The United Kingdom has announced that Nigeria and 10 others will be taken off its travel red list from 4am on Wednesday.

This follows anger from the affected countries, with the United Nations (UN) describing the ban on non-UK residents entering England as “travel apartheid.”

The UK had on December 4 placed Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe on its travel ban following the outbreak of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

It said the red list was reintroduced as a precaution after the emergence of the Omicron variant.

The government had said the ban would be reviewed on December 20 but announcing the new development on Tuesday, the UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the Omicron had spread so widely that the rules are now less effective.

“Now that there is community transmission of Omicron in the UK and Omicron has spread so widely across the world, the travel red list is now less effective in slowing the incursion of Omicron from abroad,” he told the parliament.

“Whilst we will maintain our temporary testing measures for international travel, we will be removing all 11 countries from the travel red list effective from 4am tomorrow morning,” he added.