UK Relaxes Entry Policy to Omicron, All Red List Countries

The United Kingdom removes all 11 countries from a red list of areas subject to strict entry restrictions. The British government has decided this because the system is no longer very effective at slowing down the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, British media report.


The red list includes Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Travellers from those countries are only allowed to travel to England if they have British or Irish nationality or a residence permit. They must also be quarantined at their own expense in a hotel approved by the British authorities.

Those measures will expire on Wednesday morning if all countries are formally removed from the list. However, according to Sky News, health Minister Sajid Javid could not yet say whether that means some travellers will be allowed to end their hotel quarantine early. It’s also unclear whether people who recently paid thousands of pounds for it will get their money back.

Minister Javid said the Omicron variant has already spread worldwide and is also spreading in the United Kingdom. That is why, in his view, the red list is no longer a good means of keeping the variant out.

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