Belgium and Malta are at risk of being removed from the UK’s quarantine-free “green” list after a surge in Covid-19 cases, an analysis by The Telegraph shows.
Both countries have seen their rates treble in the last month, putting them above Portugal and Sweden, both of which are excluded from the “green” list, which exempt arrivals from having to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival in the UK.
A decision by the Government is expected within the next 24 hours when ministers consider the latest data from the Biosecurity centre as part of their weekly review of quarantine. Spain and Luxembourg are the only two other countries to have so far been removed from the UK “green” list.
“If you don’t let Portugal onto a green list, why should Belgium be on it?” said Paul Charles, chief executive of the travel consultancy, the PC Agency.
“It doesn’t strike a consistent approach when its Covid numbers are getting worse and it is so accessible from the UK by Eurostar and its geographical location means it is susceptible to cases rising from countries around it.”
Belgium’s rate has risen from eight cases per 100,000 at the start of July to 21.6 in the past week and has seen quarantine restrictions placed on it by Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Norway because of fears of Covid-19 spreading.
The Netherlands has warned travellers to stay away from Antwerp, a popular destination among Dutch clubbers. The Netherlands has seen its rate double in the past week to 15.1 cases per 100,000.
Malta was one of five nations removed on Tuesday from Ireland’s “green” list after its rate rose from 0.2 to 26.5 cases per 100,000 in the last month. Monaco, Cyprus, Gibraltar and San Marino were the other four countries, all of which are on the UK’s “green” list.
Leo Varadkar, deputy head of the Irish Government, said the Covid-19 pandemic was "blazing" around the world and the number of new cases rising again in Europe.
France has seen its rate steadily rise from 9.9 to 13.1 per 100,000 of the population in the past week, while Portugal has managed to bring down its rate from 25.8 to 12.5 in the past month. Croatia, named last week as a potential watch list country has had two successive weeks of falls.
Spain, however, which was removed from the list within five hours of the announcement last month, has continued to see its Covid-19 rate rise from 32.3 cases per 100,000 last week to 43.1 this week despite severe lockdowns in hotspots like Barcelona.