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UK reintroduces ‘Red List’ with 6 African countries present in it

The government of United Kingdom has reintroduced ‘Red List’ with 6 African countries present in it as added by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). This comes amid concerns over new COVID-19 variant – B.1.1.529.

The 6 countries added in UK’s ‘Red List’ are:

  • South Africa
  • Botswana
  • Lesotho
  • Eswatini
  • Zimbabwe
  • Namibia

Interestingly, all of the above mentioned 6 countries have previously been on UK’s Red List.

Direct commercial and private flights from these destinations have been temporarily banned until Sunday 28th November 2021, in order to allow time for hotel quarantine arrangements to be set up.

Non-UK and Irish residents who have been in these countries in the previous 10 days will be refused entry into England. UK and Irish residents arriving between now and 0400 hours on Sunday will be required to quarantine at home. After 0400 hours on Sunday, all arrivals will be required to book and pay for 10 days of quarantine in a government-approved hotel.

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The UKHSA said that the new variant under investigation “includes a large number of spike protein mutations as well as mutations in other parts of the viral genome”. The agency said that “these are potentially biologically significant mutations which may change the behaviour of the virus with regards to vaccines, treatments and transmissibility”, adding that “more investigation is required”.

Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said:

As part of our close surveillance of variants across the world, we have become aware of the spread of a new potentially concerning variant, which UKHSA has designated a Variant under Investigation. We are taking precautionary action to protect public health and the progress of our vaccine rollout at a critical moment as we enter winter, and we are monitoring the situation closely. I want to pay tribute to our world-leading scientists who are working constantly to keep our country safe, and I urge everyone to keep doing their bit by getting the jab and following public health guidance.

The Red List has been dormant since the start of November, when the final 7 countries were removed from the list. But the government said at the time that it would retain the category as a precautionary measure, and would add countries and territories to it “if needed, as the UK’s first line of defence”.

More information regarding UK’s Red List can be found here.

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