United Kingdom

Spain could replace France on the travel quarantine list

Spain could replace France on the travel quarantine list next week amid growing concern about cases of the South African variant in the country.

Whitehall sources are increasingly confident that France will be removed from the ‘amber plus’ list, which requires people to self-isolate for ten days on return even if fully vaccinated.

Germany and Austria also look set to move to the travel green list next week, when ministers decide the latest allocations.

But sources played down reports that Italy and Canada would be moved to the safest category.

And one source warned Spain could be placed on the ‘amber plus’ list, potentially leaving hundreds of thousands of British tourists having to quarantine unexpectedly when they return.

Whitehall sources are increasingly confident that France will be removed from the ‘amber plus’ list, which requires people to self-isolate for ten days on return even if fully vaccinated. Pictured, Mahon, the capital city of Menorca in Spain

The move follows concern about the Beta variant, which emerged in South Africa and is thought to be more resistant to the AstraZeneca vaccine given to millions in the UK. A Whitehall source said: ‘The situation in Spain is beginning to feel a lot like the build-up to the decision on France.

Should never have been left out 

‘The Department of Health are getting very jumpy about the number of Beta cases in parts of the country. We’re not talking about the main tourist hotspots, but that might not make any difference – it didn’t with France.’

The shock move to place France in its own category earlier this month wrecked thousands of families’ holidays as well as the plans of many expats hoping to see loved ones for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

The shock move to place France in its own category earlier this month wrecked thousands of families’ holidays. Pictured, a covid testing site by the Eiffel Tower in France

Cases of the Delta variant have fallen sharply in France in recent weeks and ministers are confident it will be restored to the same status as other amber list countries, meaning fully vaccinated travellers will no longer have to quarantine when they return.

One source said: ‘France is going to happen. It should never have been left out in the first place – the Department of Health just panicked. But there could be no justification for keeping restrictions in place now.’

Any move to put Spain on the ‘amber plus’ list is likely to provoke a fierce row within Government. Although there is concern about the Beta variant, many experts believe it is being ‘crowded out’ by the more virulent Delta variant now spreading rapidly across Spain.

No curbs for US visitors – but America won’t let us in 

By Daniel Martin Policy Editor

Ministers are set to rubber-stamp proposals to allow more double-jabbed tourists into the UK – amid growing frustration at the US for refusing to do the same.

Senior Cabinet members will meet today to discuss the reciprocal deal with the EU to allow residents into Britain without quarantine.

They also plan to allow US citizens in quarantine-free, even though there is no sign the US intends to do the same for us.

Officials hope it will be seen as a goodwill gesture that will encourage the country to respond in kind. Yesterday, policing minister Kit Malthouse told Sky News it was ‘disappointing’ that the US still had no plans to loosen travel restrictions across the Atlantic because of the Delta variant. 

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