UK Completely Locks Down Travel Over Fears of New COVID Strain

Boris Johnson Digital Covid-19 Presser 30.04 by UK Prime Minister is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The UK is shutting down as it deals with a new strain of COVID-19 has doctors worried. According to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the mutant strain could be resistant to vaccines, which means the strictest precautions need to be taken.

As of this Monday anyone entering the UK has to isolated for a minimum of five days, after which they’ll have to get a test to be released or be isolated for at least 10 days.

According to Johnson these steps are necessary since the new strain might not be stopped by the vaccine.

“We are making such progress with the vaccine. What we don’t want is all that hard work undone by the arrival of a new variant that is vaccine-busting. It is vital to toughen restrictions now when day by day, hour by hour we are making such strides in protecting the population,” Johnson said.

UK Putting in Even Stricter Rules

Anyone who does enter the UK and go into self-isolation will be looking at even stricter rules as well. Random “spot checks” to make sure people are actually isolating will result in 1,000GBP fines (about $1,358USD) penalties for those who break the rules in any way.

New strains of COVID from Brazil and South Africa have doctors worried because they are more infectious than the main type of COVID and they may not be stopped by the vaccine.

However the mutation of coronavirus that has medical professionals the most alarmed is coming out of Japan and the UK wants to make sure it doesn’t enter the UK. The potential cancellation of more flights around the world because of these new Japanese, Brazilian and South African strains could cause even more issues worldwide.

In the UK you’re no longer allowed to vacation or travel unless it’s for work or essential reasons, but all the British people who are away from the country will now be in a panic to get back in before the travel ban goes into effect on Monday morning.

“Consumer safety is paramount and although the removal of all travel corridors is regrettable, given the current trajectory of the virus it’s an understandable decision,” said tourism organization UKinbound chief Joss Croft.

The UK’s Current Status

Although case numbers in the UK are gradually going down, the PM is worried about the new mutations of COVID from Japan, Brazil and South Africa.

“It’s likely the vaccine we have now is going to protect against the UK variant, and its going to provide protection to the other variants as well, its just to what degree the efficacy might change,” Johnson said.

Johnson said it won’t be until at least mid-February that restrictions are possibly relaxed a little, once the “most vulnerable” in the UK have been vaccinated.

“What we can’t have is any false sense of security so that we, as it were, lift the restrictions altogether and then the disease really runs riot in the younger generations. That is not to say that I don’t want to try to get to relaxations as soon as we reasonably can – but there are a lot of things that have to go right,” Johnson said.

Flights to the UK are already cancelled with South America although the UK thinks the Brazil strain might already be in the country.

However Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the Brazil strain doesn’t appear to have come in yet and also it isn’t necessarily going to be an issue with the vaccine.

“We had a look at this particular mutation, as opposed to many other thousands very carefully, saw there may be an issue, not so much that the vaccine won’t work, in fact scientists think it will work, but just the fact it is more spreadable,” Shapps said.