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‘Red List’ quarantine returns and flights banned from six Southern African countries

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The Government has moved quickly tonight in response to the discovery of a new coronavirus variant in South Africa.

It is thought that this variant may be able to bypass existing covid vaccines due to the number and type of mutations identified, as well as transmitting more easily than the Delta version.

Flights from six countries in Southern Africa will be banned from noon on Friday.


These countries are:

  • South Africa
  • Namibia
  • Zimbabwe
  • Botswana
  • Lesotho
  • Eswatini

In addition, ‘Red List’ hotel quarantine will be reintroduced for anyone arriving in the UK who has been in any of the countries above in the previous 10 days.

Travellers who have arrived from these countries in recent days will also be contacted for testing. has not yet been updated to reflect these changes.

More details can be found on the BBC website here.

Comments (60)

  • Cat S says:

    Almost finished packing today as we are supposed to be flying to Dubai on Monday and going on a cruise to Cape Town on the 3rd Dec- looks like we won’t risk going now. Had snagged J reward seats as well! Need to cancel Randox PCR test scheduled for tomorrow. This was a 4 week trip for our 10th Anniversary and was so looking forward to it as well. Travelling is just a nightmare at the moment. Looks like Christmas as home now!

  • Harrier25 says:

    South Africa is only 24% vaccinated according to Sky News this evening. Who in their right mind would want to risk visiting there anytime soon?

    • Novelty-Socks says:

      I work with a South African who hasn’t seen her family for two years. She is on the verge of booking travel for January/February and I reckon she’ll probably go regardless. For some folks – especially those younger, or with a different attitude to risk – it just feels like it’s just been long enough since they were home.

      • Harrier25 says:

        I understand her pain and accept that her situation is very different than someone off on their jollies.

      • John says:

        During covid if you need to go somewhere always just do it as soon as possible. On other forums lots of people complaining they haven’t been able to travel and then Austria and Germany ruined their plans. Other posters then point out that travel was possible (and much easier) from July to October 2020 and first half of December, and no preflight test from easly October 2021. Ok a few unlucky people may have never been able to get leave at the right times but many people including on here have travelled extensively during the pandemic.

        The only reason I haven’t seen my family in 2-3 years is because they all live in places with hotel quarantine (HKG, QLD, NZ)

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Right but 2/3 of all older residents

      The main purpose is to stop serious illness.

    • Harry T says:

      I’ve had three does of Pfizer and a covid infection – why would I care if other people are vaccinated? 😂

      • Tracey says:

        Hopefully not in that order!

        • The Savage Squirrel says:

          Hopefully yes in that order as the infection is then far more likely to be problem-free…

          • Tracey says:

            Though concerning if you’ve had your booster and still caught covid.

          • The Savage Squirrel says:

            Why? The booster reduces your chances of catching Covid (by up to 90%) but nobody has ever claimed it eliminates your chance of catching Covid – and with 10 million+ “boosted” people in the UK, you’d expect quite a large number of “boosted” people to catch it every week just based on large sample probability. Just a lot fewer than if none of them were vaccinated and with far better outcomes. 10% of a huge number is still a very large number…

    • Paul says:

      Most people under 30 don’t care about covid. Flights permitting, I’m going with 3 people in 20s in Feb. Then again in April.

    • Babyg says:

      who in their right mind would stay in a country with one of the highest rates of infection in the world ? (hint its not South Africa)

  • Track says:


  • captaindave says:

    Wheres the ” Plague Island ” comedian gone lately ? Austria ? Germany ?

  • Craig says:

    So it appears we now have Super Scariants? What’s next, Super Duper Scariants?

  • Tracey says:

    Selfish question. How likely is the red list to spread to Mauritius.

    • Chris says:

      More than 10 direct flights a week to mru from sa. Odds are it will jump sooner rather than later.

      • Tracey says:

        It needs to decide. Cancelable hotel until 3 days before departure, travel insurance from bank account covers getting covid when out there but not cancellations due to red list etc. So there is a 3 day uninsured gap….
        Don’t want to take another insurance out as that would mean declaring health conditions again and bumps the premium up, when health is already covered.

  • Andy says:

    Any new variant like this is a concern and banning flights while we wait for more data is sensible. Unless I had a holiday booked to South Africa I wouldn’t be panicking just yet. The case rates are very low still of the new variant (2500 ish) yesterday and there isn’t much to suggest it’s escaped from South Africa much apart from one case in Hong Kong.

    Quick action like has been taken by the govt is sensible while we wait and see….similar to how the Lambda variant was handled. Well done FTV South Africa for such quick sequencing work which has hopefully helped to stop the spread

    I’m due to go long haul to Asia in three weeks. I’m certainly not concerned just yet

  • Stagger Lee says:

    My Sister in Law is out there at the moment and due back on the 10th December.

    Assuming it’s still red list by then is there is there a way she can avoid hotel quarantine?
    Would going to another country (that is allowing flights from in SA ) and having a 10 day holiday work?

    That would surely be cheaper and more enjoyable if it’s doable?

    • Voldemort says:

      She could do that but it depends if other countries “ban” or quarantine SA arrivals. But yes, that would be my first move rather than Priti and Grant’s hotel prison.

      • Stagger Lee says:

        Thanks, I will suggest that to her and hopefully there will be somewhere she can get to that hasn’t put a ‘ban’ in place.

        £2285 for 10 days in a quarantine hotel seems a tad excessive

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