Boris Johnson has scrapped the UK’s travel corridors, meaning arrivals from every country must self-isolate for at least five days.
The Prime Minister told the Downing Street press conference that the measure is in response to the rollout of coronavirus vaccines and the discovery of new strains of the virus.
He said: “It’s precisely because we have the hope of that vaccine and the risk of new strains coming from overseas that we must take additional steps now to stop those strains from entering the country.
“Yesterday we announced that we’re banning flights from South America and Portugal and to protect us against the risk from as-yet-unidentified strains we will also temporarily close all travel corridors from 0400 on Monday.”
People arriving in the UK from a destination with a travel corridor are currently exempt from the 10-day quarantine requirement.
The new policy means arrivals from every destination will need to self-isolate for 10 days, or receive a negative result from a coronavirus test taken at least five days after they enter the UK.
It had already been announced that travellers arriving in England and Scotland from Monday will need to have a negative test taken up to 72 hours before leaving the country of departure.
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of trade body Airlines UK, said travel corridors were a “lifeline” for the travel industry when they were introduced in summer 2020.
He acknowledged that “things change” and it is the correct decision to remove them, but added that restrictions should be eased again “when it is safe to do so”.
Joss Croft, chief executive of inbound tourism body UKinbound, said: “Consumer safety is paramount and although the removal of all travel corridors is regrettable, given the current trajectory of the virus it’s an understandable decision.”