by: DANICA KIRKA, Related press
Posted: Jan 15, 2021 / 5:30 AM MST
Up to date: Jan 15, 2021 / 05:45 AM MST
A jogger workouts on the banks of the River Thames towards the backdrop of Tower Bridge in London on Thursday, January 14, 2021 throughout England's third nationwide lockout to curb the unfold of the coronavirus. (AP Picture / Kirsty Wigglesworth)
LONDON (AP) – UK authorities has banned journey from South America and Portugal to make sure a brand new variant of COVID-19 present in Brazil doesn’t derail the nation's vaccination program , though there isn’t a indication that the variant made it to the UK.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps stated the ban, which went into impact on Friday morning, has been prolonged to Portugal as many individuals from South America to Europe cross by means of Portugal.
"We don't have a case in the meanwhile, however it's a precautionary method," Shapps advised the BBC. "We wish to guarantee that we’re doing every little thing attainable in order that the vaccine deployment can proceed and to make sure that it’s not disturbed by different variants of this virus."
The announcement comes simply weeks after many nations banned journey from the UK following the invention of one other variant of the virus that’s extra contagious than earlier varieties and has been blamed a pointy enhance in infections and deaths from COVID-19. There isn’t any indication, nonetheless, that the variant reacts in another way to vaccines.
However Portuguese Overseas Minister Augusto Santos Silva stated the UK's determination was "with out logic" and stated he would search clarification from his British counterpart.
"Suspending flights from Portugal with the argument of connections between Portugal and Brazil is, with all due respect, fully absurd," he stated in an interview posted on-line by the Diario de Noticias newspaper.
The UK is stepping up its mass vaccination program as the federal government seeks to guard the nation's oldest and most weak residents earlier than facilitating a 3rd nationwide lockdown.
Greater than 2.9 million individuals have acquired no less than one dose of the vaccine. Britain plans to provide the primary dose to over 15 million individuals, together with these over 70, frontline healthcare employees and others significantly weak to the virus, by mid-February.
"We’re so shut now that we wish to guarantee that we’re doing completely every little thing attainable to provide ourselves the most effective likelihood of defeating this virus, which is why it’s important that we act on these items shortly," a Shapps stated.
Observe AP protection of the coronavirus pandemic on: