The UK is to drop 11 African countries including South Africa from its "red list" barring incoming travel, ministers said Tuesday.

From 0400 GMT on Wednesday, all will be removed from the list, said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

The UK government had responded to the identification of the Omicron variant in South Africa by banning travel from 10 southern African countries and Nigeria.

Currently, only people who are British or Irish citizens or have UK residence rights can fly in from the red-listed countries, and they have to quarantine in hotels on arrival.

"As always, we keep all our travel measures under review and we may impose new restrictions should there be a need to do so to protect public health," Shapps tweeted.

Health Minister Sajid Javid also announced the measure to MPs in parliament as Prime Minister Boris Johnson seeks their backing for his new restrictions to curb the spread of Omicron.

Javid said the travel ban was being lifted because it is "now less effective in slowing the incursion of Omicron from abroad".



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