The British Minister of Transport, Grant Shapps, confirmed this Thursday that, as of July 19, residents of the British Isles who are vaccinated with the full schedule will not have to keep a mandatory 10-day quarantine upon their return from a country. that is in the amber list. Most of the British favorite tourist destinations, including Spain, were in this classification. In addition, the UK Government will withdraw its official recommendation to avoid traveling to these places for tourist reasons.
The Spanish sector faces a key moment of its peak season in the coming weeks and has been on a roller coaster of emotions for days. This Thursday, for example, he woke up to the message of the French Government that advises its citizens against traveling to Spain due to the advance of the delta variant and the fear of new restrictions on international mobility grew.
The decision of the Government of Boris Johnson was almost taken for granted a few days ago, and represents an oxygen balloon for Spain, since until now all its territory – except the Balearic Islands – was included in the amber list. In addition, the United Kingdom (main source market, in 2019 18 million British visited Spain) already has half of its population with the complete vaccine. However, the increase in the accumulated incidence in Spain (this Thursday it reached 252 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days) and the presence of the delta variant put it in doubt.
The change currently only affects citizens residing in the United Kingdom, and who have therefore received their two doses of immunization through the vaccination campaign of the National Health Service (NHS, in its acronym in English). London has not yet concluded with Brussels a system of mutual recognition of its immunization certificates. It is foreseeable that it will happen in the near future, and Minister Shapps has explained that the process will be carried out in several phases, with the purpose of opening the doors of the United Kingdom to fully vaccinated visitors from Europe or the United States. “It is logical that we maintain a prudent posture, to protect public health and the vaccination campaign as our main priorities,” said the minister, “to be able to ensure that the return to international travel is sustainable.” Despite this, it will continue to be mandatory, before embarking on the return trip, to carry out a PCR, as well as another on arrival, on the second day. Children under 18 years of age traveling with adults will also be exempt from mandatory quarantine.
Almost 500 million weekly at stake
Spain plays 483 million a week during July and 495 million a week in August with the arrival of the British. That was what was entered by travelers from the United Kingdom during July and August 2019, before the blow of the pandemic, according to calculations by Exceltur, with data from INE and the Bank of Spain. The Tourism and International Travel Council, for its part, has calculated the losses of the United Kingdom’s tourism sector at 740 million euros a day, due to an indecision that led some to predict that the summer campaign had been completely lost.
With the announcement of Shapps, it is confirmed that Downing Street maintains its plan to allow England to return on July 19 to full normality after 16 months of pandemic (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland make their own decisions). A strategy that continues despite the contagions of the delta variant, triggered in the country. This is mainly due to the fact that the rate of hospitalizations or deaths is well below the levels of the wave of infections unleashed last January thanks to the effect of vaccines. In Spain, in at least four Spanish communities, the new strain is already the majority. And the latest report from the Ministry of Health estimates its presence at around 11% of coronavirus cases, although the experts consulted maintain that the actual transmission is higher.
At least with this announcement comes good news for the travel industry. And also for the British, who will return to something similar to pre-pandemic normality as of July 19: the mandatory quarantine will not be mandatory when returning from countries in the amber list Like Spain, they will not have to wear masks indoors in the country and the rule of two meters of social distancing or the limit of people in closed spaces will be abolished and discos, nightclubs and theaters will reopen. The bars and pubs They will be able to serve again at the bar, with which they will see their capacity multiplied.