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OMICRON: Nigeria, Angola, South Africa and 8 other countries removed from travel ban by the UK

T.I Ukende
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The UK Government has announced the removal of Nigeria and 10 other countries from its travel red list with effect from 4am on Wednesday.

Other countries that were removed from the UK red list include Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The red list was reintroduced in a few weeks ago as a precaution after the emergence of the Omicron variant.

This disclosure was made by the British Health Secretary Sajid Javid, on Tuesday, while addressing members of parliament, where he said the virus had spread so widely and as such the rules no longer had much purpose.

Javid said that the red list is now less effective in slowing the incursion of Omicron from abroad.

He told the parliament, “Now that there is community transmission of Omicron in the UK and Omicron has spread so widely across the world, the travel red list is now less effective in slowing the incursion of Omicron from abroad.

“Whilst we will maintain our temporary testing measures for international travel we will be removing all 11 countries from the travel red list effective from 4am tomorrow morning.”

According to BBC, currently, all UK arrivals from red list countries must pay for and self-isolate in a pre-booked, government-approved hotel for 10 days as well as take Covid tests within 48 hours of setting off for the UK and PCR tests within two days of their arrival.

Some arrivals have already paid thousands of pounds to stay in government-approved quarantine hotels, and there have been complaints of chaotic organisation and inedible food during their stays.

The British Health Secretary had asked for urgent advice on whether those currently in managed quarantine would be able to leave early adding that he was very persuaded by calls to reimburse people and hoped to make an announcement soon.

Going further, Javid said the point of putting countries on the red list was to act quickly to slow the spread of Omicron.

However, he said that it has spread in the community and noted that the government doesn’t think putting people from a limited list of countries in hotels is useful.

This is a welcome development to people with plans to go to the UK from these countries including Nigeria or who had delayed their return from those countries as well as the Nigeria government who had complained against the negative impact it would have on the socio-economic development of the country that has just been on the path of recovery from Covid-19.

This reversal from the UK government is coming a few days after the Federal Government had announced plans to restrict airlines from the UK, Canada and Saudi Arabia, in a reciprocity policy.

The tourism and travel sector wants all these restrictions removed because of its impact on the industry as well as other businesses.

It was announced a little while ago that the federal government was making efforts to ‘diplomatically’ address the travel restrictions placed on the country by the United Kingdom (UK), Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Argentina over the discovery of omicron variant of coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria.

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