Travel news latest: Uproar as Portugal is pulled into South America travel ban


A travel ban on 16 countries, covering the whole of South America and Portugal, came into force at 4am this morning, amid concerns over the new Brazilian variant of Covid-19.

Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, Tweeted to say he was taking “urgent” action to stop the Brazilian variant reaching Britain.

Anyone who has visited or transited through one of the 16 countries will no longer be granted access to the UK. However, the ban does not cover British, Irish and foreign residents, who will be subject to a quarantine of ten days on arrival in the UK.

Shapps said: “Travel from Portugal to the U.K. will also be suspended given its strong travel links with Brazil.” The ban covers Madeira and the Azores, which have also now lost their travel corridors.

However, travellers cannot get into Portugal from Brazil without a negative test at the departure airport, prompting uproar on Twitter as to why Spain – which has strong links to South and Central America – is not covered by the travel ban too.

Paul Charles, travel expert and CEO of the PC Agency, said: “If now is the window for stemming the potential new strain’s flow into the UK, then now is the time to ensure every possible entry point is plugged – and that includes Spain. At the moment, it’s a glaring omission, especially as there is so much traffic between Portugal, where entry from is banned, and Spain.”

Travel bans of this sort have previously been introduced for those travelling to the UK from Denmark and South Africa, as well as a number of southern African countries.

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