Omicron Variant: UK adds Nigeria to red list

Ekene Okafor, Lagos

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Nigeria has been added to the red list of countries banned from entering the UK from 4am Monday 6 December.

This is due to the 21 cases of Omicron reported in England which are linked to travel from Nigeria.

These are temporary measures that have been introduced to prevent further Omicron cases from entering the UK, and will be examined at the three-week review point on 20 December

Speaking about the decision British High Commissioner to Nigeria Catriona Laing said:
I know that this decision will have a significant impact on people in both our countries, particularly at this time of year. This decision is a precautionary measure to protect public health in the UK, whilst we try to understand this new variant.
“We continue to work very closely with the Nigerian authorities in tackling the pandemic and commend their ongoing work.” 

From 4am on Monday 6 December, UK and Irish citizens and residents arriving from Nigeria must isolate in a Government-approved managed quarantine facility for 10 days, and receive two negative PCR tests, as further precautionary action is taken against the Omicron variant.

She says currently, the 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 in England originating 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.

“These additional measures are vital to delay the import of additional cases and slow the rise in cases within the UK. However, as the Prime Minister set out on 27 November, the UK Government will review all temporary measures after three weeks to ensure that they remain necessary and proportionate, and this will take place on 20 December,” she explained.

It would be recalled that last weekend, 10 countries were added to the red list and it was announced that all vaccinated passengers arriving in the UK must take a day 2 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.
“Anyone arriving from Nigeria before 4am Monday 6 December, will be advised and strongly encouraged to isolate at home for 10 days from the beginning of their arrival in England. Their household should also self-isolate for 10 days with them. Affected individuals will be contacted and offered free PCR tests to be taken on day 8 after their arrival,” the British High Commissioner stated.

“Travellers should not attempt to travel to the UK from a red list country without a Managed Quarantine Service (MQS) booking, as they will not be able to board a flight and could be subject to a Fixed Penalty Notice at the UK border. You must book your managed quarantine package before you travel to England using the booking portal administered by Corporate Travel Management (CTM).”

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