New rules will come into force from 1pm UK time on Friday, after which there will be no direct flights to the UK from Dubai or Abu Dhabi
The UAE on Thursday was added to the UK government’s ‘red list’ of countries, meaning direct flights between the two countries will be suspended from Friday afternoon.
The move, confirmed in tweets from Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, means arrivals in the UK are banned other than “British, Irish or third country nationals with residence rights” who must self-isolate at home for 10 days on their return.
Video: The UK removes the UAE from its travel corridor
The UK government’s decision means returning travellers now have to self-isolate for 10 days
The rules will come into force from 1pm UK time on Friday, after which there will be no direct flights from Dubai or Abu Dhabi.
According to a statement on the official website of the UK Government, the decision to ban travel “follows the discovery of a new coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa, that may have spread to other countries, including the UAE, Burundi and Rwanda”.
Any exemptions usually in place will not apply, including for business travel, it added.
The statement said: “British nationals currently in the UAE should make use of the commercial options available if they wish to return to the UK. Indirect commercial routes that will enable British and Irish nationals and residents to return to the UK continue to operate.”
From tomorrow (Friday 29 Jan at 1pm), we’re extending our travel ban with the United Arab Emirates, Burundi and Rwanda all added to the UK's red list. 1/3— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) January 28, 2021
The decision follows new measures announced by the government on Wednesday to minimise travel across international borders and reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission, including managed isolation in hotels and the need to declare a reason for travel.
Shapps said on Twitter: “From tomorrow (Friday 29 January at 1pm), we’re extending our travel ban with the United Arab Emirates, Burundi and Rwanda all added to the UK’s red list.
“This means people who have been in or transited through these countries will be denied entry, except British, Irish and third country nationals with residence rights who must self-isolate for ten days at HOME.
“Passengers must still have proof of a negative test and completed Passenger Locator Form before arrival – or could otherwise face a £500 fine for each.”
Thousands of people planning to travel back from Asia and Australasia will also see their onward flights from Dubai/Abu Dhabi cancelled.
Plans to introduce a new system of mandatory hotel quarantine for UK arrivals from countries including the UAE are not yet in place.
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