Caribbean islands ‘expected to be added to green list next month’

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A host of Caribbean islands will likely be added to the government’s “green list” without quarantine next month.

Nations that could be added in June are the “ near misses ” for Friday’s list of just 12 countries and territories, the Telegraph reported.

Caribbean islands such as Antigua, Barbuda, Saint Kitts and Nevis report infection rates close to zero.

Another territory likely to be added to the updated list is the British Virgin Islands, which have seen just 216 infections and one death since the start of the pandemic.

It comes as figures show less than 1% of arrivals from European holiday hotspots such as Greece, Spain and Italy test positive for Covid.

Analysis of NHS test and trace data by the Mail reveals that around 0.8% of arrivals from Greece in the last four weeks have tested positive for the virus.

The figure for Spain was 0.7%, Italy 0.4% and Portugal 0.6%.

But despite similar rates, Portugal was the only major European hotspot to make the government’s “ green list ” of trips without quarantine last week.

Travel leaders said last night that the figures proved it was safe for ministers to expand the list to include more Europe when holidays abroad resume next Monday.

A host of Caribbean islands will likely be added to the government’s “green list” without quarantine next month. It comes as figures show less than 1% of arrivals from European holiday hotspots such as Greece, Spain and Italy test positive for Covid, according to NHS data. Pictured: Costa Paradiso Beach, Sardinia

Thanks to their low infection and variant rates, Fiji, Cayman Islands, Grenada, Finland and Malta have also reportedly been on a shortlist to be included on Friday’s ‘green list’.

News that only 12 destinations were classified as green when the list was released on Friday sparked a backlash from industry bosses.

Foreign tourism ministers also expressed dismay.

Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theocharis said: “ We consider Greece to be in a very good condition with regard to the outbreak at the moment and every week it is getting better and better. This is what the data shows.

He also criticized British ministers for not treating the Greek Islands, where vaccination rates are higher, differently from the mainland, adding: “Britain could have taken a different approach for these islands.”

Rodi Kratsa, governor of the Ionian Islands region, which includes holiday hotspots Corfu and Zakynthos, said: ‘Britain’s decision not to include Greece in the announced green list and to apply the quarantine to returning travelers to England is unjustifiable.

“Greece has proven its credibility and efficiency in dealing with the pandemic crisis, as has the region of the Ionian Islands, a region popular with British travelers.

“I am sure Britain will change this decision very soon.”

Since February, anyone returning from abroad has been required to take two tests after arriving on days two and eight, while being quarantined at home or in a hotel for ten days.

Travel leaders said the figures proved it was safe for the government (pictured: Boris Johnson) to expand the list to include more Europe when overseas vacations resume next Monday.

Travel leaders said the figures proved it was safe for the government (pictured: Boris Johnson) to expand the list to include more Europe when overseas vacations resume next Monday.

NHS Test and Trace data shows that of 3,823 people who were tested on the second day after arriving from Spain between March 26 and April 22, the latest period available, only 26 tested positive.

Of 3,036 people who traveled from Italy, 13 tested positive, while five of the 635 arrivals from Greece had the virus.

Out of 501 arrivals from Portugal, three tested positive.

The data provides an overview of the risk of importing infection from each country, which also has similar vaccination rates.

EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said: ‘We don’t believe the government’s decision to limit the green list to so few countries is warranted and this evidence from the Mail shows that even in times of high Covid in Europe travel was a source of a few cases.

“With the enormous success of the vaccination program which is being used to open up the national economy, there is no reason why Britons should be denied the right to travel on their favorite vacation this summer.”

The criticism came when it emerged that the free NHS lateral flow tests might not be approved for holidaymakers to take abroad with them.

Figures show less than 1% of arrivals from European holiday hotspots such as Greece, Spain and Italy test positive for Covid

Figures show less than 1% of arrivals from European holiday hotspots such as Greece, Spain and Italy test positive for Covid

This would mean travelers would have to fork out for a pre-departure test before returning to the UK.

The ministers had offered to give travelers quick tests to take with them to reduce the hassle and costs of setting up one in a foreign country.

But sources said there were concerns about testing validation and accuracy.

A government spokesperson said last night: ‘We have taken a cautious approach to our green travel list to protect the country and our vaccination campaign from the threat of Covid-19 variants.

“The decision to add countries to the red, orange or green lists is taken jointly by ministers, informed by the latest scientific data and public health advice and taking into account a series of factors.”

NHS DATA

GREEN

Portugal

  • Arrivals tested: 501
  • Positive: 3
  • Infected rate: 0.6%

Gibraltar

  • Tested: 196
  • Positive:
  • Infected rate: N / A

AMBER

Netherlands

  • Tested: 712
  • Positive: 10
  • Infected rate: 1.4%

France

  • Tested: 2589
  • Positive: 21
  • Infected rate: 0.8%

Greece

  • Tested: 635
  • Positive: 5
  • Infected rate: 0.8%

Spain

  • Tested: 3823
  • Positive: 26
  • Infected rate: 0.7%

Italy

  • Tested: 3036
  • Positive: 13
  • Infected rate: 0.4%

Germany

  • Tested: 1539
  • Positive: 6
  • Infected rate: 0.4%

Cyprus

  • Tested: 591
  • Positive:
  • Infected rate: N / A

Austria

  • Tested: 299
  • Positive:
  • Infected rate: N / A

Malta

  • Tested: 123
  • Positive:
  • Infected rate: N / A

Croatia

  • Tested: 87
  • Positive:
  • Infected rate: N / A

* Portugal and Gibraltar go green on May 17th

Source: NHS test and trace

Data refer to the period from March 26 to April 22



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