UK could ban flights from Brazil over new Covid strain

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New rules requiring travellers arriving in England to have a negative coronavirus test have been delayed. Photo: PA Archive/PA Images
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By Neil Lancefield, PA Transport Correspondent

Travel from Brazil to the UK could be banned on Thursday in response to a new strain of coronavirus in the South American country.

The measure is expected to be considered at an afternoon meeting of the British government’s committee which oversees restrictions.

It has been reported that flights from Brazil’s 10 neighbouring countries – including Argentina and Peru – could also be halted.

Meanwhile, British transport secretary Grant Shapps announced that new rules requiring travellers arriving in England to have a negative coronavirus test have been delayed “to give international arrivals time to prepare”.

The requirement for passengers arriving in England by boat, train or plane – including UK nationals – to test negative for Covid up to 72 hours before leaving the country of departure was due to come into force at 4am on Friday.

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But it has been pushed back until the same time on Monday, amid concern that guidance on which tests would be accepted had not been published early enough.

Travellers will need to present proof of a negative test result to their carrier on boarding, while the UK Border Force will conduct spot checks on arrivals.

New arrivals who flout the rules will face a minimum £500 (€560) fine, while the operator who transported them will also be fined.

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Passengers will still have to quarantine for 10 days regardless of their test results.

Scotland is taking the same approach to international travellers but will implement the policy on Friday.

Wales and Northern Ireland are expected to announce their own plans for pre-arrival testing in the coming days.

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