Dec 5, 2021 - World

UK to require pre-departure negative COVID test amid Omicron fears

Britain's health secretary Sajid Javid. Photo: Tom Nicholson-WPA Pool/Getty Images

The United Kingdom on Saturday announced that all travelers would be required to submit a negative coronavirus test before boarding a flight, regardless of vaccination status.

Why it matters: The move comes amid fears that the newly-identified Omicron variant possesses enough mutations to evade immune systems and drive up a new wave of infections.

  • The country first detected the new strain late last month in two travelers returning from southern Africa. In response, Prime Minister Boris Johnson implemented a requirement that anyone entering the U.K. must self-isolate until receiving a negative coronavirus test and reinstated rules on wearing masks "in shops and on public transport."

What they're saying: "In light of the most recent data we are taking further action to slow the incursion of the Omicron variant," British Health Secretary Sajid Javid said in a tweet announcing the measures.

  • "Vaccines remain our first line of [defense] — the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones," he continued.
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