Kenya, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Philippines have been added to England’s “red list” – meaning 11 nights of mandatory hotel quarantine for anyone arriving after 4am on Friday 9 April.
The government said the four countries had been added “to protect the country against new variants of coronavirus (Covid-19), at a critical time for the vaccine programme”.
A statement said: “With over 30 million vaccinations delivered in the UK so far, the additional restrictions will help to reduce the risk of new variants – such as those first identified in South Africa (SA) and Brazil – entering England.
“So far, surveillance has found that few cases of the SA variant have been identified as being imported from Europe, with most coming from other parts of the world.
“From 4am on Friday 9 April, international visitors who have departed from or transited through Philippines, Pakistan, Kenya and Bangladesh in the previous 10 days will be refused entry into England.
“Only British and Irish citizens, or those with residence rights in the UK (including long-term visa holders), will be allowed to enter and they must stay in a government-approved quarantine facility for 10 days. They will also be required to arrive into a designated port.
“No direct flight bans from these countries will be put in place, but passengers are advised to check their travel plans before departing for England.”
The move affects countries with a total population of 541 million.