India has surpassed every other country in incidences of Covid-19 infections reaching 275,000 new cases. This is the highest recorded number throughout the entire life of the pandemic to date.
British health secretary, Matt Hancock, said that “after studying the data, and on a precautionary basis we’ve made the difficult but vital decision to add India to the red list” The decision takes into account that 103 reported cases of the India variant in the UK, with some catching it in this country.
India will be added to the government’s red list at 4am on Friday (April 23).
UK residents wishing to enter the UK after that date and time will have to undergo 11 nights in hotel quarantine at a cost starting at £1,750 (which includes two post-arrival PCR tests).
Most people who have been in India in the past 10 days will be refused entry. The measure applies to flights into England and Scotland.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was due to visit India next week, however, that trip has been cancelled. He had hoped to set out plans for a post-Brexit free-trade deal while securing the release of millions of vaccine doses for Britain.
The new variant is a newcomer that has “concerning” genetic changes that need analysing. The government is boosting surge testing to quickly identify any new cases in the UK.
Nalin Kohli, a national spokesperson for India’s ruling BJP, today said there was the decision came as a “surprise news item” and that he didn’t know if there was an explanation behind the move as “there is nothing in the public space.”
Ironically, just four months ago India had banned flights from the UK to stop the spread of the UK variant. It is estimated that about 900 people a day have been arriving into the UK from India.
Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Kenya were added to the red list at the start of April.