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UK tightens travel restrictions to tackle new coronavirus variant

Ministers have introduced contemporary restrictions on coming into the UK in response to the new Omicron variant of coronavirus, and can reintroduce pre-departure testing for all arriving passengers from subsequent week.

Sajid Javid, the well being secretary, stated passengers would wish to present proof of a adverse pre-departure take a look at, no matter their vaccination standing, from 4am on Tuesday.

Nigeria will probably be added to the travel “red list” on the similar time, changing into the eleventh African nation to go on to the listing.

People arriving from pink listing international locations should quarantine in a government-approved lodge at their very own expense for 10 days.

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“In light of the most recent data we are taking further action to slow the incursion of the Omicron variant,” Javid stated on Saturday night.

Ministers have considerably tightened travel guidelines over the previous week in response to the variant, which was first recognized in southern Africa, sending a wave of uncertainty by way of the travel business.

As nicely because the return of the pink listing, arriving passengers are required to take a PCR take a look at inside two days of their arrival and should self isolate till they obtain a adverse outcome.

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Airlines, airports and different travel corporations reacted with dismay to the return of pre-departure testing, which they argue is a big deterrent to leisure travel.

Sean Doyle, chief govt of British Airways, stated the information was a “devastating blow” and that prospects “will now be faced with uncertainty and chaos”. 

“The blanket reintroduction of testing to enter the UK, on top of the current regime of isolation and PCR testing on arrival is completely out of step with the rest of the world, with every other country taking a measured approach based on the science,” he stated.

Karen Dee, chief govt of business physique The Airport Operators Association, stated she anticipated “most of the limited remaining demand for travel” to “fall away.”

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Dee referred to as for presidency help to assist companies by way of one other interval of lowered demand for travel.

“Travel and aviation are the only sectors hit with any operating restrictions in response to the Omicron variant,” she stated.

Tim Alderslade, chief govt of Airlines UK, backed the expanded pink listing however criticised the new testing necessities.

“It is premature to hit millions of passengers and industry before we see the full data. We don’t have the clinical evidence,” he stated.

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