Travel news – live: Spain and Portugal tighten entry restrictions on unvaccinated Britons

Spain has confirmed that it will require British visitors to either be fully vaccinated or present a negative Covid test for entry from 2 July, following a month of no restrictions.

Malta tightened its rules to say it would only admit vaccinated British travellers aged 12 and over, which effectively ends any hope of a family holiday; while Portugal demands quarantine from those who haven’t been fully jabbed.

Meanwhile, hopes are fading for US-UK travel to restart before the end of the summer. According to reports, travel between the two nations is unlikely to resume anytime soon, despite intense pressure from airlines and lobby groups.

Travel between the US and the UK, usually a thriving market, has been largely frozen since March 2020.

Key points

  • Stricter entry requirements for Spain to come into force from Friday
  • US-UK air corridor delayed until ‘end of summer’
  • Malta and Portugal tighten entry requirements

When does green list come into effect?

17:42 , Cathy Adams

As a reminder, the expanded “green list”, which now includes Malta, the Balearics and Madeira, will come into force at 4am on Wednesday 30 June.

That means if you’re arriving in the UK from a green-rated destination after that time, you won’t be required to self-isolate.

Here’s a full list of all the green grade:

water next to the building

© Provided by The Independent

Which countries are on the green list?

While these territories have been added, all new additions bar Malta remain on the “green watchlist”, meaning they are at risk of turning amber.

How to get a cheap PCR test for travel

17:16 , Cathy Adams

Chances are your travel plans now will involve some sort of PCR test: either as a “Fit to Fly” before you depart, or when you return back to the UK.

UK travellers are not permitted to use the free NHS testing service and must instead go through a private firm to obtain their result although, increasingly, travel firms are luring holidaymakers with discounted or subsidised travel tests.

All returning travellers, meanwhile, will be required to take at least two tests: one before departing for the UK, which can be a lateral flow or rapid antigen; and at least one PCR test within two days of arrival to the UK, depending on whether they’ve been to a green, amber or red country.

The average cost of a PCR test is about £120, but we’ve put together a handy guide to some of the cheapest on the market.

© Provided by The Independent

PCR tests for travel: The cheapest ways to buy one

Update to Maltese entry rules

17:13 , Cathy Adams

Malta has updated its entry requirements for Britons, due to come into force tomorrow. Only those fully vaccinated, aged 12 and above, will be allowed to enter the country.

The Malta Ministry for Health now says that all UK arrivals must present proof of full vaccination “in the form of the NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate Letter issued by the NHS”.

It adds: “Only the paper version of the NHS COVID letter will be accepted which can be requested online or by calling 119. The vaccination certificate will be not accepted in digital or downloaded PDF form. It must be the printed version issued directly from the NHS.”

A reminder on the Spain rule change

16:45 , Cathy Adams

Spain has confirmed that from midnight on 2 July, all arrivals over the age of 12 from the UK must either show proof of a negative PCR test or evidence of being fully vaccinated.

A vaccination certificate issued by the NHS, either electronically or in print, showing at least 14 days have elapsed since the last dose will suffice.

For those who are not fully jabbed, a negative PCR test (a nucleic acid amplification type) taken within 48 hours of arrival into Spain must be presented. Antigen tests will not be accepted.

Full details are here:

15:38 , Cathy Adams

New travel rules for entry into Malta come into effect from tomorrow, 30 June.

Malta says “only fully vaccinated persons” will be admitted from the UK from 30 June – the same day the Mediterranean nation joins the British government’s travel “green list”.

Children under 12 are exempt from the ruling, but those aged 5 to 11 must undergo a PCR test in the 72 hours before arrival in Malta.

In an online update, Visit Malta said: “Currently, only the Maltese vaccination certificate is a valid certificate accepted by the Maltese authorities.

“As from 1 July, the UK (two dose certificate) and the EU digital Covid vaccine certificate will be accepted as well.”

It is understood the NHS app will be accepted as certification.

Read the full story here:

a group of people sitting at a table in front of a building

© Provided by The Independent

Malta to demand proof of vaccination from UK travellers

Bookings for the Balearics bounce, says Skyscanner

15:36 , Cathy Adams

A growing band of restrictions in Europe isn’t stopping British travellers from searching for their next holiday.

Data from Skyscanner shows that bookings rose by 217 per cent in the last week, with “green list” Balearics, Malta and Barbados high in travellers’ sights.

