All 11 countries currently on the red list removed


Further to the UK Government announcement that from 4am today (Wednesday 15 December), all 11 countries Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe will be removed from England’s international travel red list.

Addressing the Commons on Tuesday afternoon (14 December), Javid said: “We won’t keep measures in place for a moment longer than we need to. For example, 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.

“So I can announce today that while we will maintain our temporary testing measures for international travel, we will be removing all 11 countries from the travel red list effective from 4am tomorrow morning.”

It means arrivals into England from all 11 current red list countries will no longer have to submit to 10 days’ hotel quarantine.

Besides South Africa, these are: Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The move follows repeated hints from Javid that the UK’s red list regime was not fit for purpose with the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 now spreading rapidly in the UK and across the world.

On 1 November, the red list was emptied for the first time since it was introduced early this year when the seven remaining countries – which included Peru and the Dominican Republic – were removed.

South Africa was the first country to be placed on the red list towards the start of 2021, and remained on the list for much of the year – only to be added once again with the emergence of Omicron.
Transport secretary

Grant Shapps confirmed the red list move on Tuesday, but said current testing requirements would remain in place at least until a review in the first week of January.


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