It is “irrational and indiscriminate” to include Malawi on the UK’s red list, scientists have told the Telegraph, as the country is reporting fewer than five cases of Covid-19 a day.

Stephen Gordon and Henry Mwandumba, directors of the Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust Programme of Clinical Tropical Research at a hospital in Blantyre, said data shows there is “no detectable omicron variant in Malawi”.

“Unlike the UK (>40,000 cases per day), Malawi is currently minimally affected by COVID (<5 cases per day) with the wards empty," they told the Telegraph. 

“It is therefore disappointing that British clinical personnel, recently returned from helping to set up Malawi’s first stroke unit, are incarcerated in UK quarantine hotels.  Doctors and nurses needed in both the UK and Malawi should not be penalised by irrational and indiscriminate quarantine guidelines.  

“Further, Malawians seeking higher education in the UK should not be banned from entry by policies lacking credible data support.”

They added that the presence of Malawi on the UK’s red list, a decision taken last weekend amid concerns that omicron has spread from South Africa to the small country, is undermining trust between the two nations. 

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