UK to require all incoming international travellers to take Covid-19 test

British health secretary Sajid Javid also says Nigeria is being added to travel red list

British health secretary Sajid Javid has announced all international travellers arriving into the UK will be required to take a pre-departure Covid-19 test. Photograph:  Tom Nicholson/PA Wire

British health secretary Sajid Javid has announced all international travellers arriving into the UK will be required to take a pre-departure Covid-19 test. Photograph: Tom Nicholson/PA Wire

 

All international travellers arriving into the UK will be required to take a pre-departure Covid-19 test – while Nigeria is being added to the British government’s travel red list, British health secretary Sajid Javid has said.

Mr Javid said the government had decided to move after receiving new data about the spread of the Omicron Covid-19 variant, which emerged in southern Africa. However the testing requirement does not apply to those travelling from Ireland.

“Since we have learned of this new variant our strategy has been to buy time. We have always said we will act swiftly should new data require it,” he told broadcasters on Saturday.

“Over recent days we have learned of a significant number of growing cases linked to travel with Nigeria.

“There are 27 cases already in England and that’s growing. Nigeria now is second only to South Africa in terms of linked cases to Omicron.”

Mr Javid said that the number of cases of Omicron in Britain had now risen to about 160.

Under the new rules, from 4am on Monday only British and Irish nationals travelling from Nigeria will be allowed into the UK and they must isolate in a government-managed quarantine hotel on arrival.

And from 4am on Tuesday, anyone travelling to the UK from countries not on the red list will be required to take a pre-departure Covid-19 test a maximum of 48 hours before leaving, regardless of their vaccination status. – PA/Reuters