The UK has removed the Balearic Islands, including popular tourist destinations Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera, from the country’s ‘green list’ overnight after only two weeks, as cases skyrocket.
The popular Spanish holiday destination is now part of the UK’s ‘amber list’, which means all returning non-vaccinated travellers will now be required to isolate at home upon arrival back in the country.
The news was confirmed by Transport Secretary Grant Sharps who said the measures will take effect in England from 4am, 19 July.
“When we see things change for the safety and security of everyone back home, we do need to react and act, and that’s what we’re doing today,” he said. “Clearly if you’re booking to a green watch list country you need to make sure you can get your money back and change accommodation.”
Under a recently announced policy change, vaccinated returned travellers will be exempt from isolating at home, but will still be required to take a PCR test.
Children under 18 will also be exempt from isolation, but those without a vaccine passport or certification will have to spend 10 days at home.
We’re also moving the Balearic Islands & British Virgin Islands to the amber list 🟠- previously on the green watchlist. Also, from 19/07 if you’re fully #Vaccinated in the UK you can return to England from amber countries and territories without needing to quarantine.
— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) July 14, 2021
From Monday, Bulgaria, Croatia and Hong Kong will be added to the ‘green list’, and Croatia and Taiwan on the ‘Green watchlist.’
‘Amber list’ countries include Balearic Islands and the British Virgin Islands, and ‘red list’ countries include Cuba, Indonesia, Myanmar and Sierra Leone.
The UK airline industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, seeing passenger numbers drop 75 per cent in 2020.
“Moving countries between the tiers like this is shattering consumer trust during an already unpredictable booking season,” said Tim Alderslade, CEO of Airlines UK, according to Reuters.
The move announced last night is only two weeks after the Balearic Islands transitioned to UK’s ‘green list,’ but infection numbers have risen drastically since.
The latest COVID-19 figures show infection rates for the Balearic Islands to be 205 cases per 100,000 people, close to the rate in the UK with a far larger population, at 329.9 per 100,000.
“We’ve seen the rates double and also the rate of positivity of these tests double, meaning that we’re going to need to move quickly, as we said we might always have to do,” Secretary Shapps said.
“Surely no one can be out there thinking we can travel and just rely on things not changing.”