Spain could follow France onto amber plus list with quarantine exemption axed

The quarantine exemption for fully vaccinated holidaymakers returning to the UK from Spain could soon be scrapped, an analyst has warned (Nick Ansell/PA) (PA Archive)
16:09pm, Fri 30 Jul 2021
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Ministers could scrap the quarantine exemption for fully vaccinated UK holidaymakers returning from Spain, an analyst has warned.

Data expert Tim White believes the Government may announce next week that the country will be added to the amber plus list.

This is due to NHS Test and Trace figures showing that 2.9% of people arriving in England from Spain between July 1 and 21 tested positive for coronavirus.

I cannot see Spain being put on red, but realistically amber plus is likely, and likely for the islands of Spain, too, because of the very high infection rates

Mr White said: “More worryingly for Spain is that 3% of the samples had a variant not widespread in UK.

“So, from the data, my analysis is bleak.”

He described the decision on Spain’s status as a “huge call” for Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

Spain is the UK’s most popular tourist destination.

“I cannot see Spain being put on red, but realistically amber plus is likely, and likely for the islands of Spain, too, because of the very high infection rates,” Mr White added.

Spain is currently on the amber list, which means fully vaccinated travellers returning to the UK do not have to self-isolate for 10 days.

Moving to amber plus would remove the quarantine exemption.

France is the only country currently in that tier, but there is speculation it will be promoted back to amber when the Government updates the travel lists on August 5.

Changes are likely to be implemented on the following Monday.

All travellers entering the UK from green list locations do not have to self-isolate, while those returning from a red list country must enter a quarantine hotel at a cost of £1,750 for solo travellers.

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said he does not believe Spain’s status will be changed in the short-term as the Government wants to “move away from amber plus” following criticism at the creation of the tier.

The number of coronavirus infections in Spain is “flatlining at the moment and starting to reduce a little bit”, Mr Charles told the PA news agency.

“That could be a sign that things are starting to improve.

“I think it would be a very brazen Government that would tell a million British tourists in Spain at the moment, and the Balearics, that they would have to quarantine on their way back.

“It would be a really tough decision. I can’t believe they’re going to do that.”

Mr Charles also predicted that the green list will be expanded, with potential additions including Bosnia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia and Slovenia.

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