Monday, 26 Jul 2021

Spain could be added to the ‘amber plus’ list after surge in beta variant rates

UK records 54,674 new coronavirus cases

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Spain may soon be added to the “amber plus” list as new data shows the beta variant represents almost one in ten COVID cases. Research conducted by the Gisaid centre identified 9.3 percent of all coronavirus cases in Spain in the past month as from the South African strain.

Known as the beta variant, the strain running rampant through Spain is considered to be the biggest threat to the efficacy of the vaccines.

Currently, the United Kingdom has fully inoculated over 35 million Britons.

The prevalence of the beta variant in Spain is comparably more prominent than it is in neighbouring France.

It has been estimated that the beta variant represents just 3.7 percent of all COVID-19 cases in France.

On Friday, France was the first amber listed nation to be barred from the Government’s quarantine-free travel agreement for fully vaccinated holidaymakers.

Instead, returning Britons will be asked to self-isolate at home for ten days and pay for at least two PCR tests.

However, at the time of the French announcement, Paul Charles from the PC Agency told the ‘i’ newspaper that both Spain and Greece could “potentially” be added to the amber plus category.

In 2019, more than 18 million trips were made from the UK to Spain.

The University of East Anglia’s infectious diseases expert, Professor Paul Hunter, claimed: “Even if the beta reduces protection given by the vaccine, the jab still prevents severe cases and deaths”.

“I can’t see any value of having France or any other country on the ‘amber plus’ list solely on the prevalence of variants. In terms of controlling infectious variants, the horse is gone,” he added.

This was echoed on the other side of the Channel.

France’s European Affairs Minister, Clément Beaune, said yesterday that British restrictions were “excessive” and suggested that France did not believe they were “totally based on scientific foundations”.

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In the last two weeks, Spain’s infection rate has soared to 377 cases per 100,000. It is even higher on the Balearic Islands, which includes the party hotspot Ibiza.

In comparison, France’s fortnightly rate is just 63.3 cases per 100,000.

On the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion, the beta variant constitutes around one in three COVID-cases.

Nonetheless, the island is exempt from the “amber plus” rules and therefore fully-jabbed Brits will not be mandated to quarantine.

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