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UK adds Nigeria to red list travellers over Omicron fears

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Nigeria is among countries to be restricted into the United Kingdom, UK, as it’s placed in the red list to face restrictions as announced by the Health Secretary.

All international arrivals to the UK will again be required to take pre-departure COVID-19 tests to tackle the spread of the new Omicron variants.

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The rule applies to all travellers over the age of 12 visiting the UK or returning from a holiday, regardless of vaccination status, and will come into force from 4am on Monday 6 December.

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Tests must be taken a maximum of 48 hours before the departure time.

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Sajid Javid said it was because of an “increasing number of cases linked to travel”.

In addition, Nigeria is being added to the travel red list – joining several southern African nations which were put on it after the Omicron variant was first detected late last month.

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It means that only UK citizens and residents will be able to enter the country from Nigeria, and they will have to pay to stay in a quarantine hotel for 10 days.

That change comes in from 4am on Monday, with Mr Javid saying Nigeria is “second only to South Africa for cases linked to Omicron”.

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He added that there are “27 cases already in England and that’s growing”.

Mr Javid acknowledged that the measures are “hugely unfortunate” for people who already had travel plans, but insisted they would be “temporary”.

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“We want to remove them as soon as we possibly can,” he added, saying that “vaccines remain our first line of defence”.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said “additional caution” was required until the Omicron “picture is clearer”.

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Travel rules are a matter for the devolved administrations, but measures introduced by Downing Street are usually replicated elsewhere, and Scotland quickly announced the same testing requirements.

Scotland’s Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “We have always said it may be necessary to quickly implement fresh measures to protect public health in Scotland, particularly with regards to international travel, and these restrictions are proportionate and necessary to that aim.”

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