Tuesday, August 9, 2022

UK prepares to remove Nigeria, others from COVID-19 red list

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps convinced colleagues to replace it with testing for the fully vaccinated.

• December 13, 2021
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson [Photo Credit: NBC News]

The United Kingdom is considering scrapping its red list and the travel bans it imposed over fears of the Omicron variant. 

Daily Mail reports that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps convinced colleagues to replace it with testing for the fully vaccinated. The report mentioned that the move was expected to be approved as soon as this week.

The report followed a televised address made on Sunday by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who raised concerns over the “emergency in our battle with the new variant, Omicron, and we must urgently reinforce our wall of vaccine protection to keep our friends and loved ones safe.”

Mr Johnson announced rolling out increased vaccinations, up to one million booster jabs per day to stem an incoming “tidal wave of Omicron” and avoid imposing further restrictions.

Last week, the UK placed Nigeria on its red list, adding a pre-departure COVID-19 test requirement for all in-bound travellers and arrivals from the country. The country further placed a temporary suspension on reviewing and issuing visitor visa applications from all red list countries, including Nigeria.

In addition to the new restrictions, travellers who had been in a red list country 10 days before arriving in the UK have been required to quarantine for 10 days in a quarantined hotel and take a COVID-19 test.

Peoples Gazette on Sunday reported that aviation minister Hadi Sirika, a senior member of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, disclosed during a meeting with northern Muslims on Saturday that President Buhari’s regime had agreed to place a ban on those countries in retaliation.

Heavy criticisms had trailed the red list and travel restrictions. 

Last week, Mr Buhari’s regime claimed the UK banned Nigeria because it is a poor, black nation, threatening to respond appropriately.

In a similar vein, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has rejected the travel ban placed on Nigeria by Canada and UK over the Omicron variant, describing it as “precipitate, unfair and discriminatory.”

The travel restrictions were reinstituted after the emergence of the Omicron variant identified in South Africa. Other African countries like South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, and Eswatini have had travel bans instituted against them since the Omicron variant was identified. 

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