All 11 countries have been dropped from the red list, ending the need for travellers to hotel quarantine on their arrival in the UK.
Ministers at Tuesday’s Covid O Cabinet meeting accepted the red list was no longer required to protect the UK from the import of the omicron variant.
Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe will be removed from the red list at 4am on Wednesday morning. Although the 11 African countries are removed from hotel quarantine, ministers will not abandon the concept of a red list because of concerns it could be needed in the face of any future variants.
Meanwhile, winter holidays could soon become less complex and costly as Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said that the spread of omicron in the UK has “minimised” the justification for the more stringent rules that were introduced over the past fortnight.
Ben Bradshaw, a member of the Transport Select Committee, pointed out on Monday that Mr Javid had previously agreed that “once omicron became widespread here, the very draconian, costly and complex travel rules that he introduced two weeks ago to stop omicron coming would be pointless” and asked why they were still in place.
There is understood to be a split within Government over whether the testing regime should be eased.