The government could, for the second summer in succession, introduce an island policy for international travel, transport secretary Grant Shapps has said.
Appearing on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Wednesday (26 May), Shapps was quizzed on comments made by aviation and maritime minister Robert Courts last week, intimating the government’s Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) could consider popular island destinations such as the Canaries, Balearics and Greece’s islands independently of their respective mainlands – as it did last year.
Independent MP Margaret Ferrier asked Courts whether the Department for Transport’s traffic light system would include an island policy "to reopen routes to relatively low-risk regions of nations as was implemented in summer 2020", to which Courts responded: "The government will take an island approach for border measures where possible."
He also reiterated the traffic light system would be reviewed, and any changes implemented, every three weeks, "unless concerning evidence means we need to act faster to protect public health".
Last summer, island destinations tended to have lower rates of Covid infection than their mainlands, with some island tourism leaders, and national governments, claiming it was unfair that they were initially penalised by source markets such as the UK owing to spikes in infection hundreds of miles away.