Effective this morning, the United Kingdom (UK) will remove Nigeria and 10 other African countries from its travel red list, allowing free entry of flights and travellers with minimal conditions into the UK.
The UK government, yesterday, said all 11 countries would be removed from the UK’s travel red list from 4:00a.m. today (Wednesday). The travel ban lasted 10 days.
The reversal comes just a day after Nigeria said it had initiated diplomatic steps to make the UK and the UAE reverse the restrictions imposed on the country rather than impose its own travel ban in retaliation.
Similarly, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has modified its stance on welcoming Nigerian flag carrier, Air Peace airline, into the country, with an approval of seven weekly slots into the Dubai International Airport, Dubai.
Air Peace, may, however, not warm up to the offer as it runs contrary to its desire to operate into Sharjah Airport, in avoidance of head-to-head collision with Emirates Airline at its Dubai hub.
But as at last night, The Guardian learnt that the parties had met in Abuja with “fruitful deliberation” towards an amicable resolution of the row.
The UK government had recently reintroduced the red list as a precaution after the emergence of the Omicron variant. Affected were: Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
But Health Secretary Sajid Javid, yesterday, said the variant 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,” Javid told UK Parliament.