The United Kingdom (UK) has announced that Nigeria and 10 other countries would be removed from its red list from Dec. 15; following a review of the latest risk assessment from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
This decision by the UK Government was contained in a statement issued on Tuesday, December 14; by the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing in Abuja.
“All 11 countries will be removed from the UK’s red list from 4 am Wednesday, Dec. 15; as Omicron becomes the dominant strain around the world.
“Pre-departure tests and PCR testing measures on or before day 2; after arrival remain in place, with a review of all travel measures in the New Year.
“Passengers arriving from Nigeria, Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe will not have to stay in a managed quarantine hotel on arrival in England from this date.
“As Omicron cases rise in the UK and in countries around the world; the travel red list is less effective in slowing the incursion of the variant from abroad; and these temporary measures are no longer proportionate.
“The red list has successfully served its purpose in delaying the spread of Omicron into the UK; to buy time for scientists to learn more about this variant.
“All vaccinated passengers arriving in the UK must continue to take a pre-departure test two days or less; before they depart for the UK and must take a PCR test on or before day 2; and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.
“These testing measures are vital in helping to prevent any additional cases of Omicron from entering the UK; and stopping people from passing it on to others.
“This is a critical phase in tackling the Omicron; and the Government’s focus remains on slowing the spread of the variant in the UK.”
Laing further said that Ministers of the UK made the decision to remove Nigeria from the UK’s travel red list based on scientific and public health data.
She stated that the emergence of the Omicron variant is a reminder that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and like all countries around the world the UK has had to make difficult decisions to protect public health.
“We took this necessary precautionary action to give us time to understand the challenge we and others faced, and to slow down the spread of Omicron, while scientists urgently assessed what impact the variant has on vaccines, treatments, and transmissibility.
“When we announced the heightened restrictions we made clear that we would remove them as soon as we could, and that is the decision the Ministers have taken today
“I know this will be welcome news for students, tourists, businesses, and families in the UK and Nigeria, although I recognise the impact that these temporary health measures have had,” Laing said