Spain’s Balearic Islands are likely to be moved from the green watchlist for travel to amber England, as ministers consider taking the drastic step of blocking most passengers from France amid fears over the increase cases of the beta variant there.
The changes are being discussed on Wednesday afternoon, but no final decision has been made. An announcement will be made later Wednesday and will go into effect from the beginning of next week.
Several sources told the Guardian that those returning home from Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca and Formentera will likely be subject to Orange List rules, meaning they must self-isolate at their homes for 10 days – although they can use the “test to release” system from the fifth day to the day leaving quarantine earlier.
However, the changes taking effect from Monday, July 19, mean that those who have received the two Covid vaccines will not have to self-isolate, as long as they are negative when they return to England.
The isolation measure is believed to disproportionately affect young people, most of whom have only received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine and must wait at least eight weeks to receive a second.
Spain’s Balearic Islands, a series of tourist destinations popular with party-goers and sun-seekers, were placed on the Green Watch List three weeks ago – which is designed to give people an indication that the country is at risk of falling back. in amber.
According to the Spanish government, case rates in the Balearic Islands have more than tripled in the past two weeks – the 14-day case rate ratio rising from 113.71 to 357.82, as of Monday, July 12.
In a development that has caused a deep divide between departments in Whitehall, the Guardian also understands that ministers have been recommended to put France on the red list – hence travel for all but British nationals and residents is banned, and anyone making the trip needs quarantine in a hotel for 10 nights at a cost of £ 1,700.
A source said that due to the relaxation of rules for Amber List arrivals, “the Red List is now the primary buffer.”
France’s weekly case rate has increased 63% and has reported 102 infections per million people in the past 24 hours – although this is well below the UK’s latest figure of 537, according to Our World In Data .
Many other government insiders have not denied that France is at risk of being moved down the traffic light system, although last-minute decisions on which color to classify for each country are made whenever the lists are updated every three weeks.
Several other countries are also at risk of being added to the red list.