There were fears there would not be enough hotel rooms for Brits to quarantine in if Spain were to become a red-listed country – but it has been reported it will stay off the list
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Brit travellers returning from Spain will be spared a punishing stint in hotel quarantine after Beta variant cases fell, it has been reported.
The popular tourist destination will not be put into the ‘red list’ of foreign travel destinations and will instead remain amber.
This means that fully vaccinated Brits will not need to quarantine on their return to England, so long as they have been given two doses of a Covid jab.
The 10-day quarantine in place for France for those who have been fully vaccinated, will also be lifted, say reports.
There are said to be fears there would not be enough hotel rooms for Brits to quarantine in if Spain were to become a red-listed country.
The Department for Health is reported to have struggled to sign new contracts with hotels as a result of a soaring demand from tourists.
And ministers are said to be backtracking on concerns over the Beta variant, which make up of a small per cent of cases in France and Spain.
Government insiders told The Times that the hotel quarantine policy would not be sustainable if Spain was added to the red list of countries.
A Whitehall source said: “Spain won’t be going on the amber watchlist — the only danger is it going red but that’s very unlikely.
“Cases are coming down. And they haven’t got enough beds to quarantine everybody. So it’s not going to happen.”
Meanwhile, as many as 10 countries are set to be added to the green list when the travel restrictions are refreshed.
Destinations in the green category will permit all travellers to dodge quarantine on their return, not just those who have had two vaccine doses.
These countries are likely to include Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania and Poland.
The Joint Biosecurity Centre is responsible for deciding which country goes on which list.
It looks at a variety of factors including variants in the country, Covid case and vaccination rates, how good that country is at genomic sequencing and how good the overall data in the country is.
There are currently 60 countries on the UK’s red travel list – the most restrictive category.
It comes after reports that ministers had been preparing to introduce a new sixth category to the system – ‘amber watchlist’ – which would have signalled to holidaymakers when a country faced the threat of being shifted onto the red list at short notice.
But amid a backlash from the under-pressure travel industry and frustrated Tory backbenchers, the Government has binned the “confusing” idea.
Brits will get an update this week on which countries are safe for travel and which aren’t in the latest review of the traffic light system.