Heathrow and Gatwick: Fears Spain will join France on new orange quarantine list due to Covid variant
Spain could be placed on a new ‘amber plus’ list, meaning Britons who have been doubly vaccinated will still need to be quarantined amid an increase in the Beta Covid variant.
All arrivals to the UK from France will now have to continue to self-quarantine for 10 days even if they have received two doses of a vaccine and Spain is expected to follow suit.
The news comes after the travel quarantine requirement was removed for all other countries on the ‘orange list’ for returning Britons who have been doubly trapped.
France has been placed on the Plus Amber List due to the continued presence of the South African Beta variant, which is causing an increase in cases across the country.
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The British government is concerned that the strain first identified in South Africa may be more resistant to vaccines.
Spain recorded 162 cases of the beta variant in the week to July 1, representing 8.8% of the sequenced cases reported by the organization GISAID, which monitors the variants of concern.
The increase in cases means Spain could soon be added to the list alongside France and travelers will have to isolate whether or not they are fully vaccinated.
The news will cause additional frustration for vacationers and the travel industry as it struggles to adjust to changes to the traffic light system and what it means for travelers.
Industry body ABTA said the exclusion of France for those returning to England was a further setback for hopes of a “meaningful recovery” for the sector.
While easyJet boss Johan Lundgren added: “The traffic light system is collapsing, the government inventing it as it goes and causing confusion and uncertainty. It is not backed up by science. or transparent data. “
The news will be a blow to the tourism industry in Spain, which has been keen to welcome British tourists again.
Speaking of the impact on the country, travel commentator Paul Charles said: “Any quarantine measure such as the one against Spain would have a major impact on livelihoods and jobs in the travel industry and would cause enormous financial hardship for consumers. “
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the government had always been clear it would take swift action at the borders to “protect the gains made by our successful vaccination program”.