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UK removes Nigeria, others from red list

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US eases travel recommendations on 61 countries Omicron Nigeria red list

The government says that Nigeria and 10 other countries will be removed from the UK’s travel red list from 4am on Wednesday.

The other countries on the red list are Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The list was reintroduced in late November as a precaution after the emergence of the Omicron variant.

But Health Secretary Sajid Javid said it had spread so widely the rules no longer had much purpose.

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“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,” he told parliament.

“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.”

Currently, all UK arrivals from red list countries must pay for and self-isolate in a pre-booked, government-approved hotel for 10 days.

They must also take Covid tests within 48 hours of setting off for the UK and PCR tests within two days of their arrival.

‘Complete sense’

The move follows anger from African countries, with the UN describing the ban on non-UK residents entering England as “travel apartheid”.

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The travel industry had also warned the restrictions were hurting business.

Tim Alderslade, head of trade group Airlines UK, said emptying the red list made “complete sense”, but that the government should also scrap pre-departure and day two tests for all arrivals.

“If the red list isn’t necessary, given that Omicron is established here at home, then neither are the costly emergency testing and isolation measures imposed on even fully vaccinated travellers, which again put us completely at odds with the rest of Europe.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said these testing measures would be reviewed in the first week of January.

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“As always, we keep all our travel measures under review and we may impose new restrictions should there be a need to do so to protect public health,” he said on Twitter.

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