Malta will accept NHS app vaccination proof from UK tourists in U-turn

In a prompt U-turn, authorities in Malta have said they will allow entry to UK holidaymakers who can prove they have had both Covid vaccinations using the NHS app.

Just 24 hours earlier, the country had thrown tourists into chaos after announcing the app would not be accepted as evidence and only an NHS letter would do.

The move sparked fury from Brits left with not enough time to get their letters - which can take up to five working days to arrive - so they could catch their flights to Malta.

Malta is on the UK's green list, allowing tourists to head to the island from 30 June without facing quarantine upon their return.

There's still a lot of work to be done, but the language at the moment seems hopeful on all sides that we get foreign travel, ITV News Political Reporter Shehab Khan says

It seems the change in policy happened at some point on Thursday.

A tweet from The British High Commission for Malta at 7:20am on Thursday said only those with letters would be allowed entry.

But by Thursday afternoon, Malta's tourist board released a statement announcing the app would now be accepted.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps welcomed the news.

The uncertainty will have left those booked to travel on Wednesday 30 June and most of Thursday 1 July stranded at airports, or stuck at home.

Robert was due to fly to Malta on Wednesday morning, but was turned away at Heathrow Airport because of the change in rules

Others expressed their anger on social media.

Henry Pascoe wrote on Twitter: "What are we supposed to do, they change this at such short notice that thousands of us don’t have the chance to get the letter in time, think of all the hotels now that have lost money, what’s on this letter that isn’t on the NHS app that’s stopping us from going."

While Mothiur wrote: "What difference will it make to get a certificate from the app and the posted one. Just pointless bureaucracy".

The Blue Lagoon in Comino off Malta Credit:

Green and amber list travel: What you need to know

What does it mean when a country is on the green list?

It's important to note that just because a country is on the UK's green list, it doesn't necessarily mean the country is accepting UK citizens - Australia being one example - so check with the relevant country's government website for their latest rules on tourist arrivals.

People who are travelling to countries on the green list will need to take a Covid test up to 72 hours before they return to the UK and a single PCR test on or before day two of their arrival into the UK - but you do not need to quarantine unless the test result is positive.Children aged four and under are exempt from the test.

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What countries are on the green list?

From 4am on Monday 30 August, the Azores, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania and Switzerland will be added to the green list. These are the other countries already on the list:

  • Australia

  • Austria

  • Brunei

  • Bulgaria,

  • Caribbean Islands (Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, British Indian Ocean Territory, Barbados, Dominica, Granada, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands)

  • Croatia

  • Falkland Islands

  • Faroe Islands

  • Germany

  • Gibraltar

  • Hong Kong

  • Iceland

  • Israel and Jerusalem

  • Latvia

  • Malta

  • Madeira

  • New Zealand

  • Norway

  • Romania

  • Singapore

  • Slovakia

  • Slovenia

  • South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands

  • St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

  • Taiwan

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What countries are on the amber list?

No countries are being added to the amber list as part of the traffic light list changes coming into effect on Monday 30 August.There are currently more than 130 other countries on the amber list, including popular holiday destinations such as Spain, Portugal and Italy. The full list of amber list countries can be found on the UK government website.

What does it mean when a country is on the amber list?

If you're over 18 and not had two Covid vaccinations, on arrival in the UK from amber list countries you need to:

  • take a Covid test up to 72 hours before you return to the UK

  • quarantine for 10 days

  • take a test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 after arriving in the UK.

However, if you've been fully vaccinated in the UK or under 18, you don't need to quarantine or take a day 8 test after you get back, but you still need to take a test on or before day 2 after arriving. You must have had your final dose of the vaccine at least 14 whole days before the date you arrive in England to be considered as fully vaccinated under the amber list rules.

Separate to these rules for UK citizens, since 2 August people fully vaccinated in the USA or most European countries will not need to quarantine if they have been in an amber list country in the 10 days before arriving. They will still need to take a test on or before day 2 after arriving.

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Malta's travel policy further infuriated Brits last week when the country effectively banned those aged 12-17 from entering by requiring them to be double jabbed - the UK is not yet offering jabs to under-18s.

It means families with children over 12 years old are unable to travel to the country together.

Those with younger children, aged five to 11, can travel if children are accompanying their fully-vaccinated parents or legal guardian.

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Five to 11-year-olds must still show evidence of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before arrival.

No test is required for those aged under five.

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