The United Kingdom has added Nigeria to its red list and banned flights from the country due to cases of Omicron detected on Nigerian travellers into the UK.
A lengthy statement posted on the UK government website said the ban takes effect from 4am on Monday, December 6.
“Nigeria to be added to the travel red list from 4am Monday 6 December following 21 cases of Omicron reported in England which are linked to travel from this country, with 134 UK cases now reported in total,” the announcement reads.
“In light of emerging evidence on the Omicron variant, from 4am on Tuesday 7 December anyone aged 12 and above wishing to travel to the UK will need to show a negative pre-departure test (LFD or PCR) as close as possible to departure and not more than 48 hours before to slow the importation of the new variant
“Government working at pace to expand Managed Quarantine Service capacity, but passengers are advised that hotel bookings may be limited as new hotels are onboarded
“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
“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.
“Currently, the vast majority of cases in the UK have clear links to overseas travel from South Africa and Nigeria, and over the past week, 21 Omicron cases reported in England originate 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.
“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 two PCR tests 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.
New analysis conducted by the UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) indicates that the window between infection and infectiousness may be shorter for the Omicron variant, which increases the efficacy of pre-departure testing as it is more likely to identify positive cases before travel.
“In light of this emerging evidence and the changing global picture with regards to the spread of Omicron, from 4am on Tuesday, anyone wishing to travel to the UK from countries and territories not on the red list must also show proof of a negative PCR or lateral flow (LFD) pre-departure test, taken no earlier than 48 hours before departure. This applies to vaccinated passengers and children aged 12 and above.
“Airlines will be required to check for pre-departure tests alongside a completed passenger locator form, and passengers will not be allowed to board a flight without providing evidence of a negative test result. Given the reduced incubation period of the Omicron variant, passengers are advised to take the pre-departure test as close as possible to their scheduled departure to the UK and no earlier than 48 hours before travelling.
“These additional measures are vital to delaying the import of additional cases and slow the rise in cases within the UK. However, as the Prime Minister set out on 27 November, all temporary measures will be reviewed after three weeks to ensure that they remain necessary and proportionate, and this will take place on 20 December.”