The United Kingdom has added Malta along with other countries to its travel quarantine list in what is a major blow for Malta’s already ailing tourism industry.
The UK is Malta’s biggest market for incoming tourists, and the government had made major efforts in order to promote Malta as a safe destination owing to its good handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, any concept of that has gone out of the window in recent weeks, with a major increase in cases now leading to Malta being dropped from the UK’s safe travel list altogether.
It means that travellers entering the UK from Malta will have to self-isolate for 14 days, while the British government had advised against all but essential travel to Malta.
France and the Netherlands, amongst others, have also been added to the UK’s quarantine list.
The measures come into force on Saturday at 4am, UK time.
The news will come as a major blow for an already struggling tourist industry in Malta.
Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli had told The Malta Independent some weeks ago that “UK tourists are crucial for our list, and we know that many British tourists are also waiting and looking forward to visiting Malta,”.
Farrugia Portelli had also made an appearance on the BBC some weeks ago in an attempt to woo British tourists, speaking of how Malta had mechanisms in place to ensure that it is a safe destination.
However, with the number of active cases having jumped from 6 to 528 in the space of three weeks, the tourism situation has continually deteriorated, with the UK becoming the 12th European country to impose restrictions on arrivals from Malta.
The UK joins Denmark and Norway in announcing restrictions on travel between them and Malta on Thursday, and comes after several other countries have introduced similar restrictions as well.
Italy has announced that it requires coronavirus tests for people arriving from Croatia, Malta, Spain and Greece after a spate of new infections were registered in Italians returning home from vacation.
Meanwhile, Slovenia also removed Malta from its travel green-list, joining Ireland and the three Baltic countries in this regard.
Furthermore, one requires a negative Covid-19 swab test to travel from Malta to Greece, with that negative test result having to be a maximum of 72 hours before departure to the Mediterranean destination.
Quarantine regulations are also in place for Ireland and all three Baltic countries.