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Several African countries were added to the UK red list & more on new travel rules

With the news of Omicron, the new Covid Variant, ten countries in South Africa have been added to the UK red list. Keep reading to find out more about the new variant, red list and UK’s travel rules.

The UK government has also made it clear that travellers visiting England must take a PCR test by the end of the second day after their arrival.

What are the countries on the UK red list?

The addition of up to ten countries in the UK red list marked the return of the rule, which had been put to rest in October.

Here are the countries currently on the UK red list:

  • South Africa
  • Namibia
  • Zimbabwe
  • Botswana
  • Lesotho
  • Eswatini 
  • Angola
  • Mozambique
  • Zambia
  • Malawi

People arriving from them will not be able to enter unless they are UK or Irish nationals or UK residents. 

Travellers will then have to pay for & self-isolate in a government-approved hotel for 10 days. 

The hotel should be pre-booked, and the rates are as follows:

  • 10 nights (11 nights) for one adult – £2,285
  • Additional adult (or child over 11) – £1,430
  • Children aged five to 11 – £325

What is the new variant?

According to Health Secretary Sajid Javid, Omicron, the new Covid variant discovered in Southern Africa, could be the most infectious variant so far.

However, nobody knows for sure. The government is in a state of fear over either overreacting or underreacting as the new variant has no track record. Therefore, there is no definite way to know for sure what the capacity of this new variant is! 

What are the UK’s travel rules for other countries?

Before arrival: Double-jabbed travellers visiting the UK from other countries no longer have to take a Covid test before taking off. This rule applies to people vaccinated in the UK, EU, US and several other recognised countries – including Brazil, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan and Turkey. 

Upon arrival: As mentioned before, people travelling into the UK will have to take a PCR test by the end of the second day after their arrival & self-isolate in a government-approved hotel until they get a negative test result.

If a traveller comes into contact with a positive case of Omicron, they will have to self-isolate, regardless of the person’s vaccination status.

All UK arrivals must also fill a passenger locator form – even if they are just passing through.

I am unvaccinated. What do I do?

Unvaccinated travellers over 18 must self-isolate for 10 days after arrival in the UK.

You will also need to:

  • Take a PCR or lateral flow/antigen test (not a free NHS test) in the three days before you travel to the UK.
  • Take a test on or before day two and on or after day eight after your return.
  • Test to Release will also remain as an option for unvaccinated travellers to England.

Has your trip been affected by the UK red list? What are your thoughts on the travel rules and the new variant? Let us know in the comments below, and remember to follow the mandatory mask rule. Stay safe, everyone!


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