Malta says UK decision to keep island off safe travel list was ‘political’

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Britain ignored scientific advice and instead took a political decision when it failed to put Malta on its list of safe travel destinations, Malta Foreign Minister Evarist Bartolo said.

Britain last week revised its so-called Green List of countries, that do not require quarantine on return, choosing not to put any new country on it, while removing Portugal.

Britons traditionally account for a third of all arrivals on the small Mediterranean island, and opposition politicians criticised the government for failing to convince London that Malta was a safe tourist destination.

But Bartolo said the British government did not want its nationals to go abroad because of concerns over growing coronavirus cases at home.

“The (British government) is ignoring scientific advice. It has taken a political decision not to allow travel anywhere, despite the pressure it faces from airlines, tourism operators and the people in general,” he wrote on Facebook.

Malta on Monday reported no new COVID-19 cases for the first time in 11 months. Half of its adult population has been fully vaccinated and 75% have received a first dose of a vaccine – the highest rate within the European Union.

Photo: Joanna Demarco – EU Audiovisual Service