Green light for travel to Malta, Barbados and the Balearic Islands without quarantine in new green list

ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi reports on the latest changes to travel and holidays

Holiday travel to Malta, Madeira and the Balearic Islands has been given the green light as it was also announced plans to allow vaccinated people to travel to amber list countries without having to quarantine.

From 4am on Wednesday, tourists from England who visit those destinations, which were previously on the amber list, will not have to quarantine on return the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced.

Scotland and Northern Ireland have also confirmed similar travel plans to the same destinations.

All additions to the green list, apart from Malta, will also be added to the new 'green watchlist' which signals the potential for those countries to move to the amber list in the future.

But sunseekers were warned to be careful of a very fluid travel situation. Rory Boland, Which? travel editor, said: “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."

Tunisia, the Dominican Republic and Uganda will be added to their red list from Wednesday morning.

Thousands of Britons were caught up in chaos in Portugal when it was moved to the amber list Credit: AP

Mr Shapps also announced the government's "intention" to allow fully vaccinated UK residents to be exempt from isolation when travelling from amber list countries later in the summer.

Travellers who had both doses of the vaccine will still be required to take a pre-departure test and a test on Day 2.

ITV News Video Producer Natalia Jorquera explains what the changes could mean for you

Mr 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.”

Listen to the latest Calling Peston podcast on the government's travel decisions:

Later in the summer, the government also say they intend to remove the present guidance that people should not travel to amber countries.

Amid decisions on whether under-18s should be offered the jab, regular testing will be looked at as an alternative to quarantine for children accompanied by vaccinated adults.

Further detail will be set out next month.

The announcement comes after prime minister Boris Johnson said there is a "real opportunity to open up travel" in the coming months to people who have two doses of a coronavirus vaccine, but warned "it's going to be a more difficult summer to take a holiday".

"I think the real opportunity we have now is to open up travel through the double jab and if you look at it more than 60% of the population has now had a double jab, I think 83% have had one jab, we’re really getting through it now.

Boris Johnson did warn 'this summer for travel purposes isn't going to be like any other summer'

Asked whether he would be taking a holiday abroad this summer, Boris Johnson said: “My plans at this stage are at the unformed stage, I’m afraid.”

He added: “I’m certainly not ruling it in or ruling it out.”

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary has said it would be "too little, too late" to add Malta and the Balearic Islands to the green list.

He said: "What we need is some sensible plan from Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson. Adding countries to the green list that should have been on it in the first place, like Malta and the Balearics, is too little too late".

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary said adding Malta and the Balearic Islands to the green list would be "too little, too late"

Mr O'Leary also said people who are double vaccinated should be able to travel between the UK and Europe without having to self-isolate on either side.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for all European Union (EU) countries to impose quarantine on UK travellers, over fears of the Delta variant.

She said ahead of Thursday’s summit with EU leaders: “In our country, if you come from Great Britain, you have to go into quarantine – and that’s not the case in every European country, and that’s what I would like to see.”

However, it is thought many EU countries whose economies profit greatly from British tourism will not back her proposal.

Ms Merkel has criticised Portugal for allowing British tourists to visit without quarantining.

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