Malta: Holidaymakers will need a letter from the NHS to visit

30 June 2021, 12:55 | Updated: 30 June 2021, 13:01

The NHS app provides proof of vaccine status, but the Maltese authorities will not accept it
The NHS app provides proof of vaccine status, but the Maltese authorities will not accept it. Picture: PA

By Daisy Stephens

Holidaymakers destined for Malta will need to get a letter from the NHS in order avoid the need to quarantine, just as the country is added to England's green travel list.

The Maltese authorities are allowing fully-vaccinated Brits into the country but will only accept EU digital passes and the paper version of the NHS letter as proof.

The guidance on the UK Government website says: “The Maltese authorities have announced that from 30 June 2021, arrivals from the UK will be required to present proof of full vaccination.

“Only the paper version of the NHS letter is currently accepted.

“This will exempt travellers from self-isolation.”

Because the letters can take up to five days to arrive, the move could cause disappointment to Brits hoping to fly to Malta within the next few days, who may find themselves being turned away or having to quarantine even if they are fully-vaccinated.

There is also currently no exemption from the quarantine rules for children older than 12, because of worries about the Delta variant being transmitted among teenagers.

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Because the UK is not currently vaccinating under 18s, it means some families may be prevented from holidaying in Malta.

Children younger than 12 can travel into Malta without quarantining as long as their parents or legal guardians are fully-vaccinated - and can prove it - but those aged between five and 11 must be able to provide a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before their arrival.

In a tweet, UK High Commissioner to Malta Cathy Ward said the advice around teenagers was unlikely to change.

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Malta moved onto the UK’s green list at 4am on Wednesday, meaning British travellers will not need to quarantine on their return to the UK.

The move saw a surge in bookings for the Mediterranean island country.

The Government has already been the subject of criticism for changing rules after Portugal moved from the green list to the amber list, leaving many holidaymakers having to rush back early or face 10 days of isolation.

They have also been criticised for the complexity of the rules, with Labour calling for the amber list to be scrapped entirely, as well as the introduction of an internationally-recognised vaccine passport.

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Shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon said in the Commons on Tuesday that Labour's position was "clear", calling for a "simplified" red and green list "supported by clear country by country assessment showing the clear direction of travel".

He also said: "We have been pushing for the government to show international leadership but so far they have failed to step up, so can I ask him why the Government won’t bring forward concrete plans for an international vaccine passport which will be accepted by key destination countries?"

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In response, transport secretary Grant Shapps said simplification of the travel system did not “make sense” and that the removal of the amber list would result in the majority of countries being on the red list, meaning returning travellers would need to quarantine in a government facility.

“He calls for this red and green list, he wants to scrap the amber list, he wants to simplify it… but it simply doesn’t make sense,” said Mr Shapps.

"He cannot stand up and call for further support for airlines and the aviation sector whilst deliberately trying to ensure that every person who comes to this country, pretty much, has to go to government quarantine hotels.

"It simply does not stack up.”

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