Covid: Balearics and Malta added to UK’s green travel list

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  • Coronavirus pandemic

image copyrightEPAimage captionThe Balearic Islands – which include Menorca, pictured – are being added to the list

The Balearic Islands, Malta, Madeira and Barbados are among the places being added to the UK's green travel list, the transport secretary has said.

People entering the UK from 16 places will not have to quarantine from 04:00 on 30 June, Grant Shapps confirmed.

He also said the government intended to allow quarantine-free travel from amber list countries for people who were fully vaccinated "later in the summer".

Six destinations have also been added to the government's red list.

However, the prospect of European holidays could face another hurdle after German Chancellor Angela Merkel suggested all EU countries should make British travellers quarantine on arrival to slow the spread of the Delta variant.

The destinations added to the green list from 04:00 BST on 30 June are:

  • Anguilla
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • The Balearic Islands (which include Ibiza, Menorca, Majorca and Formentera)
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • British Antarctic Territory
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cayman Islands
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Madeira
  • Malta
  • Montserrat
  • Pitcairn Islands
  • Turks and Caicos Islands

The places added to the red lists for the same time are:

  • Dominican Republic
  • Eritrea
  • Haiti
  • Mongolia
  • Tunisia
  • Uganda

Those travelling to the UK from these countries will need to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said it was intended that later in the summer arrivals who were fully vaccinated would not have to quarantine when travelling from amber list countries.

The DfT said this change was expected to take place in phases, starting with UK residents.

The department also said it intended to remove the guidance that people should not travel to amber countries, and it would take clinical advice on whether regular testing could 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," a spokesman said.

Mr Shapps added: "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."

'Cannot afford another missed summer'

The travel industry welcomed the additions to the green list, but urged the government to do more to open up travel.

Sean Doyle, chief executive officer of British Airways said: "We cannot afford another missed summer. There are jobs at stake, Britons separated from family members and we cannot afford to allow the success of our vaccine programme to be wasted."

He added that plans to allow vaccinated people to travel more freely this summer were "critical" and urged the government to work with the aviation industry to set this up.

Matthew Fell, the Confederation of British Industry's chief UK policy director, said the additions to the green list "won't be enough to salvage the summer season for the international travel sector".

He said: "The UK's successful vaccine rollout means we should be in the vanguard of safely restarting international travel. Other countries are already pressing ahead with enabling travel for the fully vaccinated."

Currently, people travelling from the UK to Greece, Spain and Portugal are not required to quarantine.

Those going to Italy have to self-isolate for five days then take a test, while fully-vaccinated UK visitors to France can enter without quarantining.

The travel rules are broadly the same between the UK nations and previous changes to the lists have been adopted by all four nations.

  • What are the rules for visiting green and amber countries?
  • How can I prove I've had both my Covid jabs?
  • What's happening with foreign travel?

Most holiday hotspots are currently on the amber list, meaning travellers returning to the UK have to self-isolate for 10 days, as well as pay for tests.

Earlier, Boris Johnson said there was a "real opportunity" to open travel this summer for those who have had two jabs.

Asked about the prospect of a change to travel rules, Mr Johnson said: "The most important thing is that we think double jabs do offer a good way forward, we think they offer the hope of travel this summer.

"More than 60% of our population have now had two jabs, I think 83% have had one jab, we're really getting through it now. The crucial thing is, come forward and get your second jab," he said.

The UK government reviews which countries are on which list every three weeks, and the last update – when Portugal was stripped from the green list – was three weeks ago on 3 June.

As well as the latest announcement, the government has also said there will be a "checkpoint" review of the rules for each category on Monday 28 June. That could be when ministers decide whether to relax quarantine for fully-vaccinated travellers.

On Wednesday, workers in the industry, including cabin crew, pilots, travel agents and airport staff, held a series of protests against the rules.

They called on the government to offer the industry more financial support and increase the number of countries on the UK's green list.

Industry body Abta, representing travel agents and tour operators, estimated 195,000 travel jobs have been lost during the pandemic or are at risk.

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