Britons living in London and huge swathes of the south have found themselves facing new tier 4 restrictions putting huge limitations on daily life. As part of the new guidance announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Britons living in areas now under the strictest coronavirus restrictions may not travel internationally.
They are also banned from leaving their tier 4 area and are told to only leave home for a list of “essential” reasons set out by the Government.
Despite this, some of the UK’s largest airports are situated in tier 4 areas, including London’s Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.
What’s more, they remain open to fly passengers in and out.
Travel expert Simon Calder explained in a tweet: “Air travel and the new tier 4 areas Gatwick, Stansted and Southampton airports are now within tier 4 (along with Heathrow and Luton).
“If you live in a lower tier you can travel to a tier 4 airport to fly out (and in again).
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“If you live in tier 4 you are not allowed to travel abroad.”
According to the Government website: “If you live in a Tier 4 area, you can only travel internationally – or within the UK – where you first have a legally permitted reason to leave home. In addition, you should consider the public health advice in the country you are visiting.
“If you live outside a Tier 4 area you may still transit into or through a Tier 4 area to travel abroad if you need to, but you should carefully consider whether you need to do so. In addition, you should follow the public health advice in the country you’re visiting.
“If you do need to travel overseas from a Tier 4 area (and are legally permitted to do so, for example, because it is for work), even if you are returning to a place you’ve visited before, you should look at the rules in place at your destination and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice.”
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The news has sparked outrage among Britons, slamming the fact Britons from lower tiers can still travel from tier 4 areas as “ridiculous”.
One irate Twitter user said: “This is absolutely ridiculous.
“Tier 4 can barely leave their homes and can’t see their family, but the rest of the country can happily travel in and out for a jolly!
“After the new SA strain this is dangerous too.. how are they not testing at our airports yet?!”
Matt Hancock revealed another new strain of COVID-19 had been detected via passengers arriving from South Africa.
As a result, people who have been in or transited through South Africa in the last 10 days are no longer allowed to enter the UK.
British and Irish nationals who have travelled from South Africa will be forced to quarantine for 10 days, along with members of their household.
One Twitter user questioned: “Surely you cant travel into a lockdown (tier 4) zone as you are then breaking rules on moving around in a tier 4 zone?”
Another described the rules as “nonsensical”.
“This is laughable. So if you live in tier 4 you can’t travel to the airport and get on a flight, but if you live in tier 1, 2 or 3 you can travel to the airport in tier 4 and get on a flight, highly likely administered by people who live in tier 4,” they wrote.
A second person added: “Absolute Madness.”