The British have been urged not to travel to Spain after the country opened its doors to British tourists.
Spain has lifted its restrictions on holidaymakers from the UK, but Business Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan has urged people not to go there unless there is an urgent reason.
The country is still on the UK government’s Amber List, meaning people shouldn’t travel unless it’s for essential family or work reasons. Travelers will need to quarantine themselves for 10 days and get tested for the virus upon departure and upon return.
Despite this, Fernando Valdés, Spain’s Tourism Minister, has suggested that Spain could be added to the UK’s green list during the next government review, meaning travelers would not have to isolate themselves at their return to England.
He told Sky News: “What I can say is that at the moment Spain is making a big effort not only in terms of vaccination… but also, we have holiday destinations that are very popular with tourists. like the Balearic Islands, Costa Blanca or Málaga, with our notification rates which are quite low and in the same notification range as the UK, so I have to suspect that in the next review the UK government will be able to provide… l Spain will change its notification. ”
Earlier Monday, Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said the country would be “delighted, very happy to welcome all British tourists”. He said those who come would also be welcome on non-essential trips.
The state of emergency in Spain was lifted on May 9, although curfews remain in some areas.
Trevelyan told Sky News that amber means “please don’t go unless there is an urgent family reason etc.”
“Because we are still trying to move slowly on our roadmap to be able to open on June 21 and we want to do so on a regular and cautious basis,” she said.
She later told Times Radio: “The reality is, at the moment, orange countries still do not meet the criteria for our scientists to say they should be green. So the recommendation remains: don’t leave unless you have to and remember that if you do go you will need to quarantine yourself for 10 days and this will be monitored. ”
The Energy Minister said: “The reason we are asking people not to go is that the risk is still too great for our scientists.”
His words echoed those of Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who said people considering traveling to countries not yet on the green list should have “more patience.”
Those returning from Green List countries will need to take a Covid-19 test before departure and a post-arrival test, but they will not need to self-isolate upon their return.
On Monday, Andrew Pollard, head of the Oxford Vaccination Group at the University of Oxford, said the public health message to get people vaccinated was critical as new variants would spread and evolve among those who do not ‘have not been vaccinated.
“If you are not vaccinated, the virus will find [those] individuals in the population… There is a very important public health message that we need to get this small proportion of unvaccinated people to receive their first dose, ”he said.
Amid concerns about the spread of the variant first detected in India, he added that understanding the effectiveness of vaccinations in reducing hospital admissions is critical to understanding how they respond to newer variants and , ultimately, end the pandemic.
“If the current generation of vaccines are able to prevent people from going to hospitals… then the pandemic is over,” he said.
He added that it was not yet clear whether booster shots would be needed. “We may not need them, but we are in a good position [if we do] because we currently have very effective vaccines, ”he said.