Govt reacts as UK slaps travel ban on Tanzania

23Jan 2021
The Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Govt reacts as UK slaps travel ban on Tanzania

THE government says it has not officially received formal communication from the United Kingdom regarding a travel ban on Tanzanians effective today.

This follows an announcement by UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps via a tweet on Thursday that arrivals from Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are banned from entering the country from today to stop the spread of the South African COVID-19 variant.

Reacting to the news yesterday, the Director of Communications in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Emmanuel Buhohela said governments do not communicate via social media.

“If there were any concerns, the UK government would have communicated to the government of Tanzania via formal communication channels,” he said.

But in his tweet, Shapps indicated that Tanzanians and DRC citizens will not set foot in the UK until further notice.

“All passengers from these countries except British and Irish Nationals and third country nationals with residents’ rights will be denied entry,” the cabinet minister affirmed.

The UK itself has since last month been battling a new variant of the coronavirus first identified in the country which prompted more than 40 countries to slap a travel ban on UK citizens.

 After the news of the new variant broke out, flights from the UK were suspended to territories across the world including Spain, India and Hong Kong.

France shut its border with the UK for 48 hours, meaning no lorries or ferries could leave from the port of Dover to scale the channel to the other side of sea..

But the UK’s decision on Tanzania and the DRC may have been informed by findings of preliminary research published this week by bioRxiv, a medical journal, which suggested that a coronavirus variant detected in South Africa last December can partially evade the defenses that vaccines build in human bodies' immune systems.

Agencies said that the research has not yet been peer-reviewed, but it suggested that the variant, known as 501Y.V2, can escape antibodies developed in response to vaccination or infection with the original version of the more on


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