The purpose of the United Kingdom’s ‘red list’, was to slow the spread of COVID-19 by restricting travellers from high risk countries, but according to reports, the number of Omicron cases in the UK are doubling every two to three days.
Several of these reports in the UK state that the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson is willing to scrap the mandatory 10-day stay in quarantine hotels for travellers and residents returning from South Africa.
As Bloomberg reports, Johnson mentioned in a press conference last week the government would review travel restrictions “given the way omicron’s now seeded around the world, and not just in red-listed countries,” while ministers believe the move is logical.
This was also seen after Health Secretary Sajid Javid told Parliament: “Very soon, in the days and weeks that lie ahead, if, as I think is likely, we see many more infections and this variant becomes the dominant variant, there will be less need to have any kind of travel restrictions at all.”
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa criticised the travel bans, saying the restrictions defied scientific logic, and was unjustified and discriminatory, while United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres referred to it as “travel apartheid.”
People returning from South Africa and other countries on the red list are forced to stay in these quarantine hotels and are required to pay £2,285 (around R50 000) per person for their stay, Business Insider adds.
The announcement to remove the 11 countries from the red list and end mandatory hotel quarantine for travellers arriving from high risk countries could take place this week still.
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