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UK to add Malta, Balearic Islands to travel ‘green list’ (Update 4)

A near empty Heathrow check-in area

Cyprus will remain on the UK’s ‘amber’ list of countries for the coronavirus, putting paid to the island’s hankering for an influx of British tourists for July as well.

The UK updates its colour-coded classification system every three weeks – meaning Cyprus will stay there for the next 21 days at least until the next update.

The amber country classification means that arrivals on UK territory must isolate at home for 10 days – a major disincentive to travel to those destinations.

Malta and the Balearic Islands will be added to England’s green list of places that are safe to visit without requiring quarantine on return, British transport minister Grant Shapps said on Thursday.

“Six countries including Tunisia and Haiti will be put on the red list,” Shapps said on Twitter.

He added that British residents who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will not have to isolate when travelling from countries on the amber list, according to government plans that will be explained in more detail next month.

According to the Cyprus News Agency’s information, the UK’s latest classification added to the ‘green’ list – the safest one – the Portuguese island of Madeira in addition to Malta and the Balearic Islands.

All other European destinations – minus Iceland, Gibraltar and the Faroe Islands, which were already ‘green – remain in amber.

For destinations outside Europe, the UK added to its ‘green’ list the following: Barbados, Bermuda, the Caymans, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, the British Antarctic Territory, the British Virgin Isles, Montserrat and the Turks & Caicos.

Added to the ‘red’ list – mandatory quarantine in a hotel upon arrival in the UK – are Eritrea, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Mongolia, Tunisia and Uganda.

Turkey is already on the UK’s ‘red’ list.

The updated classifications will apply as of Wednesday, June 30.

Cyprus has already suffered a blow from the UK’s decision to delay the easing of coronavirus-related measures in England.

Earlier this month, Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios said the island “deserved: to be moved to the green list of tourist destinations from the current amber category, due to the good epidemiological situation at the time.

Airlines also joined in the chorus of disappointment towards the UK government and renewed their calls on Britain to restart international travel.

Perdios described as tragic the lost income suffered by the people working in the tourism and hospitality industry.

“We feel that we deserve the green category as soon as possible,” he told the Guardian newspaper.

“Our positivity rate but also our R number is lower than in the UK itself, so we have better statistics than the UK and we have the best statistics in the Mediterranean for variants,” he said, adding to the mix a positive vaccination drive.

“If we’re going to be sat here having these great stats but not being recognised for all the work we have done, it’s just going to lead to disappointment.”

The minister had travelled to London June 1 and briefed UK officials on the island’s improved Covid-19 data ahead of the update of the UK country rating list on June 3.

Following PM Boris Johnson’s decision to delay the lifting of all legal restrictions on social contact, the possibilities of the UK adding Cyprus to the list of safe countries for travel later this month seemed scarce.

Effectively this means delaying the arrival of British holidaymakers by another three weeks, effectively losing the entire month of July, crucial for the battered tourism industry.

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