Travel: O'Leary calls for co-operation between UK and EU
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Spain has this week seen its highest COVID-19 levels since mid-April, which experts believe is, in part, related to the more contagious Delta variant. The Balearics, which recently made it onto the UK green list, reported a mass COVID-19 outbreak linked to school trips to the Spanish archipelago.
Spain’s ministry of health reported 12,345 new coronavirus infections and eight deaths on Thursday.
In the Canary Islands, officials are planning to toughen up covid security measures, especially in Tenerife, as a result of a “worrying” increase in cases over the last few weeks.
“The situation is worrying,” said Canary Islands president, Ángel Víctor Torres, who urged responsibility and caution.
“We cannot minimise the impact of Covid due to age. There were 47 people hospitalised, five in the ICU and three more deceased, under 39 years of age, in the Canaries between April 1 and June 29. It’s not a joke.”
There is particular concern in Tenerife where both the “British” and Delta variants of coronavirus have seen an increase over the last few weeks.
On Thursday, Tenerife registered 248 of the 378 new cases in the archipelago.
The Balearics, meanwhile, have seen their average case rate double in 10 days to 300 per 100,000.
Britons travelling to Spain must either show evidence they have been fully vaccinated or have received a negative COVID-19 PCR test before flying under new regulations.
Spain’s Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, has said Britons are still welcome but justified the new restrictions in order to keep the nation safe.
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He pointed to data coming from the UK which shows infection rates “well above 150 cases per 100,000 inhabitants based on the prior 14 days.”
Despite this, some experts and locals in Spain have begun to question whether or not the rise is directly linked to British tourism.
Posting to Twitter, Professor Christina Pagel, Professor of operational research at University College London questioned whether “too many Brits” were the cause of the new surge in Spain.
She wrote: “Once again Spain is an early indicator of a European summer surge.
“Portugal too this time (too many Brits?!)”
Portugal and its archipelago Madeira were among the first destinations to be added to the initial green list seeing a surge in Britons travelling there.
Though they were later axed from the list due to concerns over a rise in cases, Madeira has since been placed back onto the green watch list.
This means Britons can travel there without the need for quarantine on their way home.
The recent addition of the Balearics and Madeira were welcome news to tourism officials in the nations, yet it was not welcome news to everyone.
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A Spanish radiologist named Maria lamented on Twitter over her belief the rise in infection across both Spain and Portugal was down to British tourists visiting the nations.
Upon sharing a map indicating Covid hotspots across Europe, the radiologist wrote: “This map reveals the consequences of British tourism to Spain and Portugal. Portugal was almost zero Covid some weeks ago.”
She added: “But ‘thanks’ to tourism, UK is taking Spain and Portugal with you.”
Meanwhile, another Twitter user wrote: “Looks like the Balearics have been ravaged by UK tourists too. These are vaccinated and tested people aren’t they?”
A third slammed British tourists adding: “Meanwhile they are all upset cause they had to leave – their vacations ruined.”
Additional reporting by Rita Sobot.
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