Quarantine-free holidays to Malta, the Balearic Islands and Madeira could be permitted in an update to the Government’s foreign travel policy, according to analysts.
Holidaymakers and travel firms are hoping that several additions will be made to the green list on Thursday afternoon.
People arriving in the UK from green list destinations are not required to self-isolate, but there are currently no viable major tourist destinations in that tier.
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for other European countries to follow her lead in placing quarantine requirements on Britons.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said her position was unjustified.
He told LBC: “I’m not sure that such an approach would be justified given the highly advanced stage we are currently at now in terms of vaccination, with 80% having had one jab and now 60% having had the second jab.”
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Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, forecast that Malta and the Portuguese island of Madeira will be put on the UK’s green list.
He said he is “not expecting more than five countries to be added”, despite data indicating that “more are eligible”.
Robert Boyle, former director of strategy at British Airways’ parent company IAG, noted that several amber list countries have lower case rates than the UK, such as Malta, Poland, Germany, Moldova, Finland, Italy, Canada and the US.
But he added: “There were several countries that ought to have been added (to the green list) at the last review based on their case rates, and none were.
“So whether the traffic lights will remain stuck on amber/red at the next review is anyone’s guess at this point.”
Travellers arriving in the UK from amber locations must quarantine at home for 10 days.
Those returning from a red list country must enter a quarantine hotel at a cost of £1,750 for solo travellers.
Analyst Tim White said he expected a handful of destinations to be moved to the green tier on Thursday, including Malta, the Balearic Islands, Poland, Slovakia and the Greek islands of Corfu, Kefalonia and Santorini.
He cautioned that the “huge rise in UK cases” of Covid-19 are likely to result in Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Home Secretary Priti Patel “again trimming a few off the green list”.
Mr Hancock said earlier this week that the Government is “working on” plans to allow quarantine-free travel for fully vaccinated Britons returning from amber locations.
Asked about the prospect of restrictions being eased in the review, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told the PA news agency: “Of course I very much hope the world could open up.
“We’ve got to follow the data, and that’s what we’ll be doing in the meetings over the next few days.”
As of 9am on Wednesday, there had been a further 16,135 lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases in the UK – the highest reported daily total since February 6.
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