• Quote: ‘During July 1-21, 2,065 people arriving in Britain from Spain tested positive for Covid-19’

By Andrew Atkinson

Fears have risen that Spain could be forced onto the UK’s Covid-19 quarantine red list – that could affect 1 million-plus UK holidaymakers this summer.

The number of people testing positive for Covid – after returning from Spain in the UK – has risen almost six-fold in the last month, according to figures released on August 13.

Around one-in-35, 2.9% of those entering Britain from traffic light amber list rated Spain in July tested positive, up from 0.9 per cent in June.

The number of those tested has doubled.

The test and trace figures show during July 1-21, the latest period for which numbers are available, 2,065 people arriving in Britain from Spain tested positive for coronovirus, out of 71,418 tests undertaken.

In the prior period from June 10 – 30, there were  358 positive results, from 39,563 tests.

Since July people who have had two vaccines have been allowed to visit amber list countries – without quarantining when they return to the UK.

UK Ministers can alter Spain’s amber traffic light status – and put it on the red list – if concerns increase. However, the next review is due on 26 August and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has guaranteed he will not make any changes to the current list before then.

A decision on whether to impose tighter restrictions on Spain at that point will be taken on the basis of the latest data analysed by the Joint Biosecurity Centre.

The red list is targeted at countries which are seen to pose a high risk of allowing dangerous new variants to spread through the UK, as happened with the Delta strain after it was imported from India.

If Spain was to enter the UK red list, visitors would have to isolate in hotels upon return for 10 days, at a cost of up to £2,250.

Even though the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is currently recommending that people should not be travelling to Spain the hotel sector has just enjoyed it’s busiest weekend of the year with virtually all resort hotels recording occupancy of between 80 and 95%.

The data from Alicante-Elche Miguel Hernández airport is also encouraging with 1,027 flights scheduled between Friday and Monday the 16th, so 160,000 tourists are expected to move through the terminal, with aircraft flying at 75% of their capacity.

José María Caballé, president of the Servigroup hotel chain is very optimistic, saying that “summer has seen a gradual improvement and I think that if on the 26 August the United Kingdom keeps us in amber or even moves us to green, it is possible that British tourists will return in September. However, things have already started to get better.

Main image: During July 1-21, 2,065 people arriving in Britain from Spain tested positive for Covid-19. Torrevieja beach full to capacity. Photo: Andrew Atkinson