Former England cricket star Kevin Pietersen has hit out at the UK government over the ongoing South Africa travel ban.

The UK added South Africa and five other African countries to the red list earlier this month amid concerns over the new Omicron variant of Covid-19.

The new strain was first detected in South Africa and has been cited as the reasoning behind the introduction of restrictions like mask-wearing in shops and other public places.

Pietersen was born in South Africa and criticised the travel ban in a string of tweets.

After Dutch health authorities announced that they had detected the variant in cases of Covid before it was first identified in southern Africa, Pietersen wrote: "THIS IS HUGE!

Ex-England cricketer Kevin Pietersen has criticised the UK's ongoing travel ban for South Africa (


Ashley Allen - ECB/ECB via Getty Images)

"And the main reason it’s huge, is cos day on day the numbers of in UK are DROPPING! It surely means #Omicrom isn’t as big an issue as what has been reported and with the STUPID punishment of SA! SURELY?!?!"

Pietersen has since called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Sajid Javid to end the travel ban on southern Africa.

He tweeted: "You acted quickly and decisively to SHUT Southern Africa down, @BorisJohnson & @sajidjavid, when the scientists announced variant. Can you stop all the bans TODAY now this is out please?!?!"

The government are set to review the changes they have made to the country's restrictions following the discovery of the variant in three weeks.

"It might take a bit longer than three weeks, it might be a bit sooner than three weeks," Javid said.

"We're confident that, actually, maybe within two weeks that we can know a lot more about this.

"We might not even need to wait three weeks, but the three weeks was a sensible date to set for a review because now that we have live samples of the virus, they've gone to our labs in Porton Down.

"Our scientists and the best scientists in the world are working through it, we're working with our G7 colleagues... so we're working internationally, we're working at pace at home and I think in a couple of weeks we will know a lot more about this variant."

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