By Deirdre Tynan • 24 June 2021 • 20:40
Balearics to get responsibility for their coasts. Image: Pixabay
The Balearic Islands, Malta and Madeira have been added to Britain’s green list in a move that is sure to delight British holidaymakers and an appease the travel industry.
The Balearic Islands and Malta have been added to Britain’s green list. Portugal, which was demoted to the amber list following the last review, stays there but Madeira has been included.
Transport Minister Grant Shapps tweeted, “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.”
The changes come into effect at 4am BST on Wednesday, June 30.
Earlier, Northern Ireland also added the Balearics, Malta and some Caribbean islands to its travel green list for a total of 16 new potential holiday destinations as of June 30. The Northern Ireland list was released ahead of the list from London in a move that is likely to have irritated Westminster. Shapp’s statement had been schedule for 5pm BST but was more than two hours late.
Previously the UK had 11 countries on its green list, after Portugal was deemed a risk earlier this month to the disappointment of holidaymakers and the travel industry.
While incidents of Delta variant infections have surged in some areas of Portugal, hopes were high this week that Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera, Malta and some Caribbean islands could be green listed.
On June 22, the Balearic Islands had 51 new cases of Covid-19. Forty-five cases in Mallorca, five in Ibiza and one in Menorca.
In Portugal Covid cases rose by 1,556 on June 24, the biggest jump since late February when the country was still under lockdown. More than half of the cases are of the Delta variant.
Before the Covid pandemic, the Balearics Islands had five million British tourists annually.
Seven countries were added to the red list including, the Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Haiti, Kuwait, Mongolia, Tunisia and Uganda. People returning from red list countries will face mandatory hotel quarantine.
Travellers returning from green list countries must take a Covid-19 test before departure and have proof of a negative result, have another test after they return and complete a complete a passenger locator form. There will be no requirement quarantine if the second test is negative.
Earlier today Boris Johnson hinted restriction might be relaxed.
“I think that the real opportunity we all have now is to open up travel through the double jab. If you look at it, we’ve got more than 60 per cent of our population have now had two jabs, I think 83 per cent have had one jab, we’re really getting through it now. The crucial thing is come forward and get your second jab,” the Prime Minister said during a visit to New Normandy Barracks in Aldershot on June 24.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak also said, “I absolutely understand people’s desire to be able to go and travel. I think people recognise, obviously, we’re doing this for protecting everyone’s health, we’ve made all these enormous strides, once we open up everything, hopefully on July 19, we just want to make sure that we don’t put that at risk.
“But the situation compared to last year, obviously, has changed because lots of people are vaccinated and that should give us some options, and it’s right that we’re going through those and seeing what we can do, and that work is ongoing,” he added.
The move is likely to go some way towards appeasing the travel industry which warned the government this week that if the UK does not open up international travel further, it will cost £639 million a day. The World Travel and Tourism Council also said 218,000 jobs are at risk on top of the 307,000 already lost.
The Association of British Travel Agents also said it was exploring the option of legal action against the government’s travel restrictions.
The next travel list update is scheduled for July 19, and again on August 9.
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Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.
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