Could Balearic Islands lose green list status following Covid surge?

The Spanish islands could be at risk

Helen Coffey
Monday 05 July 2021 17:03
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The Balearic Islands could be at risk of being pushed off the green list and into amber after a spike in new coronavirus infections.

More than 500 people tested positive for Covid-19 in the last two days – five days after the popular Spanish holiday islands, including Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza, got upgraded to the UK’s green watchlist.

Health officials confirmed that 303 new cases were recorded on 3 July alone; and 203 the day after.

The number of infections per 100,000 people for the last fortnight now stands at 130.

It was announced on 24 June that the islands would move from amber to green in the UK’s traffic light system for international travel, starting from 30 June.

However, it entered the Department for Transport’s green watchlist, comprised of destinations that are currently green but are at risk of turning amber.

Of the 27 green list countries and territories, 16 are on the watchlist.

The requirements for travellers returning to the UK remain the same: they must present a negative Covid test before departure for the UK, and take a PCR test within two days of arrival.

There is no need for green list arrivals to quarantine upon entering the UK.

However, if a country slips down to amber, returning passengers are suddenly subject to 10 days’ quarantine and two PCR tests.

Portugal was previously on the green list, but was swiftly downgraded to amber, forcing thousands of British tourists to race home before the quarantine-free deadline ended in early June.

Data analyst Tim White has predicted that, while the Balearics may not go amber immediately, they may well shift in the next review, expected on 15 July.

“The local govt for Balearic Islands reports 203 new infections, and more importantly/worryingly, a positive test rate of 7.9 per cent,” he tweeted.

“It's getting so much worse according to local data.”

When asked by a holidaymaker whether Mallorca would still be green in 20 days’ time, he responded that “nothing is certain”, but “I do think it will be amber by then. The only thing which may save Balearics is cases are rising so much everywhere, there's a very small chance all EU may be allowed to be green. But I think that's more likely in a future review, not the next one.”

Mr White added that he thought the islands would likely remain green until the next update: “No guarantees, but I think it's gonna be very embarrassing for the government to move it to amber before then. If they wait til 15/7 they can ‘hide’ it with other changes.”

Pedro Homar, manager of Palma Tourist Board, said when the Balearics first turned green: “We are delighted to see Mallorca, and the rest of the Balearic Islands, finally added to the British government’s ‘green watchlist’ and we are looking forward to British visitors being able to visit us again without having to quarantine on their return to the UK. 

“The UK is one of our main tourism markets and this is a very welcome boost for our tourism sector. The last year has been very challenging with many of our hoteliers and tourism businesses relying on UK visitors.”

He added:  “There’s no better time for British visitors to visit Palma and Mallorca for a relaxing break or to enjoy many of our cultural attractions. The sun is shining, we have extremely sophisticated tourism and health infrastructure and we are reading and waiting with open arms.”

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