The United Kingdom has added Nigeria to the countries on its red list as a result of the discovery of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 cases linked to Nigeria.
UK health secretary, Sajid Javid, disclosed this on Saturday during a television interview.
The UK had since placed a temporary ban on air travel from six southern African countries — South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini, Namibia and Zimbabwe — with immediate effect to prevent importation of the variant into Britain.
Javid said, “Over the recent days, we have learned of a significant number of growing cases linked to travel with Nigeria. There are 27 cases already in England and that’s growing. Nigeria narrows second only to South Africa in terms of cases linked to Omicron.
“So today, the government has decided to add Nigeria to the travel red list and that will be effective from 4am on Monday. This will mean that only UK residents or citizens of the UK can enter the UK from Nigeria from that point onwards, and they would have to quarantine in one of the relevant hotels.
“We’ve also decided to require pre-departure tests for all inward travellers that will be effective from 4am on Tuesday, and they’ll be required for a maximum of 48 hours before the departure time.”
A statement by the British High Commission also noted that the ban is temporary and “follows 21 recent cases of COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529 (Omicron) linked to Nigeria”.
The ban will also not apply to persons “staying airside and only transiting through”.