The chances of Spain being added to the red list at the upcoming travel review
Travel experts have said key European holiday destinations like Spain, France, Portugal and Greece will not be added to the red list at the upcoming travel review.
There had been fears Spain would turn red following a rise in cases last month, and data showing more than one in 35 travellers arriving in Britain from Spain were found to have the virus.
However, infections are now dropping again, and Spain looks set to remain on the amber list, meaning people who have received both doses of the vaccine do not need to quarantine after arriving from Spain.
When is the next travel review?
The Department for Transport said: “These regular review points will allow the Government to balance helping the public to understand Covid requirements when travelling to England while allowing us to constantly evaluate the risk for different countries.”
The most recent review came on Wednesday 4 August, meaning we can expect the next one on Wednesday 25 August.
Any changes are likely to come into effect from 4am on Sunday 29 August.
The system is based on the following criteria:
- The percentage of a country’s population that have been vaccinated
- The rate of infection
- Prevalence of variants of concern
- The country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing
There are currently four traffic light categories.
Green: arrivals must take a pre-departure test three days before returning to the UK, as well as a PCR test on or before day two of their return. They do not have to quarantine unless their test is positive, and there is no requirement for additional tests.
Green watchlist: The same rules apply as for the green list, but countries on this list are “at risk of moving from green to amber”, potentially without much warning.
Amber: all travellers are required to take a pre-departure test three days before returning as well as a PCR test on or before day two of their return. Travellers who are not fully vaccinated must also self-isolate for 10 days and take a second PCR test on day eight of their return. An optional day-five test can be taken, with a negative result allowing travellers to “test out” of quarantine, but the day-eight test must still be taken regardless of the result.
Red: arrivals must undertake a 10-day quarantine in a managed hotel at a cost of £2,285 per solo adult (with more charges for additional people sharing a room) as well as pre-departure testing, and mandatory PCR testing on or before day two and on or after day eight.
Could Spain be added to the red list?
Travel expert Tim White told i that all the mainstream European destinations look set to remain on the amber list.
“For those worried about their destinations turning red, I don’t think there are many worries for usual tourist destinations,” he said.
“I very much doubt any EU destination will be affected. So Greece, Spain and their islands, Cyprus, Portugal etc are all expected to stay amber with the Beta variant almost squeezed out now.”
Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said there was “no chance” of Spain being moved into the red list.
“Its infection rate is dropping fast, meaning any variants are very much under control,” he said.
“Spain’s rates are half those of France and its vaccine rate is 65 per cent fully jabbed. British tourists there can rest easy.”
Scott Hadden, director of Mark Bratt Travel, also told i he thought it was unlikely that Spain would move into the red list.
“There are far too many people in Spain to be put into hotel quarantine and I think the government would not want to risk the collapse of that system,” he said.
Just shy of 24,000 people tested positive for Covid-19 in Spain on Monday 23 August. Its seven-day infection rate is 159 per 100,000 people, well below the UK’s rate of 342.
Spain’s vaccination figures have also shot up, and its share of fully jabbed people is among the world’s highest
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