Dominic Raab warns there are no ‘cast-iron guarantees’ Spain will stay quarantine-free for vaccinated Brits – as France slams ‘incomprehensible’ decision to force travellers to isolate when visiting the UK
- Dominic Raab has batted away questions over UK’s quarantine rules for Spain
- Speculation that Spain could go on the ‘amber plus’ list in a review next week
- France has slammed decision to shut it out of isolation exemption for travel to UK
Dominic Raab today warned there are no ‘cast-iron guarantees’ that Spain will remain quarantine-free for vaccinated Brits amid fears the country could be escalates to ‘amber plus’ next week.
The Foreign Secretary shrugged off anger at the uncertainty for holidaymakers, dodging questions about rumours of a new ‘amber watchlist’ and insisting the situation will become clear next week.
He said that if people need to make decisions immediately they will need to base them on the current ‘traffic light’ rules – but stressed they could change.
The comments came as France voiced fury at the ‘incomprehensible’ decision to leave it out of exemptions from quarantine for EU and US travellers coming to the UK. The country is on the ‘amber plus’ list amid fears over the prevalence of the Beta variant, although there is speculation it could be downgraded in the looming review.
Health officials are said to be ‘getting very jumpy’ about Spain’s situation with the Beta strain, which emerged in South Africa and is thought to be more resistant to the AstraZeneca vaccine given to millions in the UK.
Health officials are said to be ‘getting very jumpy’ about Spain’s situation with the Beta strain. Pictured, Barcelona this month
Dominic Raab today warned there are no ‘cast-iron guarantees’ that Spain will remain quarantine-free for vaccinated Brits
Any move to put Spain on the ‘amber plus’ list is likely to provoke a fierce row within Government.
Although there is concern about the Beta variant, many experts believe it is being ‘crowded out’ by the more virulent Delta variant now spreading rapidly across Spain.
The shock move to place France in its own category earlier this month wrecked thousands of families’ holidays as well as the plans of many expats hoping to see loved ones for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
Cases of the Delta variant have fallen sharply in France in recent weeks and ministers are confident it will be restored to the same status as other amber list countries, meaning fully vaccinated travellers will no longer have to quarantine when they return.
Asked about the possibility of Spain going on an ‘amber watchlist’ – with the possibility of it moving straight to the red category – Mr Raab said: ‘I can’t rule things that the JBC and the government will decide, but they’ll make that decision next week in terms of the traffic light system for all the relevant countries.’
Mr Raab said the ‘momentum forward is positive’ with the high proportion of Britons who are double-jabbed.
‘We’ve done the job we had to do domestically, and as we see other countries catch up if you like, I think we’re increasingly confident that more countries will go on either on amber or onto green,’ he said.
Pushed for advice to would-be holidaymakers, Mr Raab said ‘you’ll know next week’.
He suggested if the need to book immediately they will ‘have to base it on the traffic light system we’ve got in place right now’.
‘We can’t give cast iron guarantees about what the next review system will decide. If we did it wouldn’t be a very meaningful review system,’ he added.
Meanwhile, French minister Clement Beaune has slammed the decision to keep quarantine measures for vaccinated travellers coming from France to the UK, while other EU countries and the US are exempted.
‘It’s excessive, and it’s frankly incomprehensible on health grounds … It’s not based on science and discriminatory towards the French,’ Mr Beaune told LCI TV.
‘I hope it will be reviewed as soon as possible, it’s just common sense.’
Mr Beaune said France was not planning tit-for-tat measures ‘for now’.