France and Germany are expected to renew their attempts to force British tourists to quarantine when visiting anywhere in Europe.
French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were last week thwarted in their bid to instil a Europe-wide rule for people flying to the bloc from Britain.
But this week’s coronavirus meeting will be the first time European officials have gathered since last week’s summit and it is believed French and German officials may use the event to pile more pressure on the rest of the EU to align with them in a bid to combat the spread of the delta variant.
As of June 30, the only European locations on the UK Government “green list” will be Malta, Gibraltar, Faroe Islands, and Iceland.
The Balearic Islands of Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca, as well as Madeira, have been added to the green “watch” list.
However, mere hours after the announcement of the new green list, the Maltese government announced mandatory 14-day quarantine for unvaccinated Britons wanting to visit.
As it stands, each EU state is free to impose its own restrictions on travellers arriving from abroad, something the French and German authorities are keen to remedy.
Angela Merkel, speaking on Thursday, said: “In our country, if you come from Great Britain, you have to go into quarantine – and that’s not the case in every European country, and that is what I would like to see.”
Ms Merkel will visit Chequers on Friday where it is expected Boris Johnson will urge her to reconsider her stance and not force through a blanket ban on Britons.
A No 10 spokesman said the pair will discuss "deepening the UK-German relationship and the global response to the coronavirus pandemic".
Mr Macron believes that if the EU does not unite and adopt a cohesive approach to international travel restrictions it could jeopordise its EU green pass, a vaccine passport system which enables travel between member states.
Where is the Indian (Delta) variant in the UK?
However, there is stiff resistance from countries more dependent on tourism who do not possess the economical might of the French-German dyad.
On Friday, Spain and Greece rebuffed the idea of turning the UK into a Covid-19 leper.
"Regarding the delta variant, in my intervention I said that we should not adopt a logic of new restrictions but, on the contrary, accelerate the vaccinations," said Kyraikos Mitsotakis, prime minister of Greece.
“Malta and Spain are being a bit more lenient maybe than some other member states but that is up to them, they can do that,” said Mark Rutte, prime minister of the Netherlands.
The European wariness of UK tourists centres around the increasing case numbers in the UK and the ubiquitous prevalence of the delta variant.
Delta, which was first identified in India, is around 60 per cent more transmissible than the alpha (Kent) variant, and accounts for almost all UK cases.
Vaccines have been found to be effective against delta and scientists are increasingly convinced jabs have broken the link between cases, hospitalisations and deaths.
The most recent data from Public Health England, for example, estimates two doses of a vaccine offers 96 per cent protection from hospitalisation with Covid-19.
However, the UK’s vaccine rollout is one of the best in the world, and Europe lags far behind.
Covid variants in the UK – key dates
Official statistics show more than 60 per cent of adults in the UK are now fully vaccinated, and five out of every six adults (84 per cent) have had at least one dose.
For the Balearics however, one of the destinations on the UK green list, only 30 per cent of adults are double vaccinated.
Prof Sir Peter Horby, the co-discoverer of the world’s only Covid-19 treatments and head of Nervtag, the Sage sub-committee, said on Sunday that it is inevitable the delta variant will spread through Europe.
“[Delta] will be very difficult to control and so I think we will see it spreading in Europe, unfortunately," he said.
Delta first emerged in the UK in early April after travel was not banned from India, where the variant first emerged and triggered a ghastly wave of Covid-19 deaths.
Portugal was added to the UK’s green list on May 17, and now, delta is dominant in Portugal. Portugal was removed from the green list on June 8 and is now on the amber list, and any visitors returning from Portugal must quarantine for ten days.