The Malta Independent 5 August 2021, Thursday

Britons fear airport queues as UK government mulls relaxing restrictions for vaccinated travellers

Friday, 18 June 2021, 20:05 Last update: about 3 months ago

Britons are fearing massive queues at airports and the overwhelming of the country’s border force as the UK government mulls relaxing travel restrictions for fully vaccinated people.

The Daily Mail reported on Friday that critics believe that queues could stretch for as long as seven hours as more people travel and as checks on evidence of vaccination increase.

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British holidaymakers who have received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine could be given the green light to fly to nearly 170 countries from next month under new government plans.

Those who are fully vaccinated would need provide evidence via the NHS app at border controls and then be able to enjoy trips to amber list nations without having to isolate for 10 days upon returning home.

Malta is one of 168 countries on the UK’s amber list, which currently means that travellers would need to self-isolate for 10 days upon their return to the UK from the country.

Malta’s exclusion from the UK’s green list was a blow for the tourism industry, which has now shifted its attention to other markets such as central and northern Europe: Air Malta in fact outright cancelled their summer flights to Manchester and reduced flights to London Heathrow airport in favour of more flights to France and the Netherlands.

Plans to reduce travel restrictions for those who are fully vaccinated however could serve as a beacon of hope for a hard-hit industry.

It remains to be seen, however, whether the UK’s Border Force can cope with an influx in travellers.

The under-fire agency was widely criticised over chaotic scenes at Heathrow earlier this year - when travel was heavily-restricted - when passengers had to queue for up to seven hours to get through passport control and at least one passenger collapsed.

The Home Office last week insisted though that steps have been taken to reduce wait times for those entering the country, including upgrades to e-gates and to technology at the border.

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