UPDATE (18:07 hours on 28th November 2021): The government of United Kingdom has announced that the new rules would come into effect from 04:00 hours GMT on Tuesday 30th November 2021.
Countries around the world are tightening their border restrictions amid concerns of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 and United Kingdom is no different. The United Kingdom has announced that it will require all arriving passengers to self-quarantine. The announcement comes after the UK added 6 African countries to its Red List.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has today announced that all international arriving passengers, including those who are fully vaccinated, will have to self-quarantine and perform a Day 2 test. Until the Day 2 test comes out to be negative, the traveller will not be allowed to leave quarantine.
Boris Johnson said to a news conference:
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.
He added that those who had come into contact with people testing positive for a suspected case of Omicron would have to self-isolate for 10 days and that the government would tighten up the rules on wearing face coverings.
The latest decision by the United Kingdom follows the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant – Omicron. The variant was first found in Southern Africa and given its genetic makeup, scientists around the world have sounded the alarm that this new strain could evade immunity. This has led to a slew of travel bans issued worldwide in the last 72 hours.
The UK government has not yet announced when the mandatory self-quarantine will come into effect. However, with the quickly evolving situation in light of the new variant, it will not be a surprise that the new restrictions will take effect in a matter of hours or days.
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4 more countries added to the Red List
The UK government has also announced that it will add 4 more countries to its Red List, taking the number of countries in the list to 10. The announcement comes after the UK reported 2 cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
After fresh advice from the United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA), Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola will join the Red List from 4am on Sunday (28th November 2021).
The officials said that the travellers who have returned from these four countries in the last 10 days must isolate and get a PCR test.
Sajid Javid, Health Secretary, said:
We will do all we can to protect the UK public against this emerging threat and that is why we are surging testing capacity to the impacted communities and introducing travel restrictions on a further four countries: Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola. We will not hesitate to take further action if required.
From 4am on Sunday, non-UK and non-Irish residents who have been in Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola in the previous 10 days will be refused entry into England. Note that this does not apply to those who have stayed airside and only transited through any of these countries while changing flights.
UK and Irish residents arriving from 4am on Sunday will be required to self-isolate in a government-approved facility for 10 days. During their stay, they will be required to take a PCR test on day 2 and day 8.
On Thursday, UK reintroduced its Red List with South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia present in it. Passengers arriving in the UK from these countries from 4am on Sunday will be required to book and pay for a government-approved hotel quarantine for 10 days.