Britons soaking up the sun in Spain may be forced to quarantine when they land back home as the popular holiday destination sees a sharp spike in coronavirus cases.
Spain is on the list of 59 quarantine-exempt countries that Britons can travel to without needing to isolate for 14 days when they get back home.
But just this weekend 4,581 further cases were reported in the country – bringing its total to 264,836. More than 28,000 people have died.
Whitehall sources told The Sun that Spain’s recent outbreaks are being watched and the country – or specific regions within it – could be thrown off the list all together if a decision is made this week.
CEO of travel consultancy The PC Agency Paul Charles said: ‘It makes sense that if cases continue to rise in Spain, it should fall off the list.
Britons soaking up the sun in Spain may be forced to quarantine when they land back home as the popular holiday destination sees a sharp spike in coronavirus cases
‘This is the equivalent of implementing a local lockdown, internationally, but the problem is we are heading into peak holiday season.’
A ‘rolling system’ for determining the safety of 25 of the 59 countries on the list is set to be introduced whereby information on each destination will be updated frequently – as opposed to reviewed every three weeks.
Only 25 of the 59 allow travel without any restrictions when travellers arrive there.
Tourists walk along the beach without wearing face masks amid coronavirus crisis this week
Barcelona City Council information staff is seen informing some tourists that the access to the beach is closed due to excess capacity
A Spanish Guardia Civil officer watches over revellers in Magaluf as the country tries to balance reopening beachfront bars with protecting against a deadly second wave of cases
Tourists on a night out in Magaluf, Spain, last week. The country faces being taken off the safe list of nations with low coronavirus infection rates after a new spike in cases
To add to the confusion for holidaymakers, the Foreign Office has published its own list of 67 countries where advice against ‘all but essential travel’ no longer applies. This list already has a rolling system.
Yesterday, a British tourist caused a coronavirus scare in Lanzarote after she tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in quarantine after arriving from the UK for a holiday on the popular Canary island.
Nine other people with whom she had contact with also had to undergo a coronavirus test but all proved negative.
Health authorities on Lanzarote have been testing tourists showing symptoms for Covid-19 and their close contacts. A British woman has tested positive after her husband became symptomatic – although he tested negative for coronavirus
Passengers arriving in Lanzarote have to wear face masks while making their way through the airport. Anyone showing Covid symptoms is tested and risk being placed into quarantine
The Briton is the first holidaymaker from the UK to test positive in Lanzarote since Spain opened its borders on June 21st.
It was actually the woman’s husband who felt unwell on arrival at their hotel and had a fever. However, two tests for coronavirus proved negative.
The woman was routinely tested and despite having no symptoms of ill-health whatsoever was the one who was confirmed to have COVID-19.
The island’s health department said the coronavirus protocols had been activated at reception on the couple’s arrival so they had minimum contact with other people. A specialist team immediately went into action to trace all contacts, including staff.
The health department hasn’t specified where the woman is in quarantine or if her husband is with her or if the nine others also have to self-isolate.
Lanzarote currently has eleven active cases of coronavirus: the British tourist, a resident who came from Mexico and went to the José Molina Orosa Hospital Emergency Department with symptoms and nine illegal immigrants who tried to smuggle themselves into the island in a tiny boat.
Leaders of the Canaries say other illegal migrants have tested positive and this is giving a wrong impression of the level of coronavirus on the islands which have had a relatively low incidence of infections and deaths.
Last Friday, a boat containing 61 immigrants arrived on the neighbouring island of Fuerteventura and 47 proved positive.
Health chiefs say there is no threat to people’s health and the situation is properly under control.
UK records 110 coronavirus victims as daily death toll continues to fall and figures show three times more people are now dying of flu and pneumonia — but cases have risen for the fifth day in a row for the first time since April
by CONNOR BOYD, Health Reporter, for MailOnline
Britain yesterday announced 110 more coronavirus deaths as the number of victims continues to tumble — but cases are still rising amid fears the UK’s outbreak could be growing again.
Department of Health data suggests 65 Brits are now succumbing to the life-threatening infection each day, down 20 per cent in a week.
For comparison, just 11 deaths were recorded across the UK yesterday — but counts on Mondays are always lower because of a recording lag at weekends. During the peak of the crisis in April, more than 1,000 people were dying from Covid-19 every day.
Health bosses say the official death toll — which only includes laboratory-confirmed victims and not suspected fatalities — now stands at 45,422.
But separate government statistics revealed cases are still on the rise, with 445 more infections confirmed today amid fears ‘Super Saturday’ would trigger a resurgence of the virus.
It means the rolling seven-day average of daily infections is now 635 — and has risen every day since Thursday after dropping to a four-month low of 548 on July 8. The last time the average had jumped for at least five days in a row was on April 11, when the outbreak first began to slow down before cases plummeted at the end of May and in June.
Other promising data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today revealed the number of people dying of Covid-19 is now the lowest since two weeks before lockdown and nearly three times as many people are being killed by flu and pneumonia. Just 283 people died from the coronavirus in England and Wales in the week ending July 10 — down from 418 in the previous seven-day spell.
