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Malawi, Others Off UK’s Red List

A pupil at the Winnie Mandela Secondary School has her temperature measured as she enters the school premises before classes resume in the Tembisa township, Ekurhuleni, on June 8, 2020. – Grade 7 and grade 12 pupils in South Africa began returning to classrooms on June 8, 2020 after two and a half months of home-schooling to limit the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. (Photo by Michele Spatari / AFP)

Britain has announced the removal of Southern African countries from United Kingdom (UK) red list.

The countries are Malawi, Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The red list was reintroduced in late November as a precaution after the emergence of the Omicron variant.

Southern Africa Development Community- SADC Chairperson Lazarus Chakwera called the travel restrictions discriminatory as the variant had also been discovered in other non-African countries.

‘Despite the omicron variant being detected in over 40 countries, including the US and across Europe, similar travel bans are yet to be imposed against non-African countries. We feel these travel restrictions are discriminatory and unjust,’ said Chakwera.

But Britain’s Health Secretary Sajid Javid said it had spread so widely the rules no longer had much purpose.

“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 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 4am Wednesday morning.”

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