Covid Brazilian variant sparks South America travel ban

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UK-bound arrivals from South America and Portugal will be banned from Friday over concerns about the Brazilian coronavirus variant.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the change would come into force from 04:00 GMT.

British and Irish citizens and foreign nationals with residence rights will still be able to travel but must isolate for 10 days, he said.

The decision was announced following a meeting of ministers on Thursday.

The ban applies to arrivals from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.

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Mr Shapps said Portugal had been included "given its strong travel links with Brazil" – but there would be an exemption for hauliers travelling from the country to allow the transportation of essential goods.

He said suspending travel from that European country would act "as another way to reduce the risk of importing infections".

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was "very concerned" about the Brazilian variant of the virus.

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