Ministers will meet today to sign off changes to the UK’s travel “green list” that could see holiday hotspots Ibiza, Madeira and Malta back on the safe list, after the sector united yesterday to plead for a fuller reopening of international travel.
The Telegraph reported that ministers will sign off on the policy today ahead of its “checkpoint review” of the travel traffic light system on Monday.
Boris Johnson today offered Britons some fresh hope ahead of the decision, saying that double jabs offered “real opportunity” for opening up travel.
He was however cautious, saying: “I’m not going to claim this summer, for travel purposes, is going to be like any other summer.”
It comes as German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on EU countries to force all UK travellers to quarantine on arrival amid fears over the Delta Covid-19 variant.
Merkel’s comments risk slamming the door on summer holidays for sun-seeking Brits, who had recently been offered a chink of light after it was revealed that the government was considering easing the isolation rules for fully vaccinated people.
Under the new scheme, health secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC, those who had received two doses of a vaccine would not need to quarantine on return from “amber list” countries.
But any such scheme is unlikely to come into effect until August, despite calls by the sector for the change to coincide with the UK’s new “freedom day”, 19 July.
Although wide-ranging changes to the “green list” are not expected, a number of holiday islands have reportedly been approved by the government’s health advisers.
The Balearic islands, Madeira, and Malta have all been cleared to be added to the “green list”, while Israel could be added to the “amber list” due to a surge in cases.
But even if ministers do make steps to open up travel, holidaymakers could yet find themselves thwarted, if the EU heeds Merkel’s words.
“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,” she told the Bundestag.
Brits arriving in Germany have to quarantine for 14 days, while Italy and Poland have also introduced mandatory isolation. At the moment, Spain and Greece have resisted such steps.