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COVID-19: UK removes all African countries from the red list

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Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister

The United Kingdom (UK) has removed all 11 African countries from its red list, which severely restricted travel between those countries and the UK.

The restrictions were first imposed last month in order to slow the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

Some critics had described the measure as racist as only African countries appeared on the red list.

Initially they were all in southern Africa, including South Africa and Botswana, where Omicron was first identified – but Nigeria was later added.

The 11 countries affected are:

  • Angola
  • Botswana
  • Eswatini
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • South Africa
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

The restrictions will be lifted at 04:00 GMT on Wednesday.

“Now that there is community transmission of Omicron in the UK and Omicron has spread so widely across the country the travel red list lis now less effective in slowing the incursion of Omicron from abroad,” Health Minster Sajid Javid told the UK’s parliament.

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