HHolidaymakers who booked trips to Malta have seen their plans unfold in chaos as the country does not accept the NHS app as proof of vaccination.
But authorities in the central Mediterranean archipelago revealed on Monday that they would only accept printed letters sent by the NHS as proof.
This means that tourists planning to use the NHS app to demonstrate their status risk being turned away at UK airports or at the Malta border, even if they are fully vaccinated.
The UK government’s website says the letters are expected to take “up to five working days” to be delivered.
Several concerned people have sent Twitter messages to the British High Commission in Malta saying the policy means their trips cannot go as planned.
Mark Holland, from Hove, East Sussex, wrote: “I’m traveling in less than three days and I don’t have time to ask for a letter. “
Children aged 5 to 11 can travel if they are accompanying their fully immunized parents or legal guardians and must show proof of a negative PCR test performed within 72 hours of arrival.
No test is required for children under five.
The requirement for arrivals to the UK for people aged 12 to 17 to be fully vaccinated is in fact an outright ban as the UK does not vaccinate anyone under the age of 18.
Katie Crookshank, from London, wrote to the High Commission: “We have a 12 year old daughter who is upset because she can no longer be a bridesmaid in August.
She continued: “Malta’s reputation as a family island is being damaged. Why can’t they be tested by PCR? “
British High Commissioner to Malta Cathy Ward replied that she was “very sorry to hear about this”.
She added that Maltese authorities have said that “the advice regarding adolescents is due to the fact that the virus is now spreading the fastest in this age group and they are concerned about the spread of the Delta variant” .
There has been an increase in demand for vacations in Malta, the Spanish Balearic Islands, Madeira in Portugal and a number of Caribbean destinations after the UK government announced last week that they would be relocated to the list of green trips Wednesday at 4 am.
The change means people arriving in the UK from these locations no longer need to self-quarantine at home for 10 days.
Price comparison website TravelSupermarket said Malta had gone from 17th most popular country among package holiday customers to number five after the announcement.
In other travel news, family vacations to Portugal are back after authorities dropped its requirement for a quarantine policy for children.
In a surprising turnaround, the country reversed its decision to isolate children over 12 for 14 days.
Portugal had previously said only those who received a double hit would be allowed entry. This has prevented British families from spending their holidays there as the UK does not vaccinate those under 18.
However, last night the country announced that those under the age of 18 traveling with a fully vaccinated parent or guardian would be exempt from the rule.
Instead, children aged 12 and over must show proof of a negative Covid test while those under 12 are totally exempt.