Health Minister Sajid Javid announced on Tuesday that all 11 countries on Britain’s travel red list would be removed Wednesday morning. As he explained, Omikron has already spread to the point that travel restrictions have become ineffective.

Regarding the emergence of a new type of coronavirus at the end of November, 10 South African countries were entered into the then empty red list – Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and a few days later also Nigeria .

Only citizens and residents of the UK and Ireland are allowed in from the red-listed countries, but upon arrival they must undergo a paid quarantine in one of the designated hotels for a full 10 nights, for a fee of £2,285.

“Now that Omikron has been broadcast locally in the UK and Omikron has spread widely across the world, the Travel Red List is now less effective at slowing down the passage of Omicron from abroad,” Javid told the House of Commons. He added, “While we maintain the requirements for temporary external travel tests, we will remove all 11 countries from the travel red list as of 4 am tomorrow.”

Currently, all people coming into the UK from abroad must take a coronavirus test no later than 48 hours before arrival and another type, PCR, on the second day after arrival, then stay home quarantine until a negative occurs.

Javid also said he sought urgent advice on whether people currently in hotel quarantine would be allowed to leave early. He added that he was confident of calls for reimbursement of the hotel quarantine costs incurred by those currently in attendance, and hoped to make a statement soon on that.

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From London Bartłomiej Niedziński (PAP)

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