Malta and Balearics get green light, but new ‘watchlist’ leaves most holidays in limbo

Quarantine-free holidays to the Balearics, Malta, Madeira and a host of other islands have been given the green light, but with a warning that most of them could suddenly turn amber.

They are among 14 destinations placed on the green list by ministers on Thursday, after scientists from the Government’s Joint Biosecurity Centre declared them safe for travel.

Malta which has one of the lowest infection rates and highest vaccination levels is, however, the only one to be fully on the green list with no caveats.

The remaining 13 are on the green "watchlist". This means that holidaymakers can still travel to them without self-isolating on their return but they are also the "most at risk" of turning amber and having quarantine re-imposed.

The islands are the most popular and viable holiday destinations to have been added to the green list since Portugal was removed.

We’re adding Malta to the Govt green list 🟢

We’re also adding Madeira, the Balearic Islands, several UK Overseas Territories and Caribbean Islands (including Barbados) to the green list and green watchlist.

Israel & Jerusalem are also added to the green watchlist.

— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) June 24, 2021

Five million Britons visited the Balearic islands of Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca and Formentera before the Covid pandemic. 

But they also have the second highest infection rate of any of the new green list countries with 24 cases per 100,000.

Their placement on a "watchlist"  is designed to avoid a repeat of the Portugal chaos when the country went straight from green to amber with just four days’ notice, causing travel chaos for Britons who had to race back to avoid quarantine.

Travel list updates

The Portuguese island of Madeira, which is also on the watchlist, has the highest infection rate of the new green countries at 35 cases per 100,000 of the population.

The others on the green watchlist are Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, British Antarctic territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands and Turks and Caicos.

Israel and Jerusalem are to be moved from the green to the green watchlist, after a trebling in cases driven largely by the spread of the delta variant that was first discovered in India.

Traffic light travel restrictions

Only the Balearic Islands and Madeira do not have any restrictions on British tourists. Malta requires even vaccinated holidaymakers to have a negative PCR test result.

All arrivals in Montserrat, Grenada, the Cayman Islands and Anguilla must enter quarantine regardless of their vaccination status, although vaccinated travellers can leave quarantine earlier in these countries.

Unvaccinated arrivals have to self-isolate for at least five days in Barbados, and all incoming tourists must present a negative PCR test.

Pitcairn Island is closed completely to Britons, while Dominica, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Antigua, and Malta require negative PCR tests taken within 72 hours before arrival and paid for by the passenger.

Uganda, Tunisia, Eritrea, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Mongolia have been added to the red list requiring Britons returning from them to quarantine in hotels for 10 days at a cost of £1,750 per person.

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