The U.K. forbade flights from the whole of South America as well as Portugal, Panama, and Cape Verde over worries about the new variety of coronavirus that has appeared in Brazil.
Planes will be stopped from landing as of 4 a.m. U.K. time on Friday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps Tweeted. The Portuguese ban is because of “its strong travel links with Brazil,” he said. The U.K. is already struggling to control its own faster-spreading variety of the virus that pushed the country into a third lockdown earlier this month.
The ban adds to the distress of the aviation industry, which has already been suffering from restrictions in the U.K. and other countries. The number of passengers fell by 73% at London’s Heathrow airport in 2020, including an 83% drop in December. Tourism to Portugal too was disrupted
Exceptions made were also announced. Conveyance from Portugal will be excluded from a ban on travel from the European nation, in order to permit the transport of essential goods. Also excluded are British and Irish nationals and those from other nations with U.K. residence rights. They’ll have to self-isolate for 10 days along with their households after arrival, though.