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Balearic Islands, Madeira and Malta added to travel green list

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

Holiday hotspots including Ibiza, Menorca, Majorca and Formentera have been added to the travel green list. But experts say holidaymakers should be ‘cautious’ about booking trips this summer.

Also on the updated green list are Caribbean islands Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Changes to the list take effect from 4am on Wednesday 30 June. The British Antarctic Territory, where temperatures can plunge to -15 °C in July, is also on the green list.

The changes to the travel lists were announced by transport secretary Grant Shapps last night.

Eritrea, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Mongolia, Tunisia and Uganda have been added to the red list to safeguard domestic vaccine rollout.

The government says the new lists are ‘designed to give travellers and the travel sector more certainty’.

However, all of the additions to the green list, except Malta, are also on a ‘green watchlist’ which means that are at risk of moving from green to amber. Israel and Jerusalem are also on the green watchlist.

Earlier this month Portugal was moved from the green list to amber list, causing chaos for thousands of holidaymakers.

Testing requirements

Anyone arriving back in England from a green list country will need to take a pre-departure test up to 72 hours before their return travel, and a single PCR test on or before day two of arrival into England. However, they will not need to quarantine.

People arriving in the UK from amber countries need to quarantine at home for 10 days and take PCR Covid-19 tests on or before day two and on or after day eight after returning home.

Only British and Irish nationals are allowed into the UK from red list countries and must then quarantine at a government-approved hotel.

Anyone breaking quarantine rules following international travel can be fined £1,000, increasing up to £10,000 for repeat offences.

Coming up: No quarantine for the double-jabbed

Shapps also confirmed that later in the summer UK arrivals who are fully vaccinated will not have to quarantine when travelling from amber list countries.

The government plans to introduce this rule in phases, starting with UK residents. Arrivals will still be required to take a pre-departure test and a test on day 2, and any positive results will be sequenced to manage the risk of importing variants.

At the same time, the government intends to remove the guidance that people should not travel to amber countries. Full details about how this will work, and whether unvaccinated children will need to quarantine, will be set out next month.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps 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.

“Travel continues to be different this year, and passengers face longer wait times, although government is making every effort to speed up queues safely. Those returning from red list countries will continue to be separated from other passengers in dedicated terminals to be processed as safely and efficiently as possible, before being transferred to a managed quarantine hotel.”

Book with caution

Rory Boland, Which? Travel editor, said: “The addition of Malta to the green list, and a handful of holiday destinations like Madeira and the Balearic Islands to the green watchlist, will be welcomed by holidaymakers and industry alike, but travellers still need to be extremely cautious about booking trips this summer, even to green list destinations. 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.

“Restrictions around international travel are changing regularly and when they do, the cost to holidaymakers is significant. Most providers will not pay refunds if a country is moved from green to amber, and ‘free’ amendments are often anything but, with many companies requiring significant notice of any changes and bookings for new dates usually costing hundreds of pounds. Travel insurance is also unlikely to pay out in these circumstances.

“It is only advisable to book if you are able to do 14 days quarantine, can be flexible about destination and dates, and book with a provider that guarantees refunds in the event of traffic light changes or quarantine requirements.”