Posted by Sade Williams
The United Kingdom government has removed Nigeria and 10 other countries from its red list.
Recalled that Nigeria and the other countries were placed on red list after the confirmation of Omicron variant of COVID-19.
Authorities had repeatedly condemned the action of UK and other countries over the confirmation of some omicron COVID-19 variant cases in Nigeria, describing it as discriminatory.
Apart from UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, announcement on Tuesday, who said, ‘the red list is “now less effective in slowing the incursion of Omicron from abroad. So I can announce today that whilst we’ll maintain our temporary testing measures for international travel, we will be removing all 11 countries from the travel red list effective from 4:00 am tomorrow,” The Travel Port sighted a statement by the British High Commission in Lagos saying ‘Nigeria and the other 10 countries and territories on the red list will be removed from 4am Wednesday 15 December.’
‘’Following review of the latest risk assessment from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), Nigeria and the other 10 countries and territories on the red list will be removed from 4am Wednesday 15 December.
‘’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.’’. it stated.
It added that 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 – through maintaining testing requirements at the border, through the introduction of Plan B measures, and by turbocharging the booster rollout.
Speaking further, British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing CB said:
“On Tuesday 14th December, UK Ministers made the decision – based on scientific and public health data – to remove Nigeria from the UK’s travel red list. 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 take 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 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.”
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “The red list bought our scientists time to learn more about Omicron and to slow the seeding of the variant from abroad into the UK. Now that there are high levels of community transmission, it is right to remove the red list and focus on our national effort to tackle Omicron.
“With cases doubling every two to three days we’ve turbocharged our booster
programme, we’re asking arrivals to keep testing to limit the spread of new cases, and we are introducing Plan B measures to protect the country from the threat of this new variant.”
‘’Airlines will continue to check all passengers for pre-departure tests alongside their completed Passenger Locator Form, and passengers will not be allowed to board a flight without providing evidence of a negative test result. The government will take further action if necessary to contain the virus and the new variant, as has been the case throughout the pandemic. ‘’.