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UK clears COVID travel red list as Omicron takes hold

International travel to UK from all countries has been resumed.

London, UK | Xinhua | Given that the Omicron variant has already taken hold in Britain, all 11 countries on England’s COVID travel red list are to be taken off from 0400 GMT on Wednesday, British Health Secretary Sajid Javid said on Tuesday.

Javid made the announcement in the parliament, adding that mandatory hotel quarantine for those arriving from some African countries was set to end.

Following the announcement, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said all current testing measures remain in place and will be reviewed in the first week of January.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met his cabinet virtually on Tuesday morning after months of convening in-person. Johnson told his top team that “a huge spike of Omicron” is coming and that the measures in Plan B are “balanced and proportionate.”

England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty updated the cabinet on the latest evidence on the Omicron variant, confirming that the doubling time still appeared to be around two to three days. Whitty also said that a “significant increase in hospitalizations” from Omicron is expected, according to Sky News.

Britain reported 59,610 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 10,932,545, according to official figures released on Tuesday.

The country also reported a further 150 coronavirus-related deaths. The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain now stands at 146,627, with 7,672 COVID-19 patients still in hospital.

More than 89 percent of people aged 12 and over in Britain have had their first dose of vaccine and more than 81 percent have received both doses, according to the latest figures. More than 41 percent have received booster jabs, or the third dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines.

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Xinhua

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