The UK government has removed 11 African countries including Nigeria earlier placed on its travel red list effective Wednesday.
The move followed anger from African countries and retaliation by Nigeria. Many had described it as “travel apartheid”.
Other countries, which were on the list were Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The red list was reintroduced in late November as a precaution after the emergence of the Omicron variant first discovered in South Africa.
However, Health Secretary Sajid Javid told parliament that it had spread so widely the rules no longer had much purpose.
“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,” he said.
“Whilst 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.”
Currently, all UK arrivals from red list countries must pay for and self-isolate in a pre-booked, government-approved hotel for 10 days. They must also take Covid tests within 48 hours of setting off for the UK and PCR tests within two days of their arrival.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps tweeted, “As always, we keep all our travel measures under review and we may impose new restrictions should there be a need to do so to protect public health.”