Just as the U.K. finally added some viable tourist destinations to its rather sorry-looking green list of countries, E.U. countries continued on Monday to increase restrictions on U.K. visitors. This is due to the rise in Delta variant cases in the U.K. On Monday, 28 June, the U.K. recorded over 22,000 cases of Covid-19, with the majority being the Delta variant which originated in India.
Last week Malta announced that it would not allow those unvaccinated to enter Malta, a change from the previous single test for Brits. Families have been left in limbo by the policy that only exempts children under 12 from not being vaccinated. Therefore families with older children will not be able to travel to the island from the U.K.
Portugal was next in line, announcing with no notice that from Monday 28 June, non-vaccinated travelers would have to quarantine for 14 days. This policy is due to last until at least 11 July, but it is likely to be much longer in reality. The rules do not apply to children under 12, so again families have been left with no options even if both adults are vaccinated. Madeira, which is soon to be green-listed, has clarified that it will still accept visitors with a negative Covid-19 test, even if they have not had both jabs.
Shortly after, Spain followed but in a less stringent fashion. Currently, there are no tests required to enter Spain from the U.K. This will change on Friday 2 July when Spain will treat the U.K. as a risk country which requires either proof of full vaccination with an E.U. or WHO-approved vaccine or a Covid-19 test within 48 hours of arrival.
Last week Angela Merkel had called E.U. leaders to travelers from the U.K. should be quarantined wherever they arrive in the E.U., even if fully vaccinated. Ahead of the E.U. summit on Thursday, she said, “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.”
On Monday, Merkel’s rhetoric strengthened when she proposed a total ban on arrivals from the U.K. across the E.U. The plans are likely to be resisted by Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Malta, and Portugal. Analysts say that the German Chancellor is looking increasingly isolated as countries reliant on U.K. tourism will not support a total ban. Even President Macron of France, previously one of Merkel’s allies, has only backed mandatory quarantine for unvaccinated travelers, rather than a total ban or compulsory quarantine of all.
With the U.K. having high vaccination rates, many European countries would rather risk allowing those vaccinated to enter their countries. Given the recent trouble in Majorca with a spike in cases thought to be caused by partying teenagers on holiday, only accepting older travelers that have been vaccinated may be a beneficial strategy.