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UK removes Nigeria from travel red list but PCR tests to remain

Wasilat Azeez

The United Kingdom (UK) says the 11 African countries on its travel red list will be removed from 4 am on Wednesday, December 15.

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

The red list was introduced in November following the emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

Speaking at the UK parliament on Tuesday, Sajid Javid, UK health secretary, said the Omicron variant “has spread so widely across the world”, hence the travel red list is now “less effective”.


“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,” he told parliament.

“Whilst we will maintain our temporary testing measures for international travel we will be removing all 11 countries from the travel red list effective from 4 am tomorrow.”

The UK government had added Nigeria to the list due to the discovery of COVID Omicron cases in the country.


Presently, British citizens and residents travelling from Nigeria to the UK are expected to spend £2,285 on hotel quarantine for ten days to slow the spread of the Omicron variant.

They are also required to take either a PCR or a rapid lateral flow test a maximum of 48 hours before departure.

The pre-departure and arrival tests will remain.

Grant Shapps, UK transport secretary, said testing measures would be reviewed in the first week of January.

“As always, we keep all our travel measures under review, and we may impose new restrictions should there be a need to do so to protect public health,” he wrote in a Twitter post.

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