The United Kingdom has added India to its COVID-19 “red list” for travel due to concerns on a new variant of the virus, the health secretary announced on April 19.
According to a statement from the UK government, most people who have traveled to India in the last 10 days will be denied entry into England starting from April 23.
British and Irish citizens, as well as other citizens with residence rights in the UK, will be allowed to enter but will also be required to undergo quarantine for 10 days in a government-approved hotel.
According to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, a “vast majority” of the new variant first detected in India, known as B.1.617, were linked to international travel and were detected by border testing.
Data from the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium showed that 182 cases of the Indian variant have been detected in the UK, including 162 from the last five weeks.
“After studying the data, and on a precautionary basis, we’ve made the difficult but vital decision to add India to the red list,” Hancock said in a statement to the House of Commons.
“We’ve been analyzing samples from these cases to see if this variant has any concerning characteristics — like greater transmissibility or resistance to treatments and vaccines — meaning it has to be treated as a variant of concern,” Hancock also said.
Hancock also said that there would be a surge in COVID-19 testing in areas where the Indian variant has been detected.
According to data from the UK government, 2,963 cases have been reported on April 19, bringing the total number of cases to 4,390,783.
Data also showed four additional deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 127,274.
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