From Monday, people travelling from Cyprus to the UK will need to present a negative COVID-19 test on arrival as authorities step up efforts to protect the country against new strains of the coronavirus.
All passengers arriving at UK entry points via boat, plane or train will need to have to take a test up to 72 hours before departing, Britain’s transport ministry said.
“We already have significant measures in place to prevent imported cases of COVID-19, but with new strains of the virus developing internationally we must take further precautions,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in a statement.
Earlier in the week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson instructed UK citizens to stay at home once more, following a surge in cases linked to a new variant of the coronavirus believed to have originated in the country.
Following the finding of a new strain of the coronavirus in South Africa, believed to be more potent, the UK government placed a ban on flights from the country, which it expanded on Thursday.
Hauliers, children under 11, crews and people travelling from countries where tests are not available, will be exempted and subjected to testing upon arrival.
Passengers failing to comply to the new regulations will be subject to a fine of 500 pounds (555 euro).
Britain currently requires passengers from countries like Cyprus to self-isolate for 10 days, or five if they pay for a private test and test negative.
Those requirements will remain in place after the new pre-departure testing rule comes into effect.
“Passengers arriving into England from a country on the safe travel corridor list, who have successfully demonstrated a negative result prior to departure from a country not on the Travel Corridor list will still have the option to reduce the self-isolation period from 10 to as little as 5 days by paying for a test through the Test to Release scheme.”
The new rule would not apply to the Common Travel Area which includes England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Ireland as well as the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.