After much discussion on the travel response to the Omicron variant in the past couple of weeks, a report came out on Sunday that the 11 African countries currently on the red list could be removed and instead receive testing restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers ‘as soon as this week’.

The Mail reported on Sunday that Grant Shapps possibly ‘convinced colleagues’ that the 10-day hotel quarantine restrictions currently in place for red list countries (as of December 13th) should be replaced for the 11 African countries with simple testing requirements for fully vaccinated travellers. It said that these changes could be approved ‘as soon as this week’ by the government.

On November 26th most of these 11 countries were added to the red list, with Nigeria added on the 6th of December, these 11 countries are Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe. This came after all countries were removed from the red list on November 1st (you can keep up to date on destination restrictions and requirements on the Foreign Travel Advice page).

This news was a result of the emergence of the Omicron Covid variant. Putting these countries on the red list was classed as a temporary and precautionary reaction from the government to buy time to understand Covid. However, last week Sajid Javid announced that the current travel restrictions could ease quickly because of Omicron becoming the dominant strain of Covid.

Many have highlighted this change in the Omicron situation and the lack of need for the red list because of it. Some have also reached out to the government to ask for the quarantine restrictions to be removed so that people can see their families for Christmas, leading to this development.

The details of this change aren’t fully revealed yet, however, it has been reported that the 11 African countries will be removed from the red list, swapping out a 10-day hotel quarantine for at-home isolation for those returning from these destinations. This would also include testing for fully vaccinated travellers, to keep track of the Omicron variant from these countries.

This is great news, allowing travellers to return to the UK and enjoy the end-of-year festivities without the expenses of a quarantine hotel. It will also be a great boost for consumer confidence to see these restrictions lifted again so soon along with the removal of pre-departure tests and day-2 PCR tests once again, as announced last week.

So, if you’re ready to book your next great holiday, don’t forget to get in contact with a travel business registered with PTS providing 100% financial protection through trust. Or, if you’d like assistance choosing one of the lovely PTS members to book with, you can contact PTS directly at 0207 190 9988.

And if you’d like to learn more about your consumer protection with PTS or how the Package Travel Regulations protect your holiday booking, check out our pages.

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