Heathrow and Gatwick: The 10 countries on the red list and those most at risk of being added to it

As the new variant of coronavirus Omicron appears to be spreading fast, the UK government has reimposed certain Covid restrictions – particularly on travelling abroad.

B.1.1.529, the new strain, could potentially evade some protection offered by vaccines and could possibly be more transmissible due to the large number of mutation.

However, not much is yet known about the variant and scientists are working fast to determine how the new strain could impact the pandemic.

UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said that scientists were “deeply concerned” but more needed to be learned.

Consequently, while England’s red list had been cleared in October, 10 countries and territories have now been added.

These are Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Travel to any of these destinations will require a stint at hotel quarantine upon your return to the UK.

Other Covid protection measures have also been reimposed in England, including the mandatory wearing of face masks in shops and on public transport.

Heathrow and Gatwick: The 10 countries on the red list and those most at risk of being added to it
© Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Media via Getty Images Commuters wearing face masks arrive at Waterloo station during morning rush hour ahead of introduction of measures intended to slow the spread of the new variant

When it comes to travel, anyone entering the UK must now take a PCR test within 48 hours of arrival, as well as self-isolate until a negative result is returned.

Travellers should regularly check the government’s website for updates, because restrictions across the world are rapidly changing as a result of this new strain.

While the government has said that it will officially review the red list again in three weeks’ time, there are a few destinations could still be added to the UK’s red list at short notice.

At the time of writing, cases of the new variant had been detected in a number of countries around the world, reported CNN .

Europe seems to currently be a particular Omicron hotspot. Cases have been reported in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden. However, numbers in these destinations so far remain under five.

Whereas Portugal has detected 13 Omicron cases and the Netherlands joins the UK at 14.

Regarding the rest of the world, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Israel and Japan have all reported cases of the variant but figures currently stand at below 10.

Not only should UK travellers watch our rules for these countries closely but they should also consider the risk that foreign destinations could impose their own restrictions on UK citizens.

Do you have a story you think we should be covering? Email tara.cobham@reachplc.com

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