Travel between Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom has been opened up after the latter government announced plans to remove the Southern African country from its Covid-19 red list.
The UK had tightened Covid-19 restrictions for travellers coming from what it classified as red list countries under which many Southern African countries fell, a move that made it even harder and expensive for many to visit that country.
Countries such as Zimbabwe, South Africa, the whole of Southern Africa including others in some parts of the world were on the red list considered ‘very risky’, and required to go quarantine, at a cost of £2 285, although fully vaccinated.
However, the UK government through its Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps announced Thursday that 47 countries including Zimbabwe would be removed from the red travel list and will no longer be required to enter hotel quarantine.
Just seven countries and territories will remain on the red list which are Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.
Before the UK announcement of removing Zimbabwe from the red list, people from the UK were also banned from coming to the country, “except in the most extreme of circumstances”.
This ban came into effect in February, when Zimbabwe was one of 17 countries that were put on that red list.
This meant one could not enter the UK unless you were a UK citizen or had resident rights there.
While Zimbabwe is no longer on the “red list”, the UK still classifies Zimbabweans as not fully vaccinated if they have not had “an approved vaccine” such as AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen.
Despite a World Health Organisation approval, the UK has not yet approved Sinovac, Sinopharm, Sputnik V, which are Covid-19 vaccines used in Zimbabwe.
As of October 6, 2021, a total of 2 374 045 Zimbabweans have been fully vaccinated while another 3 152 916 have received their first vaccine dose.
The red list, as per UK travel regulations, meant when one arrived there, having had their vaccine in Zimbabwe, they should quarantine at home or in the place they were staying for 10 days.
It was also a requirement that one takes a pre-booked Covid-19 test on or before Day Two and Day Eight of their stay there