The UK Ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliott, has pointed out that “In principle” the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands will be studied separately for the next traffic light revision covid, in three weeks.
Elliott has indicated that “in principle” it will attend to the request of the governments, both of Spain and 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 entire Spanish team remains in amber color 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, sThe semaphore has only been applied at the country level, but the islands (the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands) have been studied separately due to “their geographical location” and because they have “direct flights to the United Kingdom”.
Thus, he has underlined 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’s “frustrating” not being able to receive British tourists, but he has stressed that, “unfortunately, due to the fluidity that exists in the borders between regions, it is not possible to make segregation within mainland Spain”.
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 pointed out that “is progressing well in Spain but” has a long 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 and “how they interact among them” are analyzed.
“Could Spain enter the next review? Well yes”He has indicated, adding that the situation is being reviewed every three weeks so that the list “is as up-to-date as possible.”
The United Kingdom updated its traffic light last Thursday, with effect from this Tuesday, turning Portugal from green to amber, which caused thousands of British tourists to leave the country in advance.
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 the priority of governments is public health, which “means making decisions that at times are inconvenient.”
“We are very sorry,” he assured, 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 “lack of transparency” regarding decisions on travel restrictions, however, in Elliott’s view, it is demonstrating “exemplary transparency.”
Specifically, the ambassador has alleged that they are explaining “in every moment” when the decisions will be made, as well as the bases and the factors that influence them, but cannot “anticipate the facts and the reality of the pandemic.”
“It is a difficult balance”, he assured, qualifying that the British Government tries to be “as open as possible” for companies to make decisions in advance, but they may not have “one perfect answer.” On the economic cost of the lack of tourists in the United Kingdom, the ambassador has 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.”
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.