UK To Add India To COVID-19 'Red List' Destinations After Emergence Of New Strain - Gov't

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 19th April, 2021) India will join the United Kingdom's red list of highly infected destinations subject to travel bans due to the appearance of a new coronavirus variant, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced on Monday.

In late March, the Indian health authorities attributed a sharp surge in cases across the country to a fresh coronavirus type with E484Q and L452R mutations in the S protein, two worrisome mutations in a key part of the virus that helps it latch onto cells.

"After studying the data, and on a precautionary basis, we've made the difficult but vital decision to add India to the red list. This means anyone who is not a UK or Irish resident or a British citizen cannot enter the UK if they have been in India in the previous 10 days ... These rules will come into force at 04:00 [03:00 GMT] on Friday," Hancock said in Parliament.

The official explained that UK or Irish residents and citizens, who have recently visited India, will have to undergo a 10-day hotel quarantine starting from time of arrival.

He also added that UK health authorities have so far confirmed 103 cases of the variant, most of which are linked to international travel.

In the wake of the decision to ban travel to India over coronavirus concerns, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier on Monday canceled his trip to India scheduled for next week, and is due to hold talks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi via phone instead.

To date, the country's red list includes nearly 40 states worldwide based on pandemic-related risks they pose.