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Singapore and Israel on UK's green list, but not Hong Kong

A successful vaccination campaign sees Israel move to the UK's 'green' list.

The UK has finally revealed its much anticipated ‘green’ travel list. Transport secretary Grant Shapps chaired a Downing Street briefing this afternoon to announce that Brits travelling from England will be able to travel internationally again from May 17.

From this date, the government will be operating a so-called ‘traffic light’ system with each country allocated to a green, amber or red list. However, all arrivals into the UK, regardless as to where they are travelling from, must test on departure and again on arrival by day two and have a completed passenger locator form.

Green list arrivals will not need to quarantine, but those from amber list countries will need to self-isolate for ten days. There is however a ‘test to release’ system in operation which means if an additional, private test is paid for on day five and returns a negative result, travellers will be released from quarantine early. Those arriving from red list countries must be a UK or Irish resident and must quarantine for ten days in a government specified hotel.

Green list countries will include Portugal (including the Azores and Madeira), Gibraltar, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Faro Islands, Falkland Islands, Brunei, Iceland, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and St Helena, Tristan de Cunha & Ascension Island.

The Maldives, Turkey and Nepal will be moving to the red list from 4am on May 12, and those already listed as red (including most of southern Africa and South America) will remain on the red list.

All other destinations will be placed on the amber list, which at this stage will include Hong Kong.

The lists have been drawn up based on the proportion of a country's population that has been vaccinated, its infection rates, prevalence of variants of concern and its capacity to sequence its genomes. They will be reviewed every three weeks and the government advises that people should not be travelling to amber or red list countries for leisure purposes. At the current time there are no exceptions to UK entry requirements due to vaccination.

Shapps also announced that border control was working to reduce wait times at Heathrow. Currently every returning passenger must have their pre-bought tests and passenger locator form checked, which is taking around five to ten minutes per passenger. Shapps said that Heathrow is reconfiguring its e-gates to allow for passenger locator forms to be processed digitally and the number of border control officers will also be increased.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have not revealed when they will start easing travel restrictions. However, Shapps said that all four of the UK's chief medical officers supported the principles of a traffic light system.

Further information about entrance requirements into the UK can be found online.

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