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Boris Johnson ditches travel corridors for ALL countries from Monday over mutant virus fears
BORIS Johnson has sensationally axed all travel corridors to stop more mutant variants of Covid hitting the UK.
He scrapped all travel corridors for all countries, meaning anyone coming into the country from 4am on Monday will be ordered to isolate for 10 days and can’t get a negative test to get out early.
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Speaking at tonight's press conference alongside Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Chris Whitty, he said he was forced to "take additional steps to stop those strains from entering" the country.
It’s expected that more flights will now be cancelled across the world – causing more chaos for the struggling travel sector.
It is the toughest border lockdown the UK has ever imposed since last year's March shutdown.
But already Brits are banned from going on holiday thanks to the national lockdown – and should only be travelling for work or essential reasons anyway.
But the news will spark a scramble for Brits abroad to get back home before the extra quarantine rules kick in on Monday morning.
The PM said tonight: "If you come to this country you must have proof of negative covid tests that you have taken in the 72hrs before leaving, and you must have filled in passenger locator form. The airline will ask for proof of both.
"Upon arrival you must quarantine for 10 days not leaving for any reason, or take a test on day 5 and wait for proof of negative result."
It came as:
- 55,761 new covid-19 cases and 1,280 further deaths were reported in the latest 24-hour period
- But the 'R rate' is below 1 in some regions in signs the lockdown is working
- Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said earlier that people should hesitate book their summer holidays as the nation was still in the middle of a pandemic
- The number of people in the UK to have been given a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine is 3,234,946 as of January 14, according to Government data published on Friday – a rise of 316,694 in just a day
The nation is also on tenterhooks for an update on the new Brazil variant – which caused a flight ban to come in overnight.
Flights have already been cancelled between the UK and Portugal, along with all of South America – and only British citizens or those with residence rights will now be allowed in from those areas.
Public Health England and Porton Down labs are looking at the new Brazil strain – which Boris Johnson said was "concerning earlier this week – and are expected to give an update later.
But one of two new variants from Brazil could have already made its way to the UK, according to Professor Wendy Barclay, a leading British scientist.
Downing Street has said evidence currently suggests that the concerning new Brazilian variant of coronavirus may be more transmissible but does not affect vaccines.
Transport Secretary this morning Grant Shapps said this morning he did not believe the mutation is in Britain yet.
"There haven't been any flights that I can see from the last week from Brazil, for example," he told the BBC.
And he said the Government's top scientists think the vaccine will still work effectively on the new variant.
Mr Shapps said: "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."
Brazil has seen Covid deaths double as its hospitals run out of oxygen while a new strain of the deadly virus has been detected in the Amazon.
Health officials and scientists have suggested the mutation could be behind the surge over the last three weeks which has seen daily records set for cases and deaths.
Hospitals in the country are being overwhelmed as Brazil has recorded the second highest death tally in the world with 205,000.
It is feared the new strain could be fueling the spread as Brazilian scientists believe the Covid mutation could increase the rate of transmission – like the variants detected in South Africa and the UK.
Meanwhile, the Government has launched a new advertising blitz in an attempt to stop people breaking the Covid rules over the weekend.
It warns people not to "bend the rules" and that from the Government's new advertising blitz warning that "catching up can kill", after parks and beaches were packed last weekend.
The Sun revealed yesterday one of them is expected to say that grabbing a coffee "could cost lives" – after ministers warned against people using exercise rules to see their mates.
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