By Victoria Ojeme
Nigeria is missing on the list of more than 50 countries the United Kingdom relaxed its COVID-19 vaccine policy for.
Consequently, fully vaccinated Nigerians travelling to UK still need to self-isolate for at least 10 days before they can enter the country.
Nigerian travellers had expressed displeasure over COVID-19 tests in the UK, despite being fully vaccinated.
But the UK government had said Nigeria was on the ‘amber’ list, which had restrictions for travellers to the UK, irrespective of whether they had been vaccinated against COVID or not.
From yesterday, the new travel system came into force with countries and territories categorised as either “red” or “rest of the world.”
The previous traffic light system of green, amber and red lists had been scrapped.
But the federal government in a swift reaction last night, expressed sadness over the new policy, wondering why Nigerians should be victims of it.
Spokesperson to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Esther Sunsuwa, said: ”The federal government is also surprised by the British policy but we will come up with something better.”
However, in a statement on its website, the UK government said: “Fully vaccinated residents in other countries not yet part of the inbound policy, as well as those partially vaccinated, will still have to take a pre-departure test, PCR tests for day 2 and day 8 after arrival, and self-isolate for 10 days, with the option to test to release after 5 days,” the statement reads.
“The UK government is continuing to work with international partners as we seek to more regularly expand the policy to further countries and territories.”
The government said the new simplified travel system meant that eligible fully vaccinated passengers and eligible under-18s returning from over 50 countries and territories not on the red list, could do so without needing to complete a pre-departure test (PDT), a day 8 test or enter a 10-day self-isolation period, making it easier for those travelling — whether that’s to see friends and family, or on business trips.
It added that eligible fully vaccinated passengers with an approved vaccine and recognised certificate from a country not on the red list would be able to replace their day 2 test with a cheaper lateral flow test, reducing the cost of tests on arrival into England.
Grant Shapps, US transport secretary, said: “We are accelerating towards a future where travel continues to reopen safely and remains open for good, and today’s rule changes are good news for families, businesses and the travel sector.
“Our priority remains to protect public health but, with more than 8 in 10 people now fully vaccinated, we are able to take these steps to lower the cost of testing and help the sector to continue in its recovery.
“Also from today, under-18s from the over 50 countries whose vaccination status the UK recognises will not need to present a negative PDT before travelling to England. This applies regardless of their vaccination status.”
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