Travel plans for those in the UK or planning to visit there are in disarray as the coronavirus global pandemic continues to unfold. As the COVID-19 pandemic reaches record highs of new cases and subsequent deaths, a recent mutation in the virus has caused much concern for researchers and government officials alike. Similar to a mutation found previously originating in South Africa, a variant of the COVID-19 virus has also appeared in the UK, supposedly stemming from the country of Kent. 

Scientists have not said the mutation is likely to distort the effect of the coronavirus vaccines currently in development, but are keen to keep the mutation as contained as possible. Their concerns are shared by many around the world, with the governments of over 40 countries acting in accordance to guiding scientific principles and inflicting a travel ban on the UK. 

The fast spreading version of the virus has forced the UK government into a controversial decision to reverse the five day relaxation in coronavirus restrictions over the Christmas period, and instead put the south east of England into even tighter regulations. The previously three tiered lockdown system as a result has resulted in an additional Tier 4 being included in government policy making

France, Brazil, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, China, Turkey, Russia, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Greece, Portugal, Spain and Peru are just some of the 40 countries who have imposed partial or full travel restrictions on the UK. Peru has even imposed a travel ban on any passenger that has visited Great Britain in the prior two weeks. 

It is not sure precisely where the new strain originated, though first noted in England in the south east county of Kent, as the same strains of the variant have been found elsewhere in the globe. Whilst this could be the result as person-to-person there is also the potential the mutation in the virus is of a natural genealogical benefit, and therefore occurring naturally but separately in the few instances of its mutation.

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