Nigeria and ten other nations have been removed from the UK’s travel blacklist as of 4 a.m. on Wednesday.
The decision to initially place the countries on the red list had sparked outrage in Nigeria and other African nations, with the UN calling the prohibition on non-UK residents accessing England “travel apartheid.”
Following the emergence of the Omicron strain of COVID-19, the British government imposed a travel embargo on Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe on December 4.
The red list was restored as a precaution following the discovery of the Omicron strain, according to the report.
The government had indicated the restriction will be reviewed on December 20, but UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced the latest move on Tuesday, saying the Omicron had spread so extensively that the laws were no longer effective.
“Now that there is community transmission of Omicron in the UK and Omicron has spread so widely across the world, the travel red list is now less effective in slowing the incursion of Omicron from abroad,” he told the parliament.
“Whilst we will maintain our temporary testing measures for international travel, we will be removing all 11 countries from the travel red list effective from 4 am tomorrow morning,” he added.
According to the BBC, all UK immigrants from countries on the red list are presently required to pay for and self-isolate at a pre-booked, government-approved hotel for ten days.
They must also do Covid tests 48 hours before leaving for the UK and PCR testing two days after arriving.
Some arrivals have already paid thousands of pounds to stay in government-approved quarantine hotels, where they have complained of disorganized service and inedible food.
Javid stated that he had sought immediate advice on whether people under controlled quarantine might leave early.
He also stated that calls for reimbursement had “quite encouraged” him, and that he wanted to make an announcement shortly.
The travel industry had also expressed concern about the restrictions, claiming that they were hurting business.
The testing procedures will be revisited in the first week of January, according to UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
“As always, we keep all our travel measures under review and we may impose new restrictions should there be a need to do so to protect public health,” he said on Twitter.