UK puts all 11 countries off travel red list due to coronavirus

Ministers will soon sign off on a decision on Tuesday to remove all 11 countries from Britain’s “red list” of coronavirus travel restrictions, signaling that the UK government accepts the Omicron variant is no longer available. can be controlled.

Two Whitehall officials told the Financial Times that the Covid operations cabinet committee, which will meet on Tuesday morning, will approve the easing of travel restrictions for visitors to the UK, which is expected to come into effect. from 4 a.m. Wednesday.

11 African countries are more Redlisted after South African authorities became the first to warn the world about the Omicron variant in late November. listThe countries requiring a mandatory 10-day hotel quarantine are Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

As public health is an issue to be dealt with, the UK government’s decision only applies to England but three other administrative bodies in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales generally follow.

The decision will be welcomed by the tourism and hospitality industries, who have argued that the red list system severely limits travel.

People with knowledge of the discussions say that ministers have concluded that maintaining the red list restricting travel over the Christmas period is “pointless” as the new variant is spreading so quickly. Officials said the decision was supported by public health advice.

Sajid Javid, UK Health Secretary, has previously hinted that the red list no longer serves a purpose. He told the House of Commons last week: “If, as I think it is likely, we see more infections and this variant becomes the dominant variant, there will be less need for any kind of restriction. How about travel?”

Although all countries will be removed from the red list, government insiders say the system will be kept on standby and can be reactivated in the future if required.

Since the emergence of the Omicron variant, all people arriving in the UK have had to undergo a PCR test every two days and must be isolated at home until the results are available. PCR testing is also required prior to departure.

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