The United Kingdom government announced that it will remove all 11 countries in its COVID-19 travel “red” list.
Starting from Dec. 15, travelers returning from Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe will no longer have to stay in a managed quarantine hotel upon arriving in England.
“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,” Health Secretary Sajid David told Parliament.
However, unvaccinated passengers are required to self-isolate for 10 days and anyone who has tested positive will remain in isolation.
Pre-departure tests and PCR testing on the second day will also remain in place to prevent additional cases of Omicron from entering the UK, the government said.
The decision comes after a review of the latest risk assessment from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and it follows calls from the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and African countries to lift the travel restrictions.
The government will review the travel measures on Jan. 5 and will reimpose restrictions “should there be a need to do so to protect public health.”
The government had reintroduced the travel restrictions in November following the emergence of the Omicron variant.
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