Malta and Balearic Islands added to UK’s green travel list

·4-min read
Malta and Balearic Islands added to UK’s green travel list
Tourists on a boat visit the Blue Grotto outside Zurrieq, Malta (REUTERS)
Tourists on a boat visit the Blue Grotto outside Zurrieq, Malta (REUTERS)

Malta and The Balearic Islands - that include popular holiday destinations Ibiza, Mallorca, and Menorca- are among country’s that have been added to the UK’s green list for travel.

It means that travellers returning from the destinations will no longer need to quarantine. The changes will come into effect from 4am on Wednesday, June 30.

Madeira, the Balearic Islands, several UK Overseas Territories and Caribbean Islands including Barbados will also to the green list and green watchlist, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.

He also announed it is the Government’s intention that “later in the summer” UK residents who are fully vaccinated will not have to isolate when travelling from amber list countries, adding that further details will be set out next month.

He said: “We’re moving forward with efforts to safely reopen international travel this summer, and thanks to the success of our vaccination programme, we’re now able to consider removing the quarantine period for fully vaccinated UK arrivals from amber countries – showing a real sign of progress.

“It’s right that we continue with this cautious approach, to protect public health and the vaccine rollout as our top priority, while ensuring that our route out of the international travel restrictions is sustainable.”

The Department for Transport said on its website: “In recognition of our successful domestic vaccination programme, and as part of the Global Travel Taskforce’s checkpoint review, our intention is that later in the summer, arrivals who are fully vaccinated will not have to quarantine when travelling from amber list countries.

“We expect this to occur in phases, starting with UK residents. They will still be required to take a pre-departure test and a test on Day 2, and any positive results will be sequenced to continue to manage the risk of importing variants.

“At the same time, we intend to remove the guidance that people should not travel to amber countries. Pending decisions on whether under-18s should routinely be offered vaccination, we will also take clinical advice on whether regular testing can provide a safe alternative to quarantine for children accompanied by vaccinated adults.

“Further detail will be set out next month including the rules which will apply to children and those unable to be vaccinated, how we will operationalise this approach at the border, and the dates on which these changes will come into effect.”

All additions to the green list announced on Thursday apart from Malta will also join the “green watchlist”, as will Israel and Jerusalem – signalling that these countries are at risk of moving from green to amber.

Eritrea, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Mongolia, Tunisia and Uganda will be added to the red list.

Shai Weiss, chief executive of Virgin Atlantic, said the expanded travel green list did not “go far enough”.

“The Government’s own evidence shows that the US is low risk and should be added to the green list now,” he added.

“Whilst the transatlantic corridor is closed, £23 million in economic value each day is restricted. We urge the UK Government to move the US to the UK’s ‘green list’ and for the Biden administration to repeal the 212F proclamation for UK travellers.”

Airport Operators Association chief executive Karen Dee said: “Any extension of the green list is welcome, however small, but we also have to be realistic: this is not yet the meaningful restart the aviation industry needs to be able to recover from the pandemic.”

She said more more detail was needed from the government about its plans and demanded “significant sector-specific support” for the aviation industry.

Rory Boland, Which? travel editor, said travellers still needed to be “extremely cautious” about booking trips abroad.

He said: “Countries can be downgraded quickly and with little warning, as we saw with Portugal, while several European countries have introduced quarantine requirements for UK residents.”

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The government updated its traffic light system and latest travel advice amid calls from holidaymakers and travel firms for more countries to be moved from the amber list.

Boris Johnson said on Thursday there is a “real opportunity” to ease travel restrictions for fully vaccinated people amid calls for self-isolation rules to be dropped for those who have been fully-vaccinated.

On the prospect of taking his own holiday abroad this summer, Mr Johnson said his plans are “at the unformed stage”, adding: “I’m certainly not ruling it in or ruling it out.”

However, those hoping to book a late summer getaway could face another obstacle - with German Chancellor Angela Merkel calling for travellers from the UK to be quarantined wherever they arrive in the EU, due to growing fears over the spread of the Delta variant.

“In our country, if you come from Great Britain, you have to go into quarantine - and that’s not the case in every European country, and that’s what I would like to see,” she told the Bundestag lower house of parliament.

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