Nigeria added to red list after 21 Omicron cases linked to travel from the country

December 5, 2021
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NIGERIA is being added to the travel red list on Monday after 21 cases of Omicron reported in England linked to travel from this country.

With 134 Omicron cases reported in the UK, from 4am on Monday UK and Irish citizens and residents arriving from Nigeria must isolate in a Government-approved quarantine facility for ten days, and receive two negative PCR tests, as further precautionary action is taken against the Omicron variant.

Currently, the vast majority of cases in the UK have clear links to overseas travel from South Africa and Nigeria, and over the past week, 21 reported Omicron cases reported in England originate from Nigeria.

A temporary travel ban will therefore be introduced for all non-UK and non-Irish citizens and residents who have been in Nigeria in the last 10 days, meaning they will be refused entry into the UK. This does not apply to those who have stayed airside and only transited through Nigeria while changing flights.

Last weekend, ten countries were added to the red list and it was announced that all vaccinated passengers arriving in the UK must take a day two PCR test and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.

Since then, the geographical spread of Omicron has increased considerably, with 37 countries around the world now reporting Omicron cases and over 134 cases identified in the UK.

New analysis conducted by the UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) indicates that the window between infection and infectiousness may be shorter for the Omicron variant, which increases the efficacy of pre-departure testing as it is more likely to identify positive cases before travel.

In light of this emerging evidence and the changing global picture with regards to the spread of Omicron, from 4am on Tuesday, anyone wishing to travel to the UK from countries and territories not on the red list must also show proof of a negative PCR or LFD pre-departure test, taken no earlier than 48 hours before departure. This applies to vaccinated passengers and children aged 12 and above.

Airlines will be required to check for pre-departure tests alongside completed Passenger Locator Form, and passengers will not be allowed to board a flight without providing evidence of a negative test result.

Given the reduced incubation period of the Omicron variant, passengers are advised to take the pre-departure test as close as possible to their scheduled departure to the UK and no earlier than 48 hours before travelling.

Additional measures were set out by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on November 27, and the Government will review all temporary measures after three weeks to ensure that they remain necessary and proportionate, and this will take place on December 20.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, said: “We knew this winter would be challenging but the arrival of a new variant means we must further strengthen our defences.

“As our world-leading scientists continue to understand more about the Omicron variant we are taking decisive action to protect public health and the progress of our COVID-19 vaccination programme.

“I urge everyone to do their bit to slow the spread by following the new travel rules, wearing masks where mandatory and most importantly getting the booster jab when called.”

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