It is the lowest figure since the week ending March 13, 10 days before Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the draconian measures to curb the spread of the virus. For comparison, 917 influenza and pneumonia deaths were registered in the same week. The number of Covid-19 deaths registered — a different measure to occurrences — in the same time-frame was 366.
In other coronavirus developments:
- Government borrowing rocketed to a record high of almost £36 billion in June this year as ministers scrambled to find the cash to pay for the coronavirus crisis;
- Audiences could have to walk through metal detector-style arches to be sprayed with disinfectant mist as they enter theatres and gigs under a raft of new Covid measures to reopen the entertainment industry;
- Professor Chris Whitty denied the UK was too slow in adopting a lockdown — just moments after fellow adviser Sir Jeremy Farrar told MPs the restrictions came ‘too late’;
- The NHS avoided testing its staff for coronavirus en masse because it was afraid thousands would have to go off sick and leave swamped hospitals without workers, scientists claimed;
- Fears of a second wave of Covid-19 in Britain this winter grew after scientists warned a lull in the outbreak this summer could simply be a reprieve because the disease is milder in the warmer months.
HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE REALLY DIED OF THE CORONAVIRUS IN THE UK?
Department of Health: 45,312
Department of Health’s latest death count for all settings (as of 9am, July 20) stands at 45,312.
The daily data does not represent how many Covid-19 patients died within the last 24 hours — it is only how many fatalities have been reported and registered with the authorities.
It also only takes into account patients who tested positive for the virus, as opposed to deaths suspected to be down to the coronavirus.
National statistical bodies: 56,093
Data compiled by the statistical bodies of each of the home nations show 56,093 people died of either confirmed or suspected Covid-19 across the UK by the end of May.
The Office for National Statistics yesterday confirmed that 51,096 people in England and Wales died with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 by July 10.
The number of coronavirus deaths was 824 by the same day in Northern Ireland, according to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).
National Records Scotland — which collects statistics north of the border — said 4,173 people had died across the country by June 22.
Their tallies are always 10 days behind the Department of Health (DH) because they wait until as many fatalities as possible for each date have been counted, to avoid having to revise their statistics.
Excess deaths: 65,249
The total number of excess deaths has now passed 65,000.
Excess deaths are considered to be an accurate measure of the number of people killed by the pandemic because they include a broader spectrum of victims.
As well as including people who may have died with Covid-19 without ever being tested, the data also shows how many more people died because their medical treatment was postponed, for example, or who didn’t or couldn’t get to hospital when they were seriously ill.
Data from England and Wales shows there has been an extra 59,324 deaths between March 15 and June 12, as well as 4,924 in Scotland between March 10 and June 22 and 1,001 in Northern Ireland between March 28 and June 26.
Department of Health figures released this afternoon showed 100,000 tests were carried out or posted the day before. The number includes antibody tests for frontline NHS and care workers.
But bosses again refused to say how many people were tested, meaning the exact number of Brits who have been swabbed for the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been a mystery for a month — since May 22.
Health chiefs also reported 445 more people had tested positive for Covid-19. Government data shows the official size of the UK’s outbreak now stands at 295,817 cases.
But the actual size of the outbreak, which began to spiral out of control in March, is estimated to be in the millions, based on antibody testing data.
It means the rolling average of daily cases has risen to 635 — 6 per cent higher than the mean of 597 recorded last Tuesday.
The daily death data does not represent how many Covid-19 patients died within the last 24 hours — it is only how many fatalities have been reported and registered with the authorities.
The data does not always match updates provided by the home nations. Department of Health officials work off a different time cut-off, meaning daily updates from Scotland as well as Northern Ireland are always out of sync.
And the count announced by NHS England every afternoon — which only takes into account deaths in hospitals — does not match up with the DH figures because they work off a different recording system.
For instance, some deaths announced by NHS England bosses will have already been counted by the Department of Health, which records fatalities ‘as soon as they are available’.
Government figures show the rolling seven-day average of daily deaths now stands at 65 — an 20 per cent drop on the mean of 81 last Sunday.
NHS England today registered 15 deaths of patients who tested positive for the infection in hospitals across the country. Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales announced no new victims.
It comes as the most recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), released today, also showed the number of fatalities has fallen in all regions of England and Wales as the virus continues to peter out in the UK.
And deaths of any cause are now the lowest they have been all year, with promising statistics showing the number of fatalities has been below average for the past four weeks in a row.
ONS experts explained that Covid-19 likely sped up the deaths of people who would have died of other causes, meaning the year’s fatalities have been front-loaded.
As a result, fewer people are now dying of causes such as heart disease and dementia because they have already succumbed to the coronavirus.
Separate data last week showed that infection levels in the UK have stabilised and scientists suggest the death rate may fall because of warmer weather.
There are concerns, however, that the virus could return and cause more death and disease in the winter when people are more susceptible.
