Travelers to the UK will need to test negative before departure to curb the spread of the novel Omicron variant of the coronavirus, the UK government has said, a measure that has caused anger in the travel industry.
From Tuesday at 4 am, "any person aged 12 and over wishing to go to the United Kingdom will have to present a negative test (antigen or PCR)" carried out maximum 48 hours before departure "in order to slow down the importation of the new variant ", Specified the executive in a statement Saturday evening.
Travelers arriving in the UK must already have a PCR test no later than two days after arrival, and self-isolate until results.
This new obligation was badly received by the travel industry, which was just starting to recover from the shock of the pandemic.
Clive Wratten, director of the Business Travel Association, called it a "blow to the industry" while Tim Alderslade, of the airlines association Airlines UK, called it "premature" in the absence of all clinical data on Omicron.
Nearly 150,000 dead
"I know it is a burden on the travel industry but we have made tremendous progress in this country", with nearly 81% of over 12s vaccinated and a booster administered to 34% of the eligible population , retorted Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, Sunday on Sky News.
“We need to take targeted action to prevent this new variant from taking hold in the country and creating an even bigger problem.
To counter Omicron, the United Kingdom, one of the most bereaved countries in Europe with more than 145,500 dead since the start of the Covid-19 epidemic, has accelerated its vaccine booster campaign and reintroduced the compulsory wearing of the mask in transport and stores.
160 detected cases of the Omicron variant
From Monday at 4 a.m., Nigeria will also be added to the red list of countries whose travelers are banned from entering the United Kingdom, with the exception of nationals and residents who will have to observe a ten-day quarantine at the hotel. at their expense.
This list currently includes ten African countries.
The UK has so far detected 160 cases of the Omicron variant.
"Currently, the vast majority of cases show obvious links to travel from South Africa and Nigeria," the statement said.
These measures will be subject to a new evaluation on December 20, according to the executive.
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