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Omicron threat: With 160 cases, UK tightens testing for inbound travellers, adds Nigeria to red list

According to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, travel restrictions are vital to curbing the spread of Omicron as experts strive to learn more about the variant's transmissibility and consequences for vaccination efficacy.

Omicron threat With 160 cases UK tightens testing for inbound travellers gcw
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London, First Published Dec 5, 2021, 1:39 PM IST
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To curb the spread of the Omicron variety, Britain will require all arriving visitors to undergo a pre-departure Covid-19 test, and newcomers from Nigeria would be quarantined in hotels, said health minister Sajid Javid on Saturday. According to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, travel restrictions are vital to curbing the spread of Omicron as experts strive to learn more about the variant's transmissibility and consequences for vaccination efficacy. The total number of confirmed Omicron infections in the UK has risen to 160, according to the UK Health Security Agency.

Javid said in a broadcast clip said they have been reviewing the data for the last week or two since we discovered Omicron and are finding a rising number of instances tied to travel. He added that have always maintained they'll move quickly if necessary, and that is why we opted to implement this adjustment on pre-departure tests.

The pre-departure testing requirement will compel all arriving travellers to undergo either a PCR or a fast lateral flow test a maximum of 48 hours before departure beginning at 0400 GMT on Tuesday. According to the health ministry, the step was warranted since the UKHSA investigation revealed that the window between infection and infectiousness for the Omicron strain might be narrower.

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On the other hand, British Airways called it a "devastating blow" to the sector, while pilot union BALPA said the government was losing trust in air travel. On December 20, the measures will be reviewed. Nigeria will be added to the UK's travel "red list" on Monday at 0400 GMT. According to the health ministry, most cases in the UK are linked to abroad travel from Nigeria and South Africa. Last weekend, South Africa and nine other Southern African nations were added to the red list, requiring UK nationals or residents to quarantine in a hotel.

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