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Spain 'on verge of amber-plus list', but France could move to quarantine-free travel
28 July 2021, 13:40 | Updated: 28 July 2021, 13:51
Spain could move to the 'amber-plus' travel list when the traffic light system is updated next week, while France is expected to return to amber, multiple reports suggest.
The two major European holiday destinations could see a switch in fortunes, with Spain replacing France on the 'amber-plus' list, which requires even those who are fully vaccinated to quarantine for 10 days on arrival back into the UK.
France was only added to the amber-plus list just over a week ago, after the government created a new category at the last minute amidst concerns over the Beta Covid-19 variant first found in South Africa.
Sources told the Daily Mail that the "Department of Health are getting very jumpy about the number of Beta cases in parts of [Spain]. We’re not talking about the main tourist hotspots, but that might not make any difference – it didn’t with France.”
Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that mainland Spain as well as the Balearic Islands are at risk of being downgraded.
The next update to the traffic light system is expected to be announced on August 4 or 5, with the changes coming into force on August 9.
However, The Guardian claims ministers will discuss Spain at a meeting on Wednesday, suggesting a decision could come sooner.
The amber-plus list has been heavily criticised by the travel industry, with EasyJet chief Johan Lungren telling LBC's Nick Ferrari "that has to go very rapidly and it should never have been introduced".
Asked whether this new list was an example of UK "playing politics", Mr Lungren replied: "Something was being played but it was not following data or science, that's for sure.
"The UK still sits among the highest in the world: 740 cases, last time I looked, per 100,000. France would be down at the 100 levels and Beta cases, they represent now less than 2.5%."
But the changes to the travel list are not the only change to the border policy in the coming days.
On Wednesday ministers agreed to open England's borders to allow double-jabbed US and EU travellers to enter without quarantining - although this not expected to apply to Spain if it is added to the amber-plus list.
Currently only UK residents who have been fully vaccinated are permitted to avoid quarantine on entry to the UK, this is despite many EU countries recognising UK vaccinated travellers.
Ahead of the meeting of ministers, in an exclusive interview with LBC, the Prime Minister hinted that this easing of the rules would go ahead.
"We want people to be able to come from the US freely in a way that they normally do," he said. "We’re talking to them the whole time.
"At the moment we’re dealing with a Delta wave, the US is dealing with a Delta wave, but be assured that we are on it the whole time. As soon as we have something to say about travel corridors you’ll be hearing from us."