26 May 2022

Opinion from Adrian Leopard & Co

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Malta’s stance is most definitely an unfriendly act. Bravo to Guernsey!
Adrian Leopard 277

Malta’s stance is most definitely an unfriendly act. Bravo to Guernsey!

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A new era is starting today to facilitate international travel, but not quite everywhere

As restrictions start to be lifted, new controls come into force to attempt to control the spread of coronavirus but it is not as simple as it might sound.

With effect from today the EU is starting to roll out its vaccine passport, the digital covid certificate. This is free to anyone residing in the EU and is universally accepted throughout the EU and some other countries, namely Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Lichenstein. Of course the UK is not part of that group any more and is having to design its own version of the passport which so far it has done via the NHS app, and very efficient it is too. The certificates are protected by QR codes showing their authenticity, just like the EU version.

However, its efficiency has been limited by the announcement from Malta that the UK certificate is not acceptable in digital form, either via a mobile phone or even a downloaded version of the certificate. Malta insists that it will accept only a paper version issued by the NHS, even though the information is exactly the same.

At a time when everyone is doing their best to organise certification for people who have had their vaccinations, this is an extremely unfriendly and unhelpful move from Malta, a country one would never have associated with such a move designed to put British people to inconvenience and, as it turns out, significant financial loss and personal upset.

What has happened is that holiday makers enthused by the fact that Malta is on the green list have gone to catch their flights only to be turned away on the grounds that they do not have the correct “piece of paper”. And to get a certificate on paper is expected to take some five days.

What is Malta playing at? This is incredible discrimination and hurts the general public, the very people who are proposing to go there and spend their money with Maltese businesses. Moreover, Malta says that children aged 12 – 17 who have not been vaccinated cannot go – period. As children of that age are not being vaccinated in the UK at the moment, that is effectively an outright ban.

It is by no means clear whether the paper form will be required by other countries; some have agreed to accept the NHS app certificate but what is clear is that if you are planning to go to Europe, you need to check the situation out well in advance of your departure so that you can obtain the paper version if you need it – that is by calling 119. But beware, these certificates have a 30 day validity only and while this is not an issue so far as the app is concerned, getting a paper version now will not help you in the middle of August - so no point in everyone rushing to the telephone just at the moment. But it would appear that Greece is okay with it so why not shelve Malta and wait for Greece to get on the green list?

Also today the Bailiwick of Guernsey has relaxed its requirements. Now as long as you can prove you have been double vaccinated, subject to having a travel tracker record and demonstrating that you have been vaccinated, you can enter the Bailiwick without the need to quarantine. You can do the same in reverse as well so travelling there and back has now become a whole lot easier. We are advised that the NHS app certification is acceptable. Thank goodness some common sense is being applied somewhere.

It is a certainty now that getting vaccinated is going to open doors and gates as countries the world over start to gear themselves up to accept the documentation.

Adrian Leopard 01-07-21

Photo Matt Artz

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Adrian Leopard & Company is the trading name of Alderney Offshore Ltd, a company registered in Alderney, Channel Islands number 1220.

Address P O Box 1027, Alderney GY9 3AS

Registered Office Seldomin, Longis Road, Alderney GY9 3YB.

Adrian Leopard & Co is represented in the UK by 3CL (UK) Ltd trading as Adrian Leopard Associates.

Telephone enquiries may be made on 08449-4-08449 or 01684-230360.

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