With the new Omicron variant, changes have been made to the UK travel restrictions. Here are the latest highlights that you should know.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced steps to contain the new variant of the Coronavirus, called Omicron, including new UK travel restrictions.
International passengers, majorly students visiting for their semester renewals in December, will be the most targeted visitors from all of the population.
Here are the top highlights of the latest UK Travel Restrictions that you should keep an eye upon-
On Saturday, PM Johnson shared new temporary and precautionary measures following the emergence of the Omicron variant in the UK. As per the latest norms, the mask mandates will be reintroduced along with PCR tests for international arrivals.
The United Kingdom administration has also revised its red-listed nations and has added several African countries in the fresh updates. As of Nov. 29, 2021, the UK has red-list the following African countries to curb the spread of the Omicron variant:
8. South Africa
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said new COVID-19 rules would be enforced from Tuesday, including mandatory mask-wearing in shops and public transport in England and tighter restrictions on passengers arriving from abroad.
The mandatory use of face masks in public places was scrapped in July but has remained mandatory on public transport and in many indoor spaces in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
With the exercise of the new UK travel restrictions, international travelers will be exempted to enter unless they are the UK or Irish nationals/residents. Returning residents would also be required to purchase a pre-booked government-approved hotel for a 10-days self-isolation period.
Due to the rising cases globally, the UK administration has red-listed several countries in southern Africa, including crucial travel hub Qatar and the US, Britain, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the Netherlands.
Individuals or students travelling to the UK will be required to take a PCR test, regardless of their vaccination status.
"We will require anyone who enters the UK to take a PCR test by the end of the second day after their arrival and to self-isolate until they have a negative result," Johnson was quoted saying.
Meanwhile, individuals who had contacted people who tested positive for the new Omicron variant must self-isolate for ten days. Johnson said, adding the steps would be reviewed in three weeks.
In the same press conference, England's Chief Medical Officer Chris Witty emphasised the effectiveness of vaccination over the new variant.
"There was still much uncertainty around Omicron, but "there is a reasonable chance that at least there will be some degree of vaccine escape with this variant," Witty said.
The Department for Education is advising pupils in Year seven and above and school staff and visitors to wear face masks in public areas.
A similar measure applies to education establishments in England, including secondary schools, colleges & universities, and childcare settings staff.
The Omicron variant was first reported to WHO from South Africa on Nov. 24. Three distinct peaks have characterised the epidemiological situation in South Africa in reported cases, the latest of which was predominantly the Delta variant, said WHO.
The first known confirmed Omicron infection was from a specimen collected on Nov. 9.
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