The United Kingdom (UK) has banned arrivals from Zimbabwe among several southern African countries, including the Seychelles and Mauritius, as part of measures to contain the spread of the new South African strain of Covid-19.
The British government said the new regulation was in response to new evidence showing an urgent need to halt travel from all southern African countries to help prevent the spread of a new coronavirus (Covid-19) variant identified in South Africa.
In a statement, the UK announced that all arrivals who have travelled to or transited through Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Eswatini, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Mozambique, Angola, the Seychelles and Mauritius in the past ten days are now prohibited from entering its territory.
“Entry into England will be banned to those who have travelled from or through any southern African country in the last 10 days, including Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Eswatini, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Mozambique and Angola — as well as Seychelles and Mauritius,” read the statement.
“This does not include British and Irish nationals, longer-term visa holders and permanent residents, who will be able to enter but are required to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival along with their household.”
On her official Twitter handle, British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms Melanie Robinson confirmed the ban.
“Please note temporary UK entry restrictions introduced for travellers from Zimbabwe and other countries in the region from Saturday, January 9,” she tweeted.
According to the UK government website, the measure will be in place for a provisional two weeks, and apply to all travellers except British/Irish citizens.
Botswana, Mauritius and the Seychelles were however later removed from the UK’s travel corridor list along with Israel.
This comes after the UK on December 23 banned entry for travellers who had been to, or transited through, South Africa in the previous 10 days.
All flights from South Africa are banned indefinitely.
Findings from a study commissioned by the Zimbabwean Government to ascertain whether or not the Covid-19 second wave currently plaguing the country was triggered by a new imported strain of the virus are expected this week.
Director of epidemiology and disease control at the Ministry of Health and Child Care Dr Portia Manangazira said initial findings from the study indicate that a new strain may be spreading throughout the country.
According to the Health Ministry, as on Sunday Zimbabwe had recorded 507 deaths and 21 477 confirmed cases.