New rules designed to slow the spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus will see travellers having to take a pre-departure test before travelling to England from today (Tuesday December 7).

All travellers will be required to take a Covid-19 pre-departure test, amid warnings that the time between infection and infectiousness could be shorter with the new strain.

This is in addition to a compulsory test that travellers need to take two days after entering the country.

It will mean anyone travelling to the UK from countries not on the red list will be required to take a pre-departure test a maximum of 48 hours before leaving, regardless of their vaccination status.

If they do end up testing positive, they will not be allowed to travel, with Scotland and Wales implementing similar measures.

On Monday, Health Secretary Sajid Javid reported that there were 336 confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the UK.

He said: "This includes cases with no links to international travel. So, we can conclude that there is now community transmission across multiple regions of England.”

Which countries are on the red list?

The countries are mainly from southern Africa which are:

  • Namibia
  • Zimbabwe
  • South Africa
  • Botswana
  • Lesotho
  • Eswatini
  • Angola
  • Mozambique
  • Malawi
  • Zambia

Additionally, Nigeria was added yesterday (Monday December 6), making it 11 countries in total that are on the list.