UK to remove all 11 countries from travel red list

By Anadolu Agency

Country imposed travel bans after omicron variant was first detected in South Africa and Botswana

All 11 countries on the UK’s red travel list will be taken off the list early Wednesday, British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced. On Twitter Tuesday, Shapps added: “All current (coronavirus) testing measures remain in place and will 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 said.

A number of new restrictions were imposed in late November after the omicron variant was first detected in South Africa and Botswana, but that variant has since appeared in the UK, making the restrictions largely moot.

Eleven countries in Southern Africa were placed on the UK’s red list, meaning arrivals from these countries had to pay to stay in hotel quarantine.

The EU along with the US, Turkey, Canada, Germany, France, Japan, Israel, India, Australia, the Netherlands, and a host of other nations imposed similar travel restrictions, but in the weeks since, the omicron variant has appeared in most if not all of those countries.

To date the UK has reported 3,137 cases of the new variant, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday confirmed the death of at least one patient infected with the COVID-19 omicron variant.

The UK has recorded over 10.8 million cases and more than 146,400 deaths since the start of the pandemic.