The British government will remove all 11 countries from its COVID-19 travel red list from Wednesday because there is now community transmission of Omicron in Britain, Health Secretary Sajid Javid told parliament.
The new Omicron variant was first detected in southern Africa and Hong Kong. The British government added 11 African countries to its red list from late November, meaning that only UK citizens or residents arriving from those nations were allowed in and then had to quarantine in a hotel.
“Now that 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,” Javid said.
“We will be removing all 11 countries from the travel red list effective from 4 a.m. tomorrow morning.”
The 11 countries which will be removed are Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Britain has registered more than 4,700 cases of Omicron, with 10 people hospitalized, and one person has died after contracting the variant. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday Britain was facing a “huge spike” in Omicron cases.