Gibraltar has introduced a simplified system for international travel in line with updated UK rules that also came into effect this week.
According to the Gibraltarian government, the current “traffic light system” has (from 4 October) been replaced by a single red list of countries and territories, “which will continue to be crucial in order to protect public health”.
The day-five lateral flow test no longer applies, but the requirement to have a lateral flow test within 24 hours of arrival for those over 12 years of age remains.
The arrival test is now subject to a cost of £25 (for GHA card holders, Gibraltar residents, and individuals who are registered Gibraltarian – either by birth or naturalisation) and £30 for all others.
Air passengers are still required to complete the passenger locator form and upload evidence of their fully vaccinated status or negative COVID-19 test result (as applicable). The current measures remain in force for those traveling from a red list country.
Passengers have been advised to check travel guidance before, during and after travelling so they can stay up to date with entry requirements and ensure compliance with the latest COVID-19 protocols. A detailed explanation of the new requirements is available here.
“We have simplified the travel rules to make them easier to understand and follow and in line with the UK changes,” said minister for civil contingencies Samantha Sacramento. “Public health has always been at the heart of our international travel policy; (the) changes provide a simpler, more straightforward system. One with less testing.”
The announcement coincided with news that chief minister Fabian Picardo had tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from an official trip to the United Kingdom. His wife, who travelled with him, tested negative.
The government reported that Mr Picardo was asymptomatic and his condition was detected in the PCR taken within 24 hours after arrival from the UK. As a result of that outcome, he was required to self-isolate at home.
“I feel perfectly well and have come home as required by the Contact Tracing Bureau,” he said. “ I know this is an important time for Gibraltar, so, to an extent, I am happy to have got the disease now so that I am able, hopefully, to continue to deal with the negotiations to come on the UK/EU Treaty in Gibraltar’s future relationship with the EU.”
Eastern Airlines Postpones Schedule Until Spring
Meanwhile, Eastern Airways has announced that it will cancel its services from Gibraltar to Southampton from 11 October, and suspend flights to Birmingham from 14 October until spring 2022. The airline had introduced both new routes in May this year.
General manager Roger Hage said, “It has been a difficult decision to take but all airlines are adjusting their flying programs depending on the demand into winter. COVID restrictions have made this even more unpredictable. We also have to ensure the sustainability implications and act responsibly to ensure the routes to Gibraltar work long-term. Adopting a seasonal approach this year achieves this and ensures long-term considerations apply. We will continue to work proactively with the Gibraltar government on the summer schedule for 2022.”
Responding to the announcement, Gibraltar tourism minister Vijay Daryanani said, while the news was disappointing, the wider context was crucial. “Eastern Airways want to come back next summer. They need to protect their finances like any other business and I back their judgement. Having said this, our capacity for the winter months is excellent as British Airways has agreed to increase flights. This means we actually have more seats to the UK even after this suspension. I will continue working with Eastern Airways and look forward to welcoming them back in the summer.”