UK reverses travel ban decision, removes African countries from red list

The United Kingdom has reversed its decision to ban flights from the 11 African countries earlier placed on red list. This decision followed a counter action by the Nigerian government to equally ban flights from the UK, Canada and other countries in retaliation.  

Apart from the bold decision by the Nigerian government, there was a backlash from the likes of South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa and a good number of Africans and concerned people across the world. The concerns generally spans across the angle that, African countries were being treated “unfairly” for discovering and sharing the Omicron variant with the world.

Health Secretary, Sajid Javid who made the announcement said, “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.”

Sajid added that, “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.”

The 11 countries earlier affected by the unfair decision were Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

According to the alternative arrangement, the country decided to allow flights from the listed countries but on condition that, the travelers will self-isolate in a pre-booked government facility or hotel for at least 10 days and pay above 2000 pounds.

Following the earlier announcement by the UK government, Nigeria equally issued a communique with threats not to only ban flights from the UK, Canada and co but to also place them on red list in retaliation, effective December 14th.

Nigeria’s Aviation minister, Captain Hadi Sirika said, “we have given our input that it is not acceptable by us and we recommended that those Canada, the UK, Saudi Arabia and Argentina also be put on the red list.”

He added that, “as they did to us, if they do not allow our citizens into their countries; who are they coming, as airlines, to pick from our country? They are not supposed to come in. I am very sure in the next three days; Monday or Tuesday, all those countries will be put on the red list of COVID-19.’’

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