United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, said in parliament that from Wednesday, around 11 countries will be removed by the British government from their Covid-19 travel red list as there is now community transmission in Britain.
In southern Africa and Hong Kong, the new Omicron variant was detected first. In late November, the 11 African countries were added to the travel red list by the British government. This meant that the UK residents travelling from these countries would only be allowed to the country and would be quarantined in a hotel.
Sajid Javid stated that as there is now community transmission of the Omicron variant in the UK, and due to its rapid spread worldwide, the red travel list does seem to be less effective now in slowing the Omicron’s spread from abroad.
Sajid Javid further stated that they would be removing all 11countries from the travel red list effective from Wednesday morning beginning at 4 AM.
The 11 African countries were banned under the travel red list, as the Omicron variant cases were at a greater scale. These 11 countries were Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswantini, Angola, South Africa, Botswana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and Zambia.
The UK Travel industry has requested the government to take urgent measures of restriction reduction as the recently taken statistics show a lot of businessmen cancelling their travelling schedules due to restriction hurdles.
It’s still mandatory in Britain to take a PCR test or a Rapid Lateral Flow test preceding 48 hours before the individual’s departure. Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, has assured that these mandatory measures will be reviewed in January 2022.
Chief Executive of Travel Association (ABTA) Mark Tanzer has applauded the decision to remove the travel red list but also stated that the government should have also considered scrapping the mandatory testing before departure. He further said that even in the period of Christmas and the New Year, testing measures had been extended, and this would create a hurdle in the peak booking season of summer 2022, and even business travellers are facing a lot of hindrances making this a dire situation.
The travellers’ confidence has borne a sit back which will continue for some period even after the restriction are removed, many arrivals from the red list countries have complained about the expenditure and poor staying conditions as they have to pay thousands of pounds in government-approved hotels for being quarantined.
These hotels are lacking in available rooms leaving people who are travelling from the red list countries to stay back till the availability of vacant rooms in the hotel is possible.