The UK Government is expected to announce which countries will be on its travel green list by the end of the week, according to reports in British media.
The list of countries will be decided on Wednesday, and is expected to include Iceland, Malta, Portugal and Gibraltar, but notably is not expected to include holiday islands like Ibiza, Mallorca and the Canaries.
The formal announcement regarding which countries will be on the UK’s safe list when international travel restarts again on 17th May is expected on Friday. The “traffic light” system used by the UK will, like Malta’s, see countries graded red, amber or green based on case numbers and vaccine rates.
Those returning from green countries will have to take a PCR test when they return to the UK but will not have to self-isolate. Travellers returning from red countries will be required to quarantine in hotels upon their arrival.
Malta’s tourism operators will be reassured by the country’s expected inclusion in the list. The UK is one of Malta’s largest tourism markets, with 649,624 of Malta’s 2,753,239 tourists coming from the nation in pre-COVID 2019.
The Government has also targeted it for the launch of an aggressive advertising campaign aimed at attracting tourists to Malta, and tourism experts have said that Malta’s relative safety regarding the spread of COVID will help attract tourists to its shores.
Malta has overtaken the UK in its vaccine rollout programme, and the Government has announced that COVID vaccine registration is set to open for the 30+ age group from Tuesday.
Along with its strong vaccination rate, Malta continues to record impressively low daily new COVID cases, on Sunday recording only 12.
With the low case numbers, however, the Government is linkely under increasing pressure to accelerate its reopening plan.
As things stand, restaurants are set to reopen on 10th May, but will have to close at 5pm, a restriction which has been criticised as “not making sense” by the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association.
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