Fears are growing that Spain will be subject to new travel restrictions, as data shows the rates for the beta variant are almost three times higher than those in France, which imposed new rules last week.
On Friday evening, the government banned non-quarantine travel from France over concerns over the growing number of cases of the beta variant, first discovered in South Africa.
This despite the fact that France is on the orange list, which means fully vaccinated trips should be able to return to the UK without quarantine. However, those arriving from France will have to isolate themselves for ten days and pay for two PCR tests.
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The new category for France has been dubbed the “amber plus” list, alongside the green, amber and red list categories of the government traffic light system.
Concerns are growing now that Spain could be subject to further restrictions, as data shows cases of the beta variant are nearly three times higher than in France.
According to the Gisaid Research Center, 9.3% of coronavirus cases in Spain were the beta variant, compared to 3.7% in France.
In Spain, the 14-day infection rate has now reached 377 cases per 100,000 people and 613 in the Balearic Islands, which includes popular UK tourist destinations Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca.
In France, the rates are 63.3 per 100,000.
The beta variant is a worrying variant and carries a mutation that would make it more contagious. However, there is no evidence to suggest that it makes people sicker.
One study has shown that the AstraZeneca vaccine may not be as effective in protecting against the beta variant. For this reason, AstraZeneca is currently testing a new version of its vaccine specially designed to protect against beta.
A study of real-world data in Israel, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, found that some people who had been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus could still catch the beta variant.
Last week, Paul Charles, managing director of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said I that “the concern is that the government will look at Spain and Greece and potentially add them to the amber plus category.”
“When you look at the latest tables, the Balearics have very high rates, why doesn’t the government care about the Balearics as much as it does France? I think we might see other changes as countries show higher infection rates. “
Data analyst Tim White echoed this, warning that “the obvious concern is in high-infection regions like Spain and Greece.”