The UK ignored scientific advice and made a political decision by failing to put Malta on its list of safe travel destinations despite no new infections, Malta’s FM said. This comes as Portugal entered the amber list on Tuesday.
Taking to Facebook on Tuesday, the island’s foreign minister, Evarist Bartolo, said he believes the UK Department of Health doesn’t want British tourists to travel to other countries for holidays this year due to concerns over the Indian variant of the virus. He added that despite the “very low” infection rate in Malta, the UK did not open travel to the country.
Bartolo cited recommendations by the UK’s Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) – which provides scientific advice to the government regarding Covid-19 – that travel to Malta should be allowed. The Sunday Times reported last week that the JBC had said Malta and some other islands should be added to the green list, ensuring people could travel there without quarantine.
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However, the latest revision by the UK of its ‘green list’ of countries saw no new additions, and Malta, which registered no new infections on Monday, was kept on the ‘amber list’. The UK government advises against travel to countries on this list, and requires arriving passengers to quarantine for 10 days and to take two Covid tests upon arrival.
“The British government does not want the UK people to travel to other countries for their holidays. It is not relying on scientific advice,” FM Bartolo said.
It has made a political decision not to open the way to travel despite pressure from airlines, tour operators and citizens themselves to do so.
According to Reuters, UK tourists traditionally account for a third of all tourists traveling to the Mediterranean island, and the Maltese government has come under fire from opposition politicians for failing to convince London that Malta is a safe destination.
Bartolo added that 74% of the island’s population have been vaccinated with one dose of the vaccine, and 51% have received two doses, which makes Malta one of the most vaccinated nations in the world.
Britain’s decision making when it comes to allowing travel was also criticized last week, as the government removed Portugal from the green list. As of Tuesday, the country is also on the amber list, meaning that tourists arriving from the country would have to quarantine for 10 days. Travel to Portugal for leisure was allowed three weeks ago, and tens of thousands of tourists went there only to discover that their holiday had been cut short and they had to rush home to avoid quarantine on arrival.
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The number of new Covid infections in Portugal is relatively low, with 388 cases and two deaths recorded in the past day.
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(This story has been published from RT News Network feed without modifications to the text)