The United Kingdom will remove Zimbabwe from the Covid-19 red list on Monday, in a development that will make it easy to travel between the two countries.
Crucially, the tourism sector is expected to benefit from the development while Warriors players based in the United Kingdom will now be able to turn for the Zimbabwe national team during the World Cup qualifiers once selected by coaches.
UK Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms Melanie Robinson, confirmed the removal of Zimbabwe from the red list yesterday.
“Glad to be able to highlight this good news — #Zimbabwe to come off the red list next Monday. Great news also for UK #tourists and #diaspora planning trips to Zimbabwe; this makes travel easier between our two countries,” tweeted Ambassador Robinson.
Mr Clement Mukwasi, president of Tours and Safari Operators, said the vaccination drive and the reengagement programme by the Second Republic were paying dividends.
“As the vaccination spread and infections started dropping down, the UK started revaluing their positions.
“Victoria Falls is one of the destinations to reach herd immunity and Zimbabwe has made numerous strides in its vaccination campaign and that has resulted in UK opening up travel opportunities for its citizens into the country and vice versa from Monday.
“It is also part of the reengagement success that the Second Republic under President Mnangagwa’s leadership has scored,” said Mr Mukwasi.
This latest move will boost the airline industry and families separated during the pandemic.
British Secretary of State for Transport, Right Honourable Grant Shapps also announced on his Twitter handle that Zimbabwe, along with 46 other countries, would be removed from the red list.
“From Monday (October 11) calendar I’ll be cutting 47 destinations from our red list — including South Africa, with just 7 countries and territories remaining — all others will be included in the ‘rest of the world’ category.
“I’m also making changes so travellers visiting England have fewer entry requirements, by recognising those with fully-vax status syringe from 37 new countries and territories including India, Turkey and Ghana, treating them the same as UK fully vax passengers.
“The measures announced today (yesterday) mark the next step as we continue to open up travel provide stability for passengers and industry while remaining on track to keep travel open for good,” said Rt Hon Shapps.
Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Haiti and the Dominican Republic remain on the red list.
Pandemic travel rules in the UK have recently been simplified, with the amber list cut, and advice against holidays changed for 32 countries.
Arrivals from 37 more destinations will have their vaccination status certificates recognised, implying they can avoid more expensive post-arrival testing requirements.
The new measures mean that vaccinated travellers from Brazil, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey will be treated the same as returning fully-vaccinated UK residents so long as they have not visited a red-list country in the 10 days before arriving in England.
All arrivals will still complete a passenger locator form.
The Scottish government, which will soon host the COP26, said the changes were “agreed on a four-nation basis”.
The Welsh government said the changes increased opportunities for new infections and variants, but it was adopting them because it was not practical to have its own border policy. — Additional reporting: BBC