Exactly what UK’s new travel lockdown will mean for you

All quarantine-free travel into the UK will be suspended from Monday in a bid to keep out new coronavirus strains, Boris Johnson has announced.

The Prime Minister said that anyone flying into the country from overseas will have to show proof of a negative Covid test before setting off.

It comes after the Government banned flights from South America, Portugal and Cape Verde due to the emergence of a new variant in Brazil.

Mr Johnson told a Downing Street briefing that with the “hope” given by vaccines and the “risk” of new variants, “we must take additional steps now to stop those strains from entering the country”.

People arriving in the UK from a destination with a travel corridor are currently exempt from the 10-day quarantine requirement.

But 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.

A number of exemptions to the travel corridor policy – such as business travel – will be also suspended. The rules – which will be a further blow to the travel sector – come into effect from 0400 on Monday.

Labour accused the Government of “closing the door after the horse has bolted”, saying the announcement was too late to have stopped the arrival of “worrying” strains.

Two variants of interest have been identified in Brazil – though only one, which has a small number of mutations, has been detected in the UK.

Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said it was likely that the current vaccines will provide protection against other variants, but said “the question is to what degree”.

More than 3.2 million people have now received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in the UK – around double the number compared to last week.

The Government has set a target of vaccinating 15 million of the most vulnerable people in the UK by mid-February.

Mr Johnson said that after then “we will think about what steps we could take to lift the restrictions”, but stressed that any easing will depend on what is happening with the virus.

He also warned that the NHS is facing “extraordinary pressures”, saying “this is not the time for the slightest relaxation of our national resolve”.

The Prime Minister said: “On Tuesday, we saw 4,134 new admissions to hospital on a single day – the highest at any point in this pandemic.

“There are now more than 37,000 Covid patients in hospitals across the UK and in spite of all the efforts of our doctors and nurses and our medical staff we’re now seeing cancer treatments sadly postponed, ambulances queuing, and intensive care units spilling over into adjacent wards.”

Mr Johnson said around one third of Covid patients admitted to hospital are under 65, while a quarter are under 55.

He added: “So it can affect and does affect huge numbers of younger people as well, often very badly, and the risk is that those numbers would be greatly inflated if we let go too soon in circumstances where the disease was really rampant.

“That is not to say that I don’t want to try to get to relaxations as soon as we reasonably can – but there are a lot of things that have to go right.”

Chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said restrictions would need to be eased gradually, telling the briefing: “We’re not going to move from a sudden lockdown situation to nothing.

“It will have to be walking backwards by degrees, testing what works, and then if that works going the next step.”

Prof Whitty also said the number of patients being admitted to hospital with coronavirus is set to peak within the next 10 days – but that the peak in deaths will be later.

He said that while it was “very likely” the outlook for the UK will improve greatly by the spring – suggesting at some point after Easter – it will not “suddenly” be “all over”.

A further 1,280 people died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Friday, while there were another 55,761 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.

– What has happened to the travel corridors?

The travel corridors will be scrapped from 4am on January 18 to “protect against the risk of as yet unidentified new strains” of coronavirus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.

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.

The previous travel corridors exempted arrivals from having to complete the isolation period on return to the UK.

– Do I need to get a negative test if I want to come back to the UK?

In addition to the travel corridors being dropped, from Monday January 18, all arrivals into England – including British citizens – must test negative for Covid up to 72 hours before leaving the country of departure.

Travellers will need to present proof of a negative test result to their carrier on boarding, while the UK Border Force will conduct spot checks on arrivals.

New arrivals who flout the rules will face a minimum £500 fine while the operator who transported them will also be fined.

Passengers will still have to quarantine for 10 days regardless of their test results, or receive a negative result from a coronavirus test taken at least five days after they enter the UK.

There are limited exemptions, including hauliers, young children, train crew and people arriving from countries which do not have the infrastructure for testing.

Travellers will have to take an internationally approved test, and guidance released by the Department for Transport said they could include PCR tests, nasal and throat swab tests, which take between 12 and 24 hours to return results.

Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (Lamp) tests, which can return results in two to three hours, and lateral flow tests, which generate results in less than 30 minutes, are also acceptable.

Results can be produced as physical documents or by email or text but must be in English, French or Spanish. Translations will not be accepted.

Scotland and Wales have adopted similar policies.

– Can I travel abroad at all?

Current lockdown restrictions dictate that people must stay at home and holidays are not allowed in the UK or elsewhere.

Limited exemptions such as travelling for work reasons are still permitted, but passengers will need to self-isolate for 10 days on their return and show a negative Covid test result.

Arrivals into England who do not self-isolate can face fines between £1,000 and £10,000.

In Scotland, fines are up to £480 and in Wales they vary from £500-£4,000.

– Which countries are subject to travel bans?

Travel to and from all of South America, Portugal and Cape Verde was banned from 4am on Friday.

British and Irish nationals as well as people with residency rights will be exempt, but will have to self-isolate for 10 days with their household on returning from any countries on the banned list.

A similar travel ban was put into place for South Africa last month, and later neighbouring nations after scientists identified another new variant.

Since December 23, entry into England has been banned for people arriving from South Africa, apart from British nationals or residents who have been subject to an isolation period.

On January 9, the same rules were applied to Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Eswatini, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Mozambique and Angola, as well as Seychelles and Mauritius.