Government tightens travel rules in response to Omicron

The government has tightened up travel restrictions for those arriving in the UK in response to the Omicron variant.

From 4am on Tuesday (7 December) travellers will need to take a test before their journey to the UK – as well as another test after they arrive.

The government has also placed Nigeria on the UK’s travel red list as part of the measures against the new variant.

The new measures apply to everyone, regardless of vaccination status. They will require everyone aged 12 and over entering the UK to show proof of a negative Covid test.

The test must be taken no more than 48 hours before travelling and can be a lateral flow or a PCR test. Travellers are required to use private test providers – free NHS tests are not permitted.

Travellers then have two days to take a PCR test once they have arrived in the UK. The PCR test must be booked before travelling and must be from a private test provider. Travellers must self-isolate while they are waiting for the test result, regardless of vaccination status.

Unvaccinated travellers have to self-isolate for at least 10 days on returning to the UK, as well as taking a Covid test on day 2 and day 8 after their return.

In addition to the increased testing, all travellers to the UK must fill in a passenger locator form no more than 48 hours before travelling.

Countries on the red list

The following countries make up the UK’s current travel red list.

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

These countries have been targeted because the Omicron variant was first identified in southern Africa. The only people allowed to enter the UK from red list countries are UK residents or UK or Irish nationals. Anyone entering from these countries will have to pay to self-isolate in a pre-booked government-approved hotel for 10 days.

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