Last Updated on Thursday, 1 July, 2021 at 11:43 am by Andre Camilleri
‘Travellers must be aware, and follow, the new rules, despite green listing’ British High Commissioner
Last week we saw the UK adding Malta to the Green travel list upon the third review. Dayna Camilleri Clarke spoke with British High Commissioner Cathy Ward to discuss and dispel myths circulating about the latest travel requirements. At 4am on Wednesday, Malta became the only new country to achieve full green status on the UK travel list, meaning British visitors need not self-isolate on their return home.
But on the same day, Malta placed the UK on its red list because of concern about increasing coronavirus case levels, particularly related to the Delta variant.
Malta has just been added to the UK’s green list, how was this decision taken, and what does this mean?
“The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC), part of the UK Health Security Agency, in partnership with devolved administrations, has developed a dynamic risk assessment methodology to inform ministerial decisions on red, amber and green list countries and territories, and the associated border measures.
Adding countries like Malta to the Green List means that the particular country presents, with confidence, a low public health risk to the UK from all COVID-19 strains. The methodology used to put countries in a Green (or Green watch list) and red list consists of 4 parts:
• variant assessment
• risk assessment
• outcomes that inform ministerial decisions
Malta’s addition to the UK’s green list means that you do not need to quarantine when travelling from Malta to the UK unless the test result is positive, or the NHS Test & Trace informs you that you travelled to England with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19″.
What are the requirements for travellers entering the UK?
“Even though Malta is now on the green list, it is important that travellers are aware there are a number of rules they need to observe, even if they have been vaccinated. Before you travel to England, you must take a COVID-19 test, book and pay for a day 2 COVID-19 test (to be taken after arrival in England) and complete a passenger locator form.
On arrival in England, you must take the COVID-19 test you have booked on or before day 2 after you arrive. Children aged 4 and under do not need to take this test”
What has been the British High Commission’s role in this event?
“The High Commission has remained in close contact with the Maltese Government on the methodology used by the Joint Biosecurity Centre, and helped ensure the most up to date information possible from the Maltese government was and continues to be available to those making the assessment. The decision to add countries to the Red, Amber or Green lists is made by ministers informed by the latest scientific data and public health advice from a range of experts, including the Joint Biosecurity Centre. They make a risk assessment using a range of technical information from publicly available platforms such as GISAID and the World Health Organization, and host government websites.”
Lack of clarity
When Malta initially went on the UK’s green list, there was some confusion in Maltese public advice about which documents Malta would accept as proof of vaccination for British travellers. This has now been clarified. The office of the Deputy Prime Minister of Malta says: “From 30 June 2021, all arrivals from the UK need to present proof of full vaccination (two doses).
“Only the paper version of the NHS Covid vaccination letter, with subject ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination confirmation: two doses received’, will be accepted, not the digital app version, nor a printout from the digital app.”
There was also some confusion around vaccination for teenagers. Mylondon.news reports that in an email to a concerned traveller seen by the media outlet, Visit Malta, the official tourism website for the country, appears to have confirmed that children in the 12 to 17 bracket won’t be able to visit without isolating. This is not the full story. Malta is in fact requiring that all 12-17 year olds present vaccination certificates. However, the UK is not vaccinating 12 to 17-year-olds. This therefore means that families travelling to Malta with children aged 12 to 17 will either not be able to come, and have to leave their teenagers at home since they are not currently eligible to have a vaccine in the UK, or the teenagers would need to quarantine on arrival for the whole duration. Children aged 5-11, however, can present negative PCR tests to enter the country as long as they are travelling with vaccinated parents/ guardians.
The information above reflects the current travel advice from the Maltese and British Government. However travel advice can change at short notice. To ensure you have the latest advice you can sign up for travel advice for Malta on https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/malta.