Omicron: UK removes Nigeria, 10 other countries from red list

Omicron: UK removes Nigeria, 10 other countries from red list

The UK Government has announced the removal of Nigeria and 10 other countries from its travel red list with effect from 4am on Wednesday.

READ ALSO: Omicron Variant: UK adds Nigeria to red list
This was disclosed by the British Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, on Tuesday while addressing members of parliament, where he said the virus had spread so widely and as such the rules no longer had much purpose.

According to Javid, the red list is “now less effective in slowing the incursion of Omicron from abroad”.

The 10 other countries initially placed on the list include Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Speaking earlier on Tuesday, UK Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps had urged the country to replace the rest list with testing for the fully vaccinated, 
Recall that the UK had last week placed Nigeria on its red list, adding a pre-departure COVID-19 test requirement for all in-bound travellers and arrivals from the country.

The country further placed a temporary suspension on reviewing and issuing visitor visa applications from all red list countries, including Nigeria.

In addition to the new restrictions, travellers who had been in a red list country 10 days before arriving in the UK have been required to quarantine for 10 days in a quarantined hotel and take a COVID-19 test.

The red list was cleared at the end of October, but after the discovery of the Omicron variant in South Africa, 11 countries were put back on it.

The countries are Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The World Health Organisation has labelled Omicron a variant of concern.

Though the global body had said it was too early to link surges in infections to the new variant, it said it was launching more investigations into it.

The UN body said there is some evidence that Omicron causes milder disease than the Delta variant but complacency will cost lives.

Speaking during the virtual media briefing on COVID-19 last Wednesday, the Director-General of WHO, Dr.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said emerging data from South Africa suggest an increased risk of re-infection with Omicron, but noted that more data are needed to draw firmer conclusions.

“Certain features of Omicron, including its global spread and a large number of mutations, suggest it could have a major impact on the course of the pandemic.

“Exactly what that impact will be is still difficult to know.

“We are now starting to see a consistent picture of a rapid increase in transmission, although for now the exact rate of increase relative to other variants remains difficult to quantify.

“In South Africa, the number of Omicron cases is increasing quickly.

However, Omicron was detected when transmission of Delta was very low, so it had little competition.

“It will therefore be important to monitor carefully what happens around the world, to understand whether Omicron can outcompete Delta,” he said.

Omicron: UK removes Nigeria, 10 other countries from red list

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