Pre-departure tests return for all arrivals to the UK to tackle omicron
All international arrivals to the UK will again be required to take pre-departure tests to tackle the spread of the new Omicron variant, the health secretary, Sajid Javid, has announced this afternoon. The rule applies to all travellers visiting the UK or returning from a holiday, regardless of vaccination status, and will come into force from 4am on Tuesday 7th December.
He said it was because of an "increasing number of cases linked to travel", but acknowledged that the measures are "hugely unfortunate for people who already had travel plans”, but insists they will be "temporary".
In addition, Nigeria is being added to the UK’s travel red list, joining several southern African nations which were put on it after the Omicron variant was first detected late last month.
It means that only UK citizens and residents will be able to enter the country from Nigeria, and they will have to pay to stay in a quarantine hotel for 10 days. That change comes in from 4am on Monday, with Mr Javid saying Nigeria is "second only to South Africa for cases linked to Omicron".
He added that there are "27 cases already in England and that's growing. "We want to remove them as soon as we possibly can," saying that "vaccines remain our first line of defence".