The most popular routes booked were from London to Mallorca, up 703 per cent; and from London to Ibiza, up 556 per cent, said the flight platform.

“We’ve seen a busy few days of searches and bookings, as eager travellers reacted to the news of the updated green list destinations,” says Martin Nolan, Skyscanner consumer rights traveller expert.

“Our data shows that people want holidays in the sun, as the Balearic Islands are the top searched and booked destination on Skyscanner since the announcement was made. We’re seeing plenty of travel providers keeping prices low to compete for bookings and there are still extremely attractive deals to be had for summer trips which include flexible booking options.”

Scotland lifts ban on non-essential Manchester travel


Scotland will lift its ban on non-essential travel from Manchester and Salford.

The new travel curbs came into effect on 21 June and were disputed by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.

The ban between Scotland and the two English cities will end tonight, although curbs on Blackburn and Darwen will remain.

Scotland’s health secretary, Humza Yousaf, said: “Nobody wants travel restrictions in place for any longer than is absolutely necessary.

“Placing restrictions on travel between Scotland and parts of north west England was only taken after extremely careful consideration and analysis of data to help prevent the spread of variants of concern.

“Following a careful review of the data we have decided to ease travel arrangements between Scotland and Manchester, Salford and Bolton.

“However, the situation regarding Blackburn and Darwen will need to be closely monitored and will be reviewed again in a week’s time.”

Additional reporting by agencies

Can I go to Spain this summer?

14:04 , Cathy Adams

As Spain tightens its entry requirements from 2 July to require all British arrivals to either be fully vaccinated or present a negative PCR test certificate, we’ve got everything you need to know about travel to the country and its islands this summer.

a sandy beach next to a body of water

© Provided by The Independent

What are the rules for travelling to Spain this summer?

Ireland will restrict indoor dining to those who have been jabbed


Meanwhile in the Common Travel Area…

Ireland is to restrict indoor drinking and dining in bars and restaurants to those who are fully vaccinated or who have previously been infected by Covid-19, Prime Minister Micheal Martin announced on Tuesday, due to concerns over the Delta variant spread.

“A return to other indoor activities, including hospitality, will be delayed … given the increased transmissibility for the Delta variant,” Mr Martin said.

The safest way to now proceed with a return to indoor hospitality is to limit access to those who have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID infection, he said.

Ireland would be one of the first places in Europe to introduce such a measure. Moscow introduced similar restrictions on Monday.

Reporting by agencies

European vaccination travel guide

12:30 , Cathy Adams

Many countries across Europe have tightened restrictions for Britons and now insist on a full course of vaccination against Covid-19.

The general rule is that at least 14 days should have elapsed from the date of your last jab, and you should take proof in the form of your NHS app.

The Independent’s Helen Coffey has the rundown on which countries will welcome fully-jabbed Britons here:

US-UK travel unlikely before September

12:02 , Cathy Adams

The long-awaited travel corridor between the US and UK is unlikely to open before the end of the summer, according to reports.

In June, coinciding with the G7 in Cornwall, a new transatlantic travel taskforce was set up to explore ways to reopen UK-US travel.

Travel between the two nations has been frozen since March 2020, thanks to a series of presidential proclamations, while the US is on the UK’s amber list of countries, requiring a 10-day quarantine when returning to the UK and two post-arrival PCR tests.

Now talks have stalled, with officials involved saying it was unlikely a conclusion would be reached by the end of next month, according to the Financial Times.

Read the full story here:

Ooh, we’re going to Ibiza…sort of

11:22 , Cathy Adams

Spain has confirmed that tighter entry restrictions for Britons will come into force from Friday.

Last month, Spain axed all extra requirements for British visitors as it sought to recharge its battered tourism industry.

However, following an increase in Delta variant cases in the UK, Spain has tightened its rules again.

From midnight on 2 July, British travellers must either show proof of full vaccination or a negative Covid test.

Read the full story here:

Hong Kong blocks UK flights from 1 July

11:17 , Cathy Adams

Hong Kong will reintroduce its ban on passenger flights from UK from 1 July as it becomes the latest territory to impose restrictions on British travellers.

Flights from the UK to the territory were previously barred from December 2020 to May.

The move is to curb the spread of the Delta variant, the government said.

The UK is now classed as “extremely high risk”. Passengers who have stayed in the UK for more than two hours would be banned from boarding flights to the city, it said.

