of their self-isolation.

The Seychelles and Mauritius, in particular, are popular winter sun destinations.

Though holidays may be on hold by law due to lockdown, the new rules also impact those travelling for “essential” purposes.

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Paul Charles, travel expert from the PC Agency, said: “Travel update: @transportgovuk extending travel bans from Seychelles, Mauritius, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Mozambique, Angola, Eswatini – entry to #UK banned to anyone who has travelled through in last 10 days except British nationals.

“Botswana, Seychelles, Mauritius removed from travel corridor list.

“Due to the steep rise in #Covid infections no Test To Release allowed for anyone entering from these countries. #Israel also removed from corridor list.”

The FCDO has changed its travel advice for all of these nations, warning against “non-essential travel”.

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For Seychelles, it states: “The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises against all but essential travel to the whole of Seychelles based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks

“From 4am on Saturday 9 January, visitors arriving into the UK who have been in or transited through Seychelles in the previous 10 days will not be permitted entry.

“British and Irish nationals, longer-term visa holders and permanent residents arriving in the UK from Seychelles on or after 4am on 9 January will need to self-isolate on their return.”

This advice is repeated for Mauritius, and all of the South African countries listed.

With immediate effect, all arrivals into the UK from any destination will also have to provide a negative coronavirus test before they are permitted entry.

This test must have been taken 72 hours prior to arrival into the UK.

Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps has also explained this will not remove the need for quarantine on arrival from “high risk” countries.

Speaking on Sky News, the Transport Secretary described quarantine as the “gold standard” for eliminating the spread of coronavirus.

“No test can beat what that does. So this gives you the best of both worlds,” he continued.

“You take a test upfront. You hope you are going to catch some people who are asymptomatic, they don’t know they have got it, but it turns out they take a test and therefore they can’t fly and don’t fly.

“But it is really the quarantine and self-isolation, that is the bit that deals with the spread.”

Mr Shapps stated the latest changes have come following concerns over a new strain of the virus detected in South Africa.

“There are concerns with the south African variant in particular about how effective the vaccine would be against it so we simply can not take chances,” he stated.

In a briefing last night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson cited the UK has already managed to vaccinate around one million of the “most vulnerable” members of society.

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