The Government has known about a third new variant circulating in Brazil and some other South American countries for at least four days. Despite this, no travel bans are not expected to come into force until tomorrow. This is despite Brazil having already banned inbound flights from the UK. The Brazilian variant is thought to potentially be able to reinfect people who have already had Covid.
At yesterday’s liaison committee, Jeremy Hunt asked the Prime Minister why flights had not been banned. Boris simply said the Government is “taking steps” without going into more detail. Guido would have thought a preventative flight ban would be preferable to the risk of importing a tranche of foreign cases.
The news comes as Grant Shapps has announced he is helpfully delaying the need for mandatory tests for foreign arrivals, in order to “give international arrivals time to prepare”. The virus must be so pleased that even basic checks at airports are being delayed until next week. The delay served to highlight how open the UK has been to the world throughout the pandemic. While Brits have been harassed by police for sitting on park benches, foreign arrivals have been able to swan into the country and onto the transport system, expected to quarantine on trust with absolutely no checks. Bonkers.