Britain's government has not yet decided whether to include Malta on its ‘air bridge’ list of countries which will be exempt from a 14-day quarantine for incoming travellers.

The British High Commission in Malta said the matter was still under review and government-to-government negotiations are still under way.

Britain currently requires all incoming travellers to spend 14 days in quarantine upon arrival, but is planning to loosen those restrictions through an 'air bridge' system.

The system will classify countries in one of three categories - green, amber or red - according to how well they are judged to have controlled the coronavirus. 

Travellers coming from countries classified as 'green' or 'amber' will not need to spend 14 days in quarantine upon arriving in the UK, according to the BBC

Britain is expected to announce its initial list of 'air bridge' countries later this week. 

Adding Malta to the list would be boon to UK nationals living in Malta, who make up the country's single-largest foreign population. But it would also incentivise British tourists to visit Malta, as they would not be forced into quarantine after returning from their holiday.  

Malta will reopen its borders on Wednesday, although the UK does not feature among an initial list of countries where flights will be permitted from.

MHRA presses for inclusion

Meanwhile, the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association is pressing hard and providing all the necessary support to the Tourism Ministry and the Malta Tourism Authority to get the island on the UK’s safe-travel countries list.

While it is not involved in the government-to-government negotiations, MHRA president Tony Zahra said that if the decision is taken on the basis of health and Malta’s success in containing the coronavirus when compared to other countries, the country should be green-lighted. 

“If there is something else we do not know about, they should explain to us what it is,” Zahra added.

He said the ministry and the MTA were doing their utmost to have Malta on the list, but added that, being a small country, the island’s political pull may not be as strong as larger ones.

However, Zahra also played down the situation, saying that if Malta were to be excluded from the ‘air bridge’, it was “not forever”, and that scenario was “not a disaster but a setback”.

Thanks to diversification in the past, the British market today represents 30 per cent – a figure that is the result of the growth of other countries and not a reduction of numbers from the UK, he pointed out.

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