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By CHINOYI CHIPULU
The United Kingdom Government has extended a travel restriction to Zambia and Southern African countries from tomorrow January 9, 2021 to protect against the spread of a new COVID-19 variant detected in South Africa.

Entry into England will be banned to those who have travelled from or through any Southern African country in the last 10 days, including Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Eswatini, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Mozambique and Angola, as well as Seychelles and Mauritius.

This was contained in a press statement made available by First Secretary Press and Public Relations at the Zambia Embassy in the United Kingdom Abgail Chaponda.

Ms Chaponda said the move, in addition to the travel ban imposed on South Africa on December 23, 2020, follows new data on the steep rise in incidence of the new variant, that has vastly increased the risk of community transmission between 9 other Southern African countries as well as the Seychelles and Mauritius, which both have strong travel links with South Africa.

She said urgent restrictions are therefore now needed to prevent the spread of this strain in the UK.

“The measures will be in place for an initial period of 2 weeks while the

Scientific data and alternative ways to protect the UK and Africa are reviewed,” She said.

She said British and Irish Nationals, longer-term visa holders and permanent residents who have travelled to all countries in southern Africa, Seychelles and Mauritius in the last 10 days will have to self-isolate along with their household the measures will be in place for an initial period of two weeks

“Any exemptions usually in place, including for those related to employment will not apply and those British nationals arriving into England from the other southern African countries, Seychelles and Mauritius after 4am on January  9, cannot be released from self-isolation through Test to Release.

“People sharing a household with anyone self-isolating from these countries will also have to self-isolate for 10 days,” she said.

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