SAGE EXPERTS CLASH OVER LOCKDOWN: PROFESSOR CHRIS WHITTY DENIES UK WAS TOO SLOW – BUT SIR JEREMY FARRAR SAYS RESTRICTIONS CAME TOO LATE
The Government’s scientific advisers today butted heads about whether the UK was too slow to enforce lockdown.
In an uncharacteristically bad-tempered interview, England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty claimed there were ‘operational difficulties’ that made it difficult to shut the country down in a week.
During a virtual grilling with MPs, Professor Whitty denied there was no ‘huge delay’ between ministers being advised to implement the draconian measures and actually following through on the actions.
He appeared to contradict his fellow adviser Sir Jeremy Farrar, who told the health select committee moments earlier he ‘believed lockdown was enforced too late’ and ‘should have come earlier’, in a sign of a rift between the UK’s top experts.
It emerged last week that the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) had advised the Government to implement lockdown on March 16. But Boris Johnson did not announce the measures until March 23.
Professor Whitty was quizzed about whether enforcing the draconian measures a week earlier would have saved tens of thousands of lives, as has been suggested by numerous scientists including Neil Ferguson, nicknamed ‘Professor Lockdown’ for his grim modelling that swayed ministers into shutting down the UK.
The CMO blamed poor pandemic preparations, testing capacity and a lack of PPE for the UK having had the worst outbreak in Europe — with almost 300,000 confirmed cases and over 45,000 deaths.
And he launched a staunch defence of the government’s actions over the Covid-19 pandemic, saying mass testing had to be abandoned early on in the crisis because health chiefs didn’t have enough to capacity to cope with the size of the outbreak.
But he accepted ministers and experts failed to recognise ‘obvious’ risks, such as care home residents being at risk from workers moving between homes and spreading Covid-19.
In a thinly-veiled dig during a heated exchange with committee chair Jeremy Hunt, who was health secretary for six years until 2018, Professor Whitty said: ‘If we wished to build this capacity up, we could have done it in previous years.’
Since the first coronavirus deaths were registered, in the week ending March 13, a total of 50,505 have been counted in the ONS’s comparison data up to July 10.
And during the same period, 25,055 people have died with flu or pneumonia mentioned on their death certificate.
For much of the worst days of the outbreak Covid-19 deaths far outstripped those linked to flu or pneumonia. This peaked in the week that ended April 17 when there were 6,827 more coronavirus deaths than those caused by the other lung diseases.
Since then the gap has narrowed gradually and flu and pneumonia became a more common cause of death for the first time since March in the week that ended June 19, when there were 219 fewer Covid-19 deaths than flu/pneumonia deaths.
The two are grouped together to create an even figure for serious respiratory infections – flu season fluctuates wildly but there are other similar bugs that can affect people in similar ways.
Flu and pneumonia deaths have also been lower than average during Britain’s epidemic, likely because people who would normally have died of those illnesses caught Covid-19 and succumbed to that instead.
Professor Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University, said: ‘The last four weeks have seen fewer deaths than the five-year average.
‘This week saw 560 fewer deaths than the five-year average, and the last four weeks, 986 fewer deaths have occurred compared to the five-year average.
‘This significant trend in reducing deaths compared to the average is likely due to deaths occurring a few months earlier in the frail and the elderly from Covid-19.
Professor Heneghan, an epidemiologist and expert in evidence-based medicine, added: ‘It will be essential to observe over these weeks whether this trend continues.’
There were a total of 8,690 deaths registered in England and Wales in the week to July 10, according to the ONS, 560 fewer than the five-year average of 9,250.
This is the fourth week in a row that registered deaths — which relate to when they are recorded as opposed to when they occurred — have been below the five-year average.
The number of deaths in care homes and hospitals in the week to July 10 was also below the five-year average (283 and 901 deaths lower respectively), while the number of deaths in private homes was 706 higher than the five-year average.
Of the deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending July 10, 366 mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate.
This is down from 532 in the previous week, and the lowest number of deaths involving Covid-19 since the week ending March 20 (103 deaths). But actual death occurrences are the lowest since the week ending March 13.
It comes amid fears Britain’s coronavirus outbreak may be growing after figures yesterday revealed the average number of daily cases had risen for the fourth day in a row for the first time since April.
Department of Health bosses posted 580 more Covid-19 cases — taking the rolling seven-day mean of infections to 628 after the rate dropped to a four-month low of 546 on July 8.
Government statistics showed the last time the average rose for at least four days in a row was on April 11, when the number of infections began to slow down before plummeting at the end of May and in June.
But it takes patients weeks to die from Covid-19, on average, meaning officials can’t rule out a blip in the figures or confirm the outbreak has worsened since ‘Super Saturday’ for at least another week.
And hospital admissions — another indicator tracking the crisis — have yet to spike despite fears of an inevitable surge prompted by millions of people flocking to pubs to enjoy their freedom on July 4.
Number 10’s scientific advisory panel last week admitted the outbreak is shrinking at a slightly slower speed and separate official figures suggested up to 2,000 people were still getting infected each day in England alone.