SPAIN’S tourism industry welcomed the British government decision to maintain the amber list status across Spanish territory, allowing those who are fully vaccinated to enter the UK without the need for quarantine.
The changes that were announced by the UK’s Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Wednesday came after weeks of speculation that Spain might be heading for an “amber plus” list or new “amber watchlist”, both scenarios which would seriously deter tourists from visiting.
But instead the current rules as regards travel to the UK from Spain will be maintained until the next review in three weeks.
However, the Department for Transport pointed out that “arrivals from Spain and all its islands are advised to use a PCR test as their pre-departure test wherever possible”.
It said these were recommended over the cheaper lateral flow antigen tests, although didn’t specify what consquences there might be for those who did not follow the recommendation.
“The additional precaution of a PCR test as passengers’ pre-departure test is being recommended for travellers from Spain given the risk to the UK of importation of variants of concern, specifically the B.1.621 and Beta variants, as well as traveller volumes and positivity rates in Spain,” the UK government wrote in a statement.
Previously, travellers heading to the UK from Spain could choose between taking either an antigen or PCR test before departing.
Those who can present proof that they are fully vaccinated will be exempt from quarantine as long as the vaccine is approved by the European Medicines Agency or US Food and Drug Administration.
These include Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson (also known as Janssen).
The rules also state that full immunity was achieved with a Covid-19 vaccine, no later than 14 days before travel.
Other rules are also still in place, including the need to take a test before flying and another on the second day after arrival in the UK.
Those travellers who are over 18 and not fully vaccinated travellers must self-isolate for ten days on arrival (although there is an option for early release with an extra test on day five) as well as a test before travel, and on day two and day eight of quarantine.
The British Embassy pointed out that unlike the EU Covid-19 certificate which recognises the immunity of those who have recently recovered from coronavirus, this is not applicable to those arriving in the UK.
“Please be aware that the UK does not recognise natural immunity for international travel at this time, but this will be kept under review. We know that the EU DCC does enable people to prove natural immunity.
“This is not currently accepted in the UK and quarantine and day 8 testing requirements will only be eased, for those who have been fully vaccinated in a relevant European country, with an EMA-approved vaccine,” said a statement on the Brits in Spain Facebook page.
The embassy also reminded travellers who hadn’t been vaccinated in the UK how to prove their vaccine status.
“You need to show your travel operator proof that you’ve been fully vaccinated with one of the authorized vaccines before you travel. This proof should be an EU Digital COVID Certificate (EU DCC) for Europe (digital or paper certificate), showing you’ve had a full course of an EMA-approved vaccination.”