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The UK's transport secretary Grant Shapps has announced at Friday's coronavirus briefing the reopening of international travel and a list
of 12 countries from which arrivals into England will not have to quarantine from 17 May. However, the business travel sector has expressed its disappointment that the United States is not on the list.
The countries in the green tier of the government’s traffic
light system are:
Countries are graded green, amber or red depending on their vaccination and infection rates, the prevalence of variants of concern, and their genomic sequencing capacity.
Arrivals from countries on the green list may enter the country without the need to self-isolate or quarantine but must take a pre-departure test as well as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on day two after their arrival back into England.
Arrivals from amber countries will need to quarantine at home for a period of ten days and take a pre-departure test, and a PCR test on days two and day eight after arrival with the option for Test to Release on day five to end self-isolation early.
The government will also publish a ‘green watchlist’ to help identify countries most at risk of moving from ‘green’ to ‘amber’.
Travellers who have passed through a red list country in the previous 10 days are refused entry unless they are a British or Irish National, or have residence rights in the UK. Such travellers must quarantine in a government approved hotel for ten days.
Shapps announced that Turkey, Maldives and Nepal have today been added to the red list.
Announcing the rules, Shapps said, "Travel is absolutely crucial to rebuilding our economy and for bringing long awaited relief to travel companies and airlines."
"We have managed to build a fortress against Covid but it is still prevalent in places around the world, notably in India. More cases of Covid have been identified in the past seven days than at any time during the pandemic," he said.
"I have to be absolutely straight with you. Our success in combatting Covid here is not yet replicated in many places abroad...Removing the 17 May ban on international travel is necessarily cautious. We must make absolutely sure that the countries we reconnect with are safe."
Read the industry's reaction to today's announcement.