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Amber countries may soon be able to skip UK quarantine

A plane lands at London's Heathrow airport.

Fully vaccinated travellers from Hong Kong may soon be able to skip UK quarantine, according to overnight reports in the British press.

According to Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, government officials are drawing up plans to allow those entering the UK from ‘amber’ list countries to avoid Britain’s ten-day quarantine - as long as they have received both vaccination doses.

Britain has divided the world into a traffic light system, with a tiny handful of countries (including Singapore, Brunei, Australia and New Zealand in Asia Pacific) on a so-called ‘green’ list, which means no quarantine on arrival, while India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, most of southern Africa and all of South America are on a ‘red’ list, which means arrivals must quarantine for ten days in a government designated hotel.

The rest of the world has been placed on a middle-of-the-road amber list, whereby arrivals must self-isolate at home for ten days with the option of paying for an additional test on day five to exit quarantine early. Hong Kong is currently included on the amber list.

However, whether the proposed quarantine-free arrangement for amber countries would apply to all arrivals, or just to returning Britons, is not clear.

“Recognising the strong strategic rationale and success of the vaccine programme, we have commenced work to consider the roles of vaccinations in shaping a different set of health and testing measures for inbound travel,” a government spokesperson told the Daily Telegraph last night.

The British government has been under pressure to give more recognition to vaccinated residents, particularly as some European countries, such as France, have removed quarantine restrictions for fully inoculated holidaymakers, including Britons.

However, despite leading one of the most successful vaccination roll-outs in the world, the UK government has yet to recognise vaccinated residents apart from those who have not received a vaccine in any of its border control policies.

By the end of this week, everyone over the age of 18 will have been offered

a first vaccination in the UK. Around 80% of the population has received one jab and almost 60% has had two doses.

Britain’s traffic light travel system is due to be reviewed again later this month.

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