The UK government has updated its “red list” of countries requiring travellers to quarantine in a government-approved hotel on arrival into England.

Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores) and Mauritius have been removed from the list, “following evidence that shows the risk of importing a variant of concern from these destinations has reduced”.

The government said that “Portugal has put steps in place to mitigate the risk from its links with countries where variants have become a concern, and now has genomic surveillance in place”.

But Ethiopia, Oman, Somalia and Qatar have been added to the red list, following “new data showing an increased risk of importation of variants of concern” from these destinations.

It means that from 0400 on Friday March 19, 2021, visitors who have departed from or transited through these countries in the previous ten days will be refused entry into England.

Only British and Irish citizens, or those with residence rights (including long-term visa holders), will be allowed to enter, and they must stay in a government-approved facility for ten days.

A ban on commercial and private planes travelling from Oman, Ethiopia and Qatar will also come into force on Friday, affecting carriers including Qatar Airways.

The government said that it had over 58,000 quarantine hotel rooms on standby, “which can be made available to book as needed”.

Mandatory hotel quarantine for arrivals into England from red list countries was introduced last month – for a full list of the affected destinations, click here.