Malta imposes quarantine for unvaccinated Britons, hours after addition to green list

Only vaccinated Britons will be allowed into Malta without having to quarantine
Only vaccinated Britons will be allowed into Malta without having to quarantine

Malta imposed a 14-day quarantine on unvaccinated Britons just hours after being added to the UK's green list, as it emerged that only two green countries are free of travel restrictions.

The Maltese government reintroduced the self-isolation rule amid growing concern in Europe over the UK's high rates of the Indian or delta Covid variant.

Only vaccinated Britons will be allowed into Malta without having to quarantine as its status as the only fully green destination on the list saw a nine-fold increase in holiday package searches online by Britons.

It follows Germany and France's appeal to the 27 EU states to impose quarantine restrictions on Britons to stem the spread of the variant in Europe, although on Friday Greece joined Spain in rejecting that call.

The confusing array of shifting restrictions on travel, however, is underlined by a Telegraph analysis of the other 15 destinations on the Government's new green "watchlist".

It shows that only the Balearic Islands of Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza, along with Madeira, do not have any restrictions on British tourists.

Montserrat, Grenada, the Cayman Islands, Anguilla and British Virgin Islands require varying degrees of quarantine even for the fully jabbed, while Barbados, Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands demand self-isolation for the unvaccinated and tests for the inoculated.

Dominica, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Antigua and Barbuda require negative PCR tests, while Pitcairn and Antarctica are closed to tourists. None of the initial 11 green list countries are without restrictions.

Michael O'Leary, the chief executive of Ryanair, accused the Government of being over-cautious, "sowing confusion" and "scaring" holidaymakers with "scariant variants" and a green "watchlist" that means any destination on it is at serious risk of suddenly reverting to amber.

"It is no longer green, amber, red. It is green, green watch and red. Grant Shapps is sowing more confusion trying to do the right thing but making a mess of it," said Mr O'Leary, who is suing the Government to uncover the data behind its decisions and allow the fully vaccinated to travel freely.

On Friday, former Prime Minister Tony Blair added his voice to calls for the Government to allow quarantine-free travel to amber countries for double-jabbed Britons from July 19, rather than delaying it until August or even later.

"It is plainly irrational to apply the same rules for amber countries in respect of those who are double jabbed as those who are unvaccinated when we know the risks of getting Covid-19, transmitting it and becoming seriously ill with it are significantly less," Mr Blair said.

The confusion and uncertainty has not stopped a surge of pent-up demand by Britons as Ryanair added 200,000 seats to the Balearics and Malta, BA added flights and Jet2 put on an extra 70 flights. Flight prices have doubled or trebled in a week, with one to Valletta in Malta up from £59 to £117.

On Friday, Mr Shapps played down the chances of an early introduction of quarantine free travel for the fully vaccinated, saying there were "a lot of things we need to do before we introduce it". Ministers have so far only said that it will be "later in the summer".

The Transport Secretary admitted concerns over unfairness to young unvaccinated adults were one factor amid fears the Government could face legal action for discrimination.

"It's one of the reasons why we've not been able to just sort it. We actually have a moral responsibility to think about the entire population – we need to work out what happens to people who haven't been vaccinated, not just children," said Mr Shapps.

Ministers have to decide what percentage of the population should be fully vaccinated before giving the green light to the double jab scheme. A Telegraph analysis estimated it should be 71 per cent of all adults by July 19 and 80 per cent by Aug 9.

Mr Shapps admitted matters were also complicated by the difficulty of validating the vaccine certificates of visitors from other countries, which is why quarantine-free travel for the double-jabbed is likely to be limited at the start to Britons.