UK hotel quarantine 'won't make much difference' says Calder
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Holidays are off the cards for now, but with some travel experts from the Association of Independent Tour Operators predicting holidays could be back on “by May”, some people are beginning to question the current hotel quarantine rule. This is an added concern for Spain, which not only borders “high risk” Portugal but has also detected a number of foreign variant cases in recent weeks.
Currently, Portugal is on the UK’s “high risk” list, meanwhile travel between Portugal and Spain is banned.
However, even with tightened restrictions, local media in Spain reports a number of cases of international variants being detected which have not come from travel.
The first case of local contagion of the South African variant was discovered in Catalonia last week.
“It was entirely foreseeable that cases would start to appear,” Federico García, the microbiology head of service at Granada’s San Cecilio Hospital, told El Pais.
“Spain has established very few controls at the borders in terms of quarantines or PCR [test] requests.
“If we haven’t found it before it’s because we haven’t been looking for it.”
As a result of new variants beginning to spread in other countries, the UK’s Secretary of State for Health has said he is “up for strengthening” the current restrictions.
This likely means adding more nations to the list in the coming weeks and months while the quarantine hotel rule remains active.
Previously, travel expert Paul Charles advised Britons to “keep an eye” on Spain.
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He hinted it could be one of the next nations on the Government’s “high risk” list.
Previously, he had predicted the nation would be added to the list in the February 4 “weekly review”.
Though this prediction did not come to fruition, in a tweet he warned: “The red zone is shrinking and the amber zone growing.
“#Spain still second despite case falls.”
Already, this is causing concern for hopeful travellers.
One Twitter user said: “So you are vaccinated and go on holiday to say Greece or Spain in June.
During this time the UK Government puts these countries on its red zone list, do you have to quarantine for 10 days in a hotel and pay £1750?”
Another added: “This is the problem we are all facing. The uncertainty.
“I am guessing most people won’t book unless there is a massive improvement in the number of cases. Going to be a quiet year I think. It’s so hard for those with businesses that rely on tourists.”
However, others were keen to see Spain added to the “red list”.
“Why does the list of countries for which COVID hotel quarantine is mandated not map to those with the highest rates?” wrote one Twitter user.
“Spain for example is a glaring omission.
“So what is the rationale for leaving a popular holiday destination off the list?”
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