Labour renews calls for all ‘amber’ countries to be red-listed

10:28 , Simon Calder

Labour has renewed its call for tougher border controls.

The opposition is urging the government to scrap the “amber list” and move the countries currently on the medium-risk register to the “red list” – requiring arrivals from France, Italy, the US at around 150 countries to go into hotel quarantine.

It will use an urgent question in the House of Commons to demand the government scraps the amber list, introduces an “international vaccine passport” and publishes the available data on the decision-making behind the “traffic light” system.

As a reminder, there are currently 56 countries on the red list, and all arrivals must go into mandatory hotel quarantine for 11 nights.

Here’s the full story here:

Saga reports boost in searches and bookings

10:12 , Cathy Adams

Saga Holidays, which specialises in holidays for travellers over 50, has said it has seen a “huge spike” in the number of searches and bookings.

As countries start to insist on arrivals being fully vaccinated, younger travellers who haven’t yet had their full course will need to wait a few more months.

Portugal and Malta are two holiday destinations that now insist on Britons being fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to visit.

Saga said it has seen a “surge” in searches for holidays to Spain, up 205 per cent; while breaks to Portugal have seen a 421 per cent increase. Madeira has seen an uplift of 344 per cent and the Balearics’ searches are up by 365 per cent.

Chris Simmonds, CEO of Saga Holidays, said: “Our customers are so looking forward to going on holiday again. They were early in the queue for both vaccines and are looking for some warmth, a change of scenery and new experiences.”

Irish Ferries begins Dover-Calais route

09:54 , Simon Calder

Irish Ferries has started sailing from Dover to Calais, with the first departure from the Kent port of theIsle of Inishmore.

Even though France remains on the British government’s “amber list” and has increasing concern about coronavirus cases in the UK, a new entrant has set sail on the key cross-Channel link.Irish Ferries will operate up to 10 daily crossings in competition with P&O Ferries and DFDS.

Andrew Sheen, managing director at Irish Ferries, said: “Our newly-launched route between Dover and Calais brings even more choice for freight customers who can now experience our outstanding service while travelling between the UK and France.“

We’re delighted to bring a little bit of Ireland to this route, and after months of travel limitations, we know that people are very eager to see family and friends, re-ignite business relations, and escape their everyday and take a much-needed holiday.

“We are in the business of connectivity and want to enable those special memories to be created once travel is permitted again.”

Fares start at £69 for a car and up to nine passengers.

Simon Calder is doing an exclusive Zoom tomorrow night – here’s how to sign up

09:53 , Cathy Adams

Travel has rarely been so complicated – or more desperately hankered after this summer.

As we edge closer to the summer peak and continue on the roadmap out of domestic lockdown, the myriad issues around travelling abroad remain. The government’s infamous traffic light system for travel has been a hot topic for many weeks, and certainly long before the green list was announced on 14 May.

Now, several weeks on, confusion and frustration still surround the world of travel, with many unclear of the rules as the government continues to tread cautiously around the countries Brits can travel to without the imposition of onerous restrictions upon their return.

To help you understand the ongoing chaos a little better, our award-winning travel team is gathering together to put on an exclusive virtual event in which the latest advice will be discussed and as many of your travel questions as possible will be answered.

Our experts – travel editor Cathy Adams and travel correspondent Simon Calder – will be on hand for an hour to break down everything from the rules around travel to specific countries to the latest advice and tips on booking a UK holiday for your summer break.

More details on how to sign up here:

Which Covid test do I need for travel?

09:19 , Cathy Adams

If you’re planning a summer holiday this year, you’ll need to think about Covid testing – whether for the outbound journey, or when you return to the UK.

Alongside the testing involved in travelling to a “green” or a”amber” country, each individual country has its own stipulations for arrivals. There are myriad hoops travellers must jump through, including pre-departure and post-arrival coronavirus tests taken within a certain timeframe.

The number and type of tests travellers need to get – both before and after travel – depends on the country they’re visiting. Each destination has its own requirements for entry, while the restrictions for those returning to the UK will vary depending on whether the country they’re arriving from is red, amber or green.

Helen Coffey has the full download on travel testing here:

Spain reimposes PCR test requirement for unvaccinated Britons

08:59 , Cathy Adams

British tourists travelling to Spain will now need to present negative PCR test or proof of vaccination to visit.

The change is expected to come into effect on Friday 2 July after being signed into law today.

The move is in response to concerns over the Delta variant.

Read more details here:

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