Gibraltar will not require UK tourists to take Covid test

Gibraltar has announced it will not require UK tourists to be tested for coronavirus when foreign holidays resume.

Chief minister Fabian Picardo said the Rock offers a “great British staycation in the Mediterranean”.

He told Sky News: “Gibraltar has an open frontier with Spain and the rest of the European Union, and we don’t require PCR testing for those who come across our land frontier.

“We therefore don’t think it would be appropriate for us to require PCR testing of those who are coming from the United Kingdom, which has a higher vaccinated population and a lower incidence of Covid than the rest of the European Union.

“When you’re coming to Gibraltar you’re coming to a part of Britain, and therefore you’re going to be very welcome here without the need for a PCR test.

“It’s thanks to the United Kingdom Government that Gibraltar can proudly say that all of our adult population is now vaccinated.

“Gibraltar has zero cases of Covid today.”

Many popular European Union destinations will require UK visitors to have been vaccinated, received a recent negative test or have coronavirus antibodies.

Fabian Picardo
Fabian Picardo (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Sharon Ehrlich Bershadsky, head of the Israeli government’s London tourist office, said the Middle Eastern country is “definitely ready and wants British tourists to visit”.

It will initially reopen its borders to groups of foreign tourists who have had both doses of a coronavirus vaccine from May 23.

Visitors will be required to take a serological test on arrival to prove their vaccination status, but Ms Bershadsky said this could be dropped for UK holidaymakers.

She said: “We will eliminate this test in the future, hopefully, by a bilateral agreement between countries.

“So for example, if Israel and the UK will have this agreement, the British tourists that come to Israel will not need this antibody test.

“I’m really, really hoping with the impressive advanced case of the vaccination here in the UK, we will get this agreement as soon as possible.”

Professor Adam Finn, a member of the Government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, said unregulated international travel “can be very dangerous indeed” but there are steps which can minimise the risk.

He told Sky News: “We certainly got our hands very comprehensively burned in March 2020 when very large numbers of people returned from holidays in Europe with the virus and set the pandemic going in the UK at a very fast rate.

“So, we’ve learned our lesson that international travel in an unregulated way can be very dangerous indeed.

“I think while travel is inevitably going to start happening, we really do need to do everything we can to minimise the risks associated with that: think about the places where people are going to travel; to make sure that people have been immunised before they travel; and if necessary, implement quarantine and control measures to stop the virus being imported and spreading about.”

The Government is expected to announce on Friday that the ban on overseas leisure travel for people in England will be lifted on May 17.

It will publish the lists it will use as part of the new risk-based traffic light system, with different rules for returning travellers from green, amber and red destinations.

People arriving from a green location will not have quarantine, while those returning from somewhere on the amber list must self-isolate for at least five days.

The red list requires a 10-night stay in a quarantine hotel.

The green list could include destinations such as Portugal, Gibraltar, Israel and Malta.

Assessments will be based on a range of factors, including the proportion of a country’s population that has been vaccinated, rates of infection, emerging new variants, and the country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing.