Britain said Thursday it would do so stop arrivals from Latin American countries and Portugal on the fear of a variant of the coronavirus discovered in Brazil.
In recent weeks, British authorities have already fought to stop the spread of another variant of the coronavirus discovered in Britain, which is more contagious than its predecessors.
At least two variants of the coronavirus are currently circulating in Brazil, and at least one has slipped its boundaries, traveling to Japan.
Japanese authorities found one of those variants in four people traveling from Brazil earlier this week. The variant contains a mutation that is associated with higher ascent, similar to the variant found in Britain and another in South Africa.
Like the variant found in South Africa, the one exported from Brazil to Japan also carries a mutation that could weaken the effectiveness of vaccines. This same mutation has also been identified in the other variant of the coronavirus recently discovered in Brazil.
Experts have warned, however, that it would be very difficult for new variants of the coronavirus to completely avoid vaccines.
The British ban is set to take effect on Friday at 4am, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Twitter. Travel from Portugal to the UK will also be suspended given its strong travel links with Brazil, added Mr. Shapps, though truck drivers transporting essential goods from Portugal will be excluded.
Britain has already banned flights from South Africa. Brazil banned flights from Britain on Christmas Day.
British authorities have come under fire from opposition lawmakers for delaying travel bans from Latin America, but they have argued that implementing such measures takes time and that travelers coming from these countries should be quarantined for 10 days upon arrival.
What we need to ensure is that when we make these very, very important decisions that have a huge impact on the personal lives of people, but also businesses, we need to have some time, little Home Secretary Victoria Atkins said in Sky News.
Last week, Britain faced some of its deadliest days since the pandemic began and health authorities warned that the country’s healthcare system was on the verge of collapse. Authorities have warned they could tighten blockade measures across the country if the public does not stay home.
Britain has reported nearly 85,000 deaths, the deadliest death toll in Europe.
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