Malta’s narrow failure to get on the United Kingdom’s initial ‘green list’ for safe travel shows how important it is for the general public to vigilantly observe COVID-19 measures, Philip Fenech, the deputy president of the Chamber of SMEs, has said.
“If we were just a bit more vigilant, we’d have made it to the UK’s green list and we’d have been able to take strong tourist bookings from today instead of waiting for the next announcement,” Fenech told Lovin Malta.
“It’s extremely important that we make the UK’s next green list in three weeks’ time and if we manage to get our COVID-19 numbers down even more, we might even be able to appeal to the British government to get on the list before then.”
“Every week is crucial for bookings and the faster we get there, the more tourists we can accept.”
Yesterday, the UK unveiled an initial list of 12 countries that British people will be able to travel to without having to quarantine when they return back.
These countries are Portugal, Israel, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Iceland, Gibraltar, the Falkland Islands, the Faroe Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, and the islands of St Helena, Tristan de Cunha, and Ascension. The UK has said it will revise its list every three weeks.
Malta was not on the list despite multiple reports in the British press indicating that it would make the cut, a blow for the island’s battered tourism industry seeing as the UK is one of its main markets.
Fenech noted that Malta must have been extremely close, seeing as its latest figures for new COVID-19 cases for 14 days per million people stood at 589 while Portugal’s stood at 548.
“If this was an exam, then Portugal got a 50 and passed while Malta got a 49 and didn’t,” he said.
Malta confirmed six new COVID-19 cases today, the lowest single-day rise since 27th July.
Meanwhile, the national vaccination campaign continues to gather steam, with another 6,718 jabs administered over the past 24 hours and the number of fully vaccinated people rising to 118,209.
However, Fenech urged people not to fall into a sense of complacency and realise that the success of the tourism industry this summer hinges on a low infection rate.
“The numbers are extremely close and it’s a very fine line. We’ve come a very long way and we’re well within a chance to make the UK’s green list before other competitors do. Some are slightly behind us and others are way behind us. We’re in a very delicate situation right now and it’s crucial that we remain on our guard.”