Friday, September 17

Spain ‘improves’ a notch in the alert level as a safe destination for the US and the Netherlands


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The UK Ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliott, has pointed out that “in principle” the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands will be studied separately for the next Covid-19 stoplight review, three weeks from now. This would improve the initial situation in which the Executive of Boris Johnson.

Also today, the Netherlands has decided to territorialize the regions and allows travel as safe destinations to the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands. In addition, another oxygen balloon for national tourism and the sector will be that the United States relieves the alert level 3 imposed on Spain, within a combo of countries where it has included Japan, on the occasion of the Tokyo Olympics to be held this summer.

UK

In the first place, about the United Kingdom, in an interview with Europa Press Television, Elliott has indicated that it will respond to the request of the governments, both from Spain – so requested Reyes Maroto, Minister of Tourism– as with the archipelagos, with which they have a “very good communication”, to catalog the islands separately, but that “in practice we will have to see the situation on the ground with the scientists”.

The whole Spanish set stays amber inside the British traffic light, which means that tourists must undergo a ten-day quarantine upon their return to the United Kingdom, despite the fact that, since May 24, Spain has allowed them entry without any requirement.

The ambassador has stressed that, for the moment, the traffic light has only been applied at the country level, but they have opened up to study the islands (the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands) separately due to “their geographical situation and because they have direct flights to the United Kingdom ».

Thus, he stressed that in mainland Spain the situation “is different”, as there is a “very fluid movement” between regions without being able to establish controls between them, so the peninsula has to be studied “as a whole” .

Elliott has clarified that he understands other communities that have done a very good job, like the Valencian Community, “Which has very good numbers”, and knows that it is “frustrating” not being able to receive British tourists, but has stressed that, “unfortunately, due to the fluidity of the borders between regions, it is not possible to segregate within Spain peninsular”.

The ambassador explained that the traffic light measures four main factors, such as the accumulated incidence of the virus, the level of vaccination – for which he has indicated that it is progressing well in Spain but “has a way to go”-, the variants that may appear and the sequencing capacity that a country has. The diplomat has clarified that these are the “generic terms”, but that it cannot be said that there is a fixed threshold, because all the factors are analyzed and how they interact with each other. «Could Spain enter the next review? Well yes, “he indicated, adding that the situation is being reviewed every three weeks so that the list” is as up-to-date as possible.

“Moving in times of pandemic is difficult”

UK updated its traffic light last Thursday, with effect from this Tuesday, passing Portugal from green to amber, which caused thousands of British tourists to leave the country early.

On this, Elliott has stated that “it is complicated” and that they are aware that “moving internationally in times of pandemic is difficult”, arguing that lA priority for governments is public health, which “means making decisions that are sometimes inconvenient.”

“We are very sorry,” he assured in his interview, adding that the only factor that is being taken into account is “the protection of public health” and that this is the “reality of living with the pandemic.” British airlines and travel agencies have criticized the government’s lack of transparency regarding decisions about travel restrictionsYet, in Elliott’s view, he is demonstrating “exemplary transparency.” But the ambassador refutes that they are explaining at all times when the decisions will be made, as well as the bases and the factors that influence them, but they cannot “anticipate the facts and reality of the pandemic.”

“It is a difficult balance,” he assured, qualifying that the British Government tries to be “as open as possible” so that companies make decisions in advance, but that they cannot have “a perfect answer.” On the economic cost of the lack of tourists in the United Kingdom, the ambassador stressed that they have not made a calculation of how much it will be, but that the decision is “whether it is safe to open the borders or not.”

Netherlands

The Netherlands includes the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands among its safe destinations to travel and leaves out the rest of Spain, reports a statement from the Dutch Foreign Ministry.

The Dutch government on Wednesday expanded its list of safe European countries to which you can travel for tourism, including Germany and Italy, but it keeps out important holiday destinations for the Dutch, such as Spain, with the exception of the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands. .

“In many European countries there is a constant decrease in the coronavirus figures” and “this makes vacation trips to more and more countries possible”, although he emphasizes, “once again, that traveling at this time has certain risks.”

USA

The United States has also softened the level of warning to its citizens who wish to travel to several countries, including Canada, Mexico, Spain and Japan, host of the Olympic Games (JJOO), after reassessing the risk linked to covid-19 in those places . About 60 countries Those who had received the maximum warning of level 4 (“do not go there”) due to the health crisis return to level 3 (“avoid going there if possible”), announced the American diplomacy in a statement. Another twenty states go down one notch to levels 2 or 1.

The United States also relaxed the travel advisory for France and Germany, as well as Greece, which receives vaccinated American tourists, and South Africa, which has battled a variant of the coronavirus. There is interest in Europe in knowing when the United States will ease the restrictions that have been in place for more than a year on travel from European countries.

The change announced by Washington comes after the European Union authorized entry to American travelers vaccinated against Covid-19. But now Brussels is asking for a reciprocal measure from the United States.

Jake Sullivan, the White House national security adviser, said any easing of restrictions on Europeans entering the United States will be transparent and “motivated by science and evidence.” “We have heard very clearly the desire of our friends in Europe and the UK to reopen travel across the Atlantic Ocean, and we want that to happen,” Sullivan said. “But we must follow the science and the recommendations of our public health professionals,” he added, indicating that “we are actively engaging with them to determine the time frame” for that opening.

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