The Health Secretary announced that from 4am on Sunday 28 November, non-UK and Irish residents who have been in Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola in the previous 10 days will be refused entry into England
Four countries have been added to Britain’s travel red list, after the first cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant were detected in the UK.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced that from 4am on Sunday 28 November, non-UK and Irish residents who have been in Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola in the previous 10 days will be refused entry into England.
They join the six countries added to the list on Thursday night – South Africa, Botswana, Lesostho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) confirmed today that two cases of COVID-19 with mutations consistent with variant B.1.1.529 – known as the Omicron variant – have been identified in the UK.
The Government said patients that have tested positive and all members of their households are being re-tested and told to self-isolate while further testing and contact tracing is underway.
One case has been located in Chelmsford and the other in Nottingham. The two cases are linked and there is a link to travel to Southern Africa.
UKHSA is carrying out targeted testing at locations where the positive cases were likely to have been infectious.
Mr Javid said: “Thanks to our world class genomic sequencing we have been made aware of two UK cases of the Omicron variant. We have moved rapidly and the individuals are self-isolating while contact tracing is ongoing.
“We will do all we can to protect the UK public against this emerging threat and that is why we are surging testing capacity to the impacted communities and introducing travel restrictions on a further four countries: Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola. We will not hesitate to take further action if required.
“This is a stark reminder that we are not yet out of this pandemic. Getting the vaccine has never been more important – please come forward for your first jab if you haven’t already and if eligible, book your booster as soon as possible.”
Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, said: “We will continue to work closely with the international community to quickly gather and analyse information on this variant to understand any possible increase in transmissibility or resistance to vaccines.
“It is important that everyone takes sensible precautions – get a PCR test if you have symptoms, isolate when asked, wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces, ventilate rooms, get your vaccine and boosters as soon as you can.”