UK Imposes Testing Requirements Due to Omicron Variant

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Authorities in the United Kingdom have tightened their travel restrictions on Saturday due to the spread of the COVID-19’s Omicron variant that has affected many countries worldwide.

The new rules include that all travelers who are planning to enter England, as the same will be required to take a COVID-19 test before they board their flight, VisaGuide.World reports.

In this regard, the Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, stressed that such new changes would take effect starting from Tuesday.

“In light of the most recent data, we are taking further action to slow the incursion of the omicron variant,” Javid stressed in a tweet.

He also placed Nigeria on the red list, which consists of countries highly affected by the virus, meaning that arrivals from this territory bill be prohibited from entering the UK, except for British and Irish residents, while stressing that they must follow quarantine rules upon their entry.

Javid stressed that there was a significant increase in the number of infections with the Coronavirus Omicron variant linked to travel with Nigeria, with a total of 27 cases registered in England.

The chief executive of the Airport Operators Association, Karen Dee, stressed that the new measures would be a “major deterrent” to travel.

“This is a devastating blow for aviation and tourism,” she pointed out.

Based on the figures provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), a total of 10,329,078 people have tested positive for the Coronavirus in the United Kingdom since the start of the pandemic, while 145,281 people have died during the same period.

WHO figures also show that in the last seven days, a total of 3,017,577 cases of COVID-19 infection have been reported in the United Kingdom. The same source shows that a total of 848 people have lost their lives in the UK during the same period.

On Sunday, the United Kingdom health authorities confirmed that 86 new cases of the Omicron variant were detected in the country, bringing the total of cases in the UK to 246.

On Saturday, there were reported 160 cases of Omicron variant. According to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) figures, the nation saw an increase of more than 50 percent in one day, as reported by Wion news.

Last month, the UK’s government removed the final seven countries placed on the red list, which consists of territories highly affected by the virus, after confirming that the COVID-19 situation permitted such a step to be taken.

“This is another step in the right direction for international travel with more good news today for passengers, businesses, and the travel industry. We’re continuing to make great progress as we recover from the pandemic and today is another example of how far we have come,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps stressed back then.

The seven countries that remained on the UK’s red list were Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Haiti, Peru, and Venezuela.

However, the spread of the Omicron variant has led authorities in the UK to tighten their controls and impose additional preventive measures in order to prevent another upsurge in the number of COVID-19 infections.