Updated | Malta left off United Kingdom’s travel green list

Malta does not make it to the United Kingdom’s green list for quarantine-free travelling  

Updated at 11:20 am with MHRA reaction

Malta has not been listed among 12 destinations where tourists from the United Kingdom can freely travel to without needing to quarantine.

On Friday evening, UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps did not include Malta among the ‘green list’ of approved countries.

Portugal including the Azores and Madeira, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Falkland Islands and Israel are on the UK’s green travel list.

Other major countries like Spain and France were also not included on the green list.

It has been reported that Malta made the amber list. Travellers arriving from amber listed countries have to self-isolate for 10 days upon their return to the UK.

Shapps said the UK’s current blanket ban on overseas vacations will be replaced on May 17 by a traffic-light system classifying countries as low, medium or high risk.

"We in this country have managed to construct a fortress against COVID. But the disease is still prevalent in other parts of the world, most notably at the moment in India,” he said. "That's why today's announcement, removing the 'stay in the U.K.' restrictions from May 17, is necessarily cautious."

Addressing a press conference on Friday, Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo had said that there were indications that Malta could make the UK’s green list.

"We do have an indication where Malta will be on the list but I will await the press conference before commenting," Bartolo said

The list will be updated in three weeks’ time.

Bernard Grech reacts 

Reacting to the announcement, the Opposition Leader Bernard Grech said Malta, now more than ever, needs to rally together to support local businesses.

“Malta not making the England green travel list is far from ideal. However, I am confident in the resilience of those working in tourism & hospitality,” Grech said.

MHRA expresses surprise at Malta's omission

The Malta Hotel and Restaurant Association (MHRA) has expressed its surprise that Malta is not included on the UK’s travel ‘Green List’ and has urged the government to take “all the necessary action” to rectify this.

MHRA stated that Malta was meeting the COVID-19 related safety requirements and that several British media outlets had for the past days been quoting Malta to be a favourite destination to be included in the safe list.

“MHRA concurs with the general opinion being expressed by the major British travel and tourism stakeholders that the decision to put so few European countries into the green tier is not justified by the data or the science,” it said in a statement on Saturday.

The association warned that this situation would negatively impact the tourism sector in Malta “at least for June.”

“If this situation is not urgently addressed, then the tourism sector in Malta will lose what was appearing to be a good start to the summer season,” it said.

“MHRA, therefore appeals to the Maltese authorities, in particular the Office of the Prime Minister and the Maltese diplomatic corps to take all the necessary action to ensure that Malta is featured in the UK green list since this is expected to be reviewed in the coming three weeks. MHRA pledges its support to stand together with the relevant authorities to ensure that the tourism sector in Malta will be relaunched successfully for a sustainable and gradual growth over the coming months whilst ensuring safety for all.”

The MHRA also said it welcomed the news that Germany had declared Malta to no longer be a COVID-19 